Rhythm & Views

Various Artists

If The Now Sound of Brazil 2 represents the musical mood in contemporary Brazil, the country remains in a languid state. Largely a low-key affair, only a couple of the 14 tracks rise above a laid-back, down- or mid-tempo pace. Seven artists contributed two tracks each to a collection that is heavy on female lead vocals; only Celso Fonseca and one track by Bossacucanova feature male lead vocalists, although grizzled dub pioneer/producer Lee "Scratch" Perry is featured on Zuco 103's Brazil-by-way-of-Jamaica "Love Is Queen Omega."

International star Bebel Gilberto's tracks move from the lush and dreamy "Simplesmente" to the mid-tempo "Cada Beijo," the latter remixed by Thievery Corporation. DJ Dolores' two versions of "Trancelim de Marfim" feature vocals by the seductive Isaar and have a jazzy undercurrent. Bossacucanova also brings a feel for classic, samba-inflected jazz to "Samba Da Minha Terra" and "Essa Moca Ta Diferente." The globetrotting Zuco 103 has perfected an airy, electro-pop mix of pan-global dance music that's as sticky as melting ice cream on a hot day in Sao Paulo. Apollo Nove mixes up steel guitars, murmured vocals and bubbling electronics into a sexy, nocturnal gumbo. Cibelle simply exudes sex and desire on "Meu Amor" and "Esplendor."

As cheerful and sunny as a Hawaiian shirt, The Now Sound of Brazil 2 exudes a permanent holiday feel of endless summer and candy-flavored cocktails. Why worry, why work? Every day feels like a holiday in these artists' musical version of modern Brazil.

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