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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Ramiro Musotto

By Nils Jacobson
Published April 16, 2008

Civilizacao & Barbarye
Circular Moves

Ramiro Musotto has a very musical way of bridging paradoxes, (as the title of this disc suggests). His music is electronic, but it breathes with a very earthly ritual groove. At the same time, it’s meticulously constructed in large part from (who knows how many) live instruments and voices. One of Brazil’s national treasures, the one-stringed berimbau, appears throughout in his hands, often playing a percussive role, as do the drumming squads of Bahia, who inform a lot of the layered rhythms on the album. Musotto colors each track with something distinctive— tuned berimbaus arpeggiate and harmonize on the opener, for example, while two tracks later, children’s voices snake in and out of an articulate sampled speech by the Mexican Zapatista revolutionary leader Subcomandante Marcos. It’s all very well-made, affable music and distinctively Brazilian all around, but it’s also worldly in many other respects—not to ention otherworldly, once you succumb to its primal groove, however exquisitely recorded and produced it may be.