When: Thu., Sept. 15, 8 p.m. 2016
One of the most arresting qualities about bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto is how intimate and close to the mike his aspirated voice sounds on albums—each breath, whisper, and cloud of sibilance is an inextricable ingredient of his delivery. Those records were all made in professional studios, but in some ways they inadvertently presaged the indie bedroom-recording revolution. On last year’s self-released -11, Ricardo Dias Gomes seems to bridge those two worlds. In recent years he’s played bass (and occasional keyboard) for Caetano Veloso’s lean rock band, backing the Brazilian legend on a series of records that rank among the best in his storied career. With a sparse but aggressive sound, those albums were clearly inspired by indie rock. But -11, which features just voice and acoustic guitar, is beautifully delicate and quiet, an update of Gilberto’s work. The record alternates between gorgeous ballads sung in an intimate bossa nova cadence and abstract instrumentals that feel built around tiny kernels of sound. “Voei” reminds me of the music created by Caetano’s son Moreno Veloso, its almost claustrophobic closeness accompanied by the sweet tickle of acoustic-guitar arpeggios and warm, undulating electric piano. “Alonga” conjures a different kind of proximity, with the hummed melodic shapes, exhalations, and simple electric bass lines creating a sort of levitation for Gomes’s fragile, nasal voice. On the humorously titled “Some Ludicrous Self-Indulgence to Develop” he messes with a kind of denatured electro-funk, while the closing track, “Last Fry (Pra Onde Aponta),” traffics in abrasive noises. But by and large Gomes keeps everything small, though there’s nothing diminutive about the music’s impact.
Price: $10, $8 members