MORENO VELOSO-COISA BOA.

MORENO VELOSO-COISA BOA.

Thirteen years have passed since Moreno Veloso released his debut album Music Typewriter. Since then, Moreno has put his solo career on hold, concentrating instead, on production. Moreno has spent over a decade years learning, and honing his production skills. This paid off. 

In 2006, Moreno was asked to produce his father’s latest album Zii e Zie. This was no case of nepotism. Far from it. Caetano Veloso is a cultural icon in Brazil. He’s one of the most celebrated artists the country has produced. His reputation was at stake. So Caetano wouldn’t risk his reputation by indulging an aspiring producer. No. Moreno won the right to produce Zii e Zie.

Between the release of his debut album in 2001, and the released of Zii e Zie, Moreno had established a reputation as a talented producer. This was apparent when Zii e Zie was released to critical acclaim. It reinforced Moreno’s reputation as a top class producer. As a result, Moreno produced Caetano’s next two albums, 2010s Cê and 2012s Abraçaço. These two albums further reinforced Moreno’s reputation as a producer. However, after Abraçaço, Moreno decided it was time to return to his solo career.

Moreno hadn’t released any solo material since 2001. He had been involved with a couple of collaborations with his friends Domenico Lancelotti and Alexandre Kassin. They collaborated with Moreno on his 2001 debut album Music Typewriter. He returned the favour on Domenico 2004 album +2’s Sincerely Hot and 2007 album Kassin +2’s Futurismo. These three albums became known as the +2 trilogy. After collaborating on Futurismo, Morneo didn’t release any music until 2014.

That’s when three of Moreno’s songs featured on the soundtrack to Richard Linklater’s 2014 film Boyhood. These three songs also feature on Moreno’s sophomore album Coisa Boa, which will be released on November 17th 2014, on the Luaka Bop label. 

Coisa Boa marks the welcome return of Moreno Veloso.  Great things were forecast of Moreno, when he released his debut solo album back in 2001. However, Moreno put his solo career on hold. This meant that we never got the opportunity to see whether he could fulfil his potential…until now.

For Coisa Boa, Moreno penned several songs with Domenico Lancelotti and Alexandre Kassin. They also play on Coisa Boa. So do a number of Moreno’s friends. A total of thirty musicians featured on Coisa Boa. This includes guitarists Pedro Sá and Arto Lindsay, bassist Melvin Gibbs, pianist Daniel Jobim, keyboardist Rodrigo Bartolo and multi-instrumentalist Takako Minekawa. These musicians recorded the eleven tracks in in nine studios in a variety of locations, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Japan and New York. Once the eleven songs were recorded and mixed, they became Coisa Boa, which I’ll tell you about.

The understated and mellow Lá e Cá opens Coisa Boa. A wash of synths, a gently plucked acoustic guitar and a myriad of disparate, subtle sounds seamlessly became one. They provide the backdrop to Moreno’s tender, heartfelt vocal. Not only that, but the arrangement compliments the vocal. The only way to describe the vocal is truly beautiful, just like Moreno’s guitar playing. 

There’s an urgency to the guitar that opens Um Passo à Frente. Soon, one becomes two. Washes of sound reverberate, as an impassioned vocal is delivered with a similar urgency. Soon, the arrangement unfolds, building and blossoming. A pulsating bass, percussion and harmonies unite urgently. Then just as quickly, the urgency dissipates leaving a captivating, urgent vocal. After that,  the urgency returns, as hooks, harmonies and musical genres unite, creating a delicious Latin backdrop. 

Em Todo Lugar sees another change of tack. Moreno is a musical chameleon, who is showcasing his versatility. Elements of Latin, jazz and even funk are combined from  the get-go. The rhythm section and  a chiming guitar provide the backdrop for Moreno’s vocal. It’s needy, hopeful and heartfelt. This is perfect for captivating ballad. 

Verso Simples has a much more traditional sound. Yet again, Moreno is content to keep the listener guessing. Just his acoustic guitar and percussion accompany his vocal. It’s tinged with emotion and sadness, as the arrangement meanders along, all the times, tugging at your heartstrings. 

Wistful and spacious describes the title-track,  Coisa Boa. It’s just a thoughtful Moreno playing his guitar. His vocal is tinged with melancholia. He leaves space within the arrangement, as if contemplating the lyrics he delivers.

Almost hesitantly, Jacaré Coruja unfolds. The band play their way into the track. Just a chiming, hypnotic guitar plays and a drum thoughtfully beats out a rhythm. Moreno play his guitar and delivers a vocal that veers between heartfelt, hurt-filled and dramatic. In doing so, he brings the lyrics to life. 

Slow and melancholy describes the introduction to Num Galho de Acácias. Moreno is accompanied by dark strings and a soft, thoughtful piano. They’re the perfect accompaniment to Moreno’s vocal. However, it’s a tender female vocal that adds the finishing touch to what’s without doubt, the highlight of Coisa Boa. It’s Moreno’s finest hour.

De Tentar Voltar picks ups where Num Galho de Acácias left off. It’s another slow, understated track. Moreno’s vocal is full of hurt and regret. He’s accompanied by guitars, drums played with brushes and a bass. Later, a crystalline guitar and wistful strings enter, playing important roles as Moreno delivers another heartfelt and beautiful song.

Latin percussion and chiming guitars open Não Acorde o Neném. Moreno’s vocal is tender  as gradually the arrangement shows its delights. A probing bass, crystalline guitar, percussion, handclaps and harmonies accompany Moreno. They take care not to overpower his vocal. Instead, they compliment his languid vocal on what’s best described as an irresistible slice of Latin music.

The guitar that opens Hoje, reminds me of Nick Drake. So does the bass. That’s not the end of the comparisons. Hoje’s arrangement has a similar stripped back sound. This allows the music to breath. Especially Moreno’s wistful vocal and the shapeshifting bass. A piano adds to the sense of melancholia. Its addition is the finishing touch to what sounds like a homage to the late, great, Nick Drake.

Closing Coisa Boa is Onaji Sora. Again, it has an understated sound. Percussion and an acoustic guitar accompany Moreno, as he delivers a duet. His partner is a female vocalist. They’re like yin and yang. Their voices compliment each other, and result in a tender, heartfelt track that’s the perfect way to close Coisa Boa, Moreno Veloso’s comeback album.

Leaving thirteen years between albums isn’t to be advised for an artist. By the time they make their comeback, their audience may have forgotten about them? That’s not all. Music will have changed. Their sound may not be relevant any more. That doesn’t apply in the case of Moreno Veloso.

He’s an artist with his own, unique sound. That’s apparent on Coisa Boa, Moreno’s long awaited sophomore album. On the first few songs, Moreno switches between musical genres. He’s something of a musical chameleon. Then when he delivers a series of slow, understated, ballads, it’s apparent that this is Moreno Veloso’s “sound.” 

He dawns the role of troubadour, delivering songs that are a heartfelt, hopeful, melancholy and wistful. Sometimes, Moreno’s vocals are needy and full heartache and hurt. The way he delivers songs, it’s as if he’s lived the lyrics. However, there’s more to Moreno than the role of troubled troubadour.

Moreno Veloso is also a guitarist and producer. He’s a hugely talented, classically trained guitarist. That shows on Coisa Boa. He knows exactly what notes to play, and when. Often, just one note adds a sense of melancholy or a poignancy to a song. Sometimes, he realises less is more. 

This isn’t just when he plays guitar. Often, Moreno leaves space between notes. It’s like a pregnant pause. Similarly, Moreno’s arrangement’s are understated, uncluttered. and spacious. Never, do the band overpower his vocals. Instead, they compliment his vocals. Always, Moreno’s vocals take centre-stage, as he becomes the comeback King.

Thirteen long years after his debut album, Music Typewriter, Moreno Veloso returns with his sophomore album Coisa Boa, which will be released by Luaka Bop on 17th October 2014. Coisa Boa has been worth the thirteen year wait, and sees Moreno Veloso more than fulfil the potential that was apparent on 2001s Music Typewriter.

MORENO VELOSO-COISA BOA.

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