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Lo Borges - Lo Borges

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Artist: Lo Borges

Album: Lo Borges

Label: Water

Review date: Jan. 4, 2011

Lô Borges is best known as the longtime collaborator of pop-jazz virtuoso Milton Nascimento, with whom he founded the Cluba da Esquina ("Corner Club") in the early 1970s. Their self-titled 1972 album is considered a landmark of Brazilian pop: a lush, electro-acoustic affair with a funk-fusion sensibility that set the tone for the later progressive jazz output of Nascimento, Gilberto Gil and others.

Released the same year as Cluba da Esquina, Borges’ debut solo album is similarly full of silky riches: layers of jazzy and (at times) dissonant guitars, ethereal organ, dark shades of piano and faraway, dreamlike vocals. The dueling spanish guitars on "Cancao Postal," the ominous, shapeshifting "Não Se Apague Esta Noite" and the fuzz-and-harpsichord coda on "Aos Barões" all stand among the prettiest moments of ’70s Brazilian AOR.

But for the most part, the 14 tracks here have an incomplete, sketch-like quality, meandering interludes clocking in at under two minutes apiece. Borges, moreover, does not possess the haunting falsetto of Nascimento, and often sounds flat and nasally, particularly on saccharine ballads such as "Faca Seu Jogo,” an early example of the smooth, overindulgent direction Brazilian pop would take in the later ’70s.

Those already enamored with contemporaneous albums by Nascimento, Edu Lobo and Marcos Valle would do well to check out this lost artifact by one of the prime early movers of Brazilian pop music. Casual listeners, however, would probably find Lô Borges to be nothing more than an uneven curiosity.

By Nick Cuce'

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