Arto Lindsay has gone from arty new wave icon (in seminal bands DNA and Ambitious Lovers) who sometimes focused on such sins as envy to genre-breaking solo artist who wants to talk about sex. His sixth solo effort, Salt, has sex on the album's artwork and in such half-whispered lyrics as "She covers herself in honey/Stretches but won't succumb." But what redeems this budding pervert is Lindsay's continued melding of global pop melodies, electronic beats and samba groove into an urban soul music appropriate for New York, Sao Paulo or anywhere else. A half step back from 2002's more abstract Invoke, Salt still eschews the near-shocking balladry of earlier solo efforts---it was during this period that he proved himself to be a first-rate crooner---but Lindsay has pulled the extremes toward the center for a more cohesive overall sound, never better illustrated than on "Into Shade." The results on this one are no less ambitious, but more consistently musical. --Tad Hendrickson
About the Artist
Arto Lindsay has made a lifelong habit of crossing both geographical and musical borders. Born in the United States and raised in Brazil during the heyday of that countrys pointedly eclectic Tropicália movement of the 1960s, the multi-faceted songwriter/producer/vocalist/guitarist has forged an international reputation as an artist whose work is as seductive as it is challenging. From his late 70s recordings of abrasive "no wave" through his acclaimed series of solo albums beginning in the late 90s, Lindsay has bonded rhythms and melodies from diverse cultures and genres in provocative new ways, crafting inimitable soundscapes whose impact can range from fragile pop pleasure to sheer sonic assault.
It was the 1978 four-band sampler No New York (produced by Brian Eno) that brought an early taste of international (albeit underground) notoriety to Lindsays first band, DNA. Critic Lester Bangs admiringly described the trios screamed vocals and deliberately primitive, speaker-shredding guitar as "horrible noise." Lindsay and his bandmates frequently inserted Portuguese phrases in their lyrics and even tried to appropriate Brazilian drumming techniques, "but nobody could really tell," he now recalls. While the group only lasted a brief time, its influence can still be heard in the work of countless noise-rock experimentalists ever since.
Lindsay remained a key figure in the downtown Manhattan scene throughout the 1980s, playing with early versions of the Lounge Lizards and the Golden Palominos, producing tracks for Laurie Anderson and David Byrne, collaborating with John Zorn, contributing lyric translations to compilations of Brazilian music on Byrnes label Luaka Bop, and even popping up in the films Desperately Seeking Susan and Candy Mountain. With keyboardist Peter Scherer, he founded the Ambitious Lovers, recording three albums (Envy, Greed, and Lust) that incorporated elements of Brazilian, experimental, funk, R&B and soul styles.
The 1990s launched an ongoing series of solo releases O Corpo Sutil/The Subtle Body, Mundo Civilizado, Noon Chill, Prize and Invoke. Many of these albums have been followed by a disc of remixes by a diverse group of electronic music artists from around the world, making explicit the connections between Lindsays aesthetic and such genres as drum-and-bass, illbient and underground hip-hop.
Lindsays critical reputation brought him back to Brazil to work as a producer on recordings by Caetano Veloso, Vinicius Cantuária, Gal Costa, and Carlinhos Brown, among others. A 1999 New York Times article on the legacy of the Tropicália movement hailed Lindsays contributions to "the finest Brazilian pop albums of the past dozen years," and he earned a Latin Grammy for "Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album" for his production work on the platinum-selling Marisa Monte album, Memórias, Crônicas e Declarações de Amor.
Pop musician, audio provocateur, sought-after producer: regardless of the title, Arto Lindsay is an artist.