Editors’ Notes One of the founding fathers of Brazil’s revolutionary Tropicalia movement, Tom Zé has always exhibited a penchant for drawing dissonant, often surprisingly experimental flourishes from traditional Brazilian song forms, injecting flashes of psychedelia into gentle Bossa Novas, and interrupting familiar Samba rhythms with wild excursions into the world of musique concrete. On the frantically invigorating Estudando O Pagode (Study of Pagoda Music), Zé’s fifth release for David Byrne’s Luaka Bop imprint, Zé continues his life-long assault on musical conformity confronting the listener with a bewildering array of sounds: braying mules, programmed beats, shrieking bird calls, gleefully deranged choral exclamations and of course swaying Pagoda rhythms. Pagoda, an improvisational style of Samba, is a very old Brazilian folk style, but in Zé’s hands it becomes a vehicle for social protest and sly musical subversiveness. Estudando is first and foremost a showcase for his dazzling eclecticism, reveling in the funk inspired breakbeats of “Ave Dor Maria”, the shuddering almost industrial stomp of “O Amor É Um Rock”, and the gorgeous elliptical chants of “Elaeu." An album of astounding stylistic breadth and bold, unexpected beauty.

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