MUSiC: Marcos Valle, Marcos Valle, 1970

Marcos Valle gets into the ’70s, in style.

Off the back of some quite dour bossa material (Viola Enluarda, 1968) and the first hint of weirder things to come ( Mustang Cor De Sangue , 1969), brothers Marcos and Paulo Sergio Valle stepped into the ’70s in a bolder and more varied style than many might’ve have expected, based on their previous catalogue.

One or two tracks, for example the very beautiful O Evangelho Segundo San Quentin, on Mustang, had hinted at a broader musical palette being used. But by comparison with that ’69 recording this self-titled work, sometimes known as Quarentao Simpatico, is a whole new thang. Quarentao Simpatico is the first song, and kicks things off with a more pop-rock feel than anything in their previous catalogue. A slow, magisterial piano lead groove, the whole sound is new and modern, but still quintessentially Valle.

Of his first four or five albums made in the 1970s, this is perhaps the most strangely eclectic and diverse. His ex-wife Anamaria (for whom crickets had sung previously and famously) provides her distinctive vocals on Ele E Ela, which has sounds of the couple petting and giggling rather erotically, under a pillow (or should that be duvet?) of easy listening horns. Dez Leis is delivered in a strangely declamatory (for Valle) vocal style, whilst Pygmaliao (which I believe may have been a TV or film soundtrack), is just plain strange in places, with little sound-effect interludes (e.g. the sound of ice plopping into a glass) punctuating a very-easy listening waltz.

When Valle revisits his big hit Os Grilos (known in English speaking countries as Crickets Sing For Anamaria), it’s a decidedly odd version, compared with the sliky smooth original. It’s still a recognisably bossa/samba jazz number, but now with weirdly tripped out vocal effects, Tropicalia style woodblock percussion, a fuzz-guitar lead break, and the sound of Valle and co. goofing off in the studio.

Marcos and Paulo were busy writing music commercially around this time, and unlike in the US and UK, where this might be considered weird, the music makes it’s way onto Valle albums of the period, and makes them all the more fascinating. The text of my japanese import is unreadable to me, but I believe Suite Imaginaria might be such a piece, possibly recorded for a TV theme. It’s extraordinarily beautiful, and, in places, one of my favourite cuts on the album. Starting as a haunting instrumental with ticking clocks, and a wordless female vocal, it later morphs through several other phases, some pretty weird, all of which are pretty musically wonderful in one way or another.

My Japanese import adds the 1967 single version of Os Grilos as an extra track, whereas the Light In The Attic version appends Berenice to the album (also included as a bonus on the Japanese version of Garra). For me, as much as I like Valle’s previous six albums, and I really love ’em, this is where the magic really starts. It would get even better, unbeleivably, with Garra , Vento Sul and Previsao Do Tempo . But this is still, to my mind, essential musical magic.

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