Every year we’re subjected to winter, and every year it gets worse. I swear we’re not supposed to live this far from the equator. If like me, you’re struggling to remember the feeling of the sun on your skin, there is an alternative to the tanning beds. Zatoichi’s Ears recently dropped BRAZiLL – an instrumental album filled with bossa nova cuts and backpack beats.
The fifth release from Zatoichi’s Ears – from the consistently solid the Gold on the Mixer crew – BRAZiLL follows on from ‘Beats for My Clan’ back in early 2020. Compiled from a recently unearthed crate of Brazillian vinyl, BRAZiLL eschews the standard samba tropes for something more understated but no less vibrant.
Taking in elements of reggaeton, Latin jazz and afrobeat, BRAZiLL is several thousand miles from your typical ‘Latin Lo-Fi’ playlist on Spotify. From the pounding drums of ‘Intro’ to lilting trumpets of ‘Formula’ to the infectious rhythms of ‘Barbeque’, this is Carnaval with a twist. The thematically driven small-batch beat tapes are weighed down with the textures of long-forgotten grooves.
It’s not a stretch to say the swirling flutes of ‘Dance’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Madlib mix. Like Madlib, Zatoichi is a producer with a hugely diverse taste. BRAZiLL feels like a throwback to the old crate-digging days of production; where a two-second loop from one continent could collide with an abstract melody from the other side of the planet to produce something remarkable and fresh.
Whenever you listen to an instrumental album, you have to fight the temptation to lay imaginary bars over the top. But in BRAZiLL, you’re so caught up in the provencal pulse, you’re happy to soak up the rhythms like several caipirinhas on a hot day.
It might not feel very tropical in the cold rain of this dreary little island, but this collection of sharp Latin rhythms and smooth calypso beats will bring a little sunshine to your day.
Check out BRAZiLL on Bandcamp here.