Some crate-digging compilations are often the result of someone hand-picking their choice favourites from another country’s musical history, perhaps unaware or uninvolved with its cultural lineage in the process. On Soundway’s latest release – “Onda de Amor” – a treasure trove of synth jams, pop, samba boogie, balearic and electro from 1980 & ‘90s Brazil – the tracks are picked by Millos Kaiser, one half of the Brazilian duo Selvagem, who are at the helm of throwing some of the country’s best dance parties. It’s a rare compilation that offers Brazilian music actually picked by a Brazilian.
This collection of sixteen tracks doesn’t comprise tracks scoured from deeply in-demand records, the rare sort that sell for eye-watering sums and that collectors spend years tracking down. They are the sort you’d find for a few quid should you come across but, as Kaiser says, “the problem is finding them. They aren’t rare because everyone wants a copy but because no one wants them, not even the dealers.”
So, whilst names such as Ricardo Bomba, Villa Box, Fogo Baiano, Electric Boogies and Batista Junior may not be household names, they tell an untold, yet rich and important part of musical history in Brazil. The release also covers a decade that has been intentionally forgotten and brushed aside by many in the country. “Use of synthesizers and electronic drums in polished and groovy productions was seen as a way to standardize and Americanize Brazilian music,” Kaiser says. “This is a thought that seems to still hang in the air. Many people stand by their opinion that the 80s were the lost era of Brazilian music.”
If the 80s has a bad reputation amongst traditionalists in Brazil then the 1990s are even more derived and deplored. This going against the grain and plucking gold from such forgotten periods is what makes this such a charming, unique, character-loaded and fascinating collection of music. It’s a release that is loaded with smooth grooves, bubbling bass, glistening synthesisers, funk strutting guitar lines and sheen of production that undeniably marks it of its time. Listening through “Onda De Amor” is akin to opening up a perfectly preserved time capsule and being transported back to a time and place that feels otherworldly in its transformative abilities.
For Kaiser this compilation is about reintroducing music during a period of reappraisal, catching a new wave and hoping contemporary listeners will ride it with him. “The idea is to do justice to these songs. Songs that combine all the right ingredients that should have put them on radio playlists when I was growing up or at least in the cases of more adventurous DJs”.