Tanto Tempo Remixes
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Bebel Gilberto's acclaimed album Tanto Tempo is the source for this collection of remixes ranging from downtempo to danceable by some of today's most groundbreaking producers, including Peter Kruder (of Kruder & Dorfmeister), Trüby Trio, Rae & Christian, King Britt, Faze Action, 4hero and more.
Bebel Gilberto appears to be the figurehead of 21st-century bossa nova, so it's only fitting she should be the subject of one of the biggest 21st-century trends, the remix. But when the remixes are done as well as this, it actually adds to the original album. Her languid, sensual vocals are still the cornerstone, but Rae & Christian's more upbeat take on "Bananeira" propels the song to the dance floor, while Trüby Trio evoke the shantytown favelas, home of samba, on the percussive "Sem Contencao." A couple of the tracks might seem more like limp Sade than tropical Bebel, but for the most part there's plenty of invention occurring, as with Da Lata's gorgeous interpretation of "August Day Song." In addition to all of the aforementioned, King Britt, Ananda Project, and 4hero are among the studio whizzes who lend their high-profile talents to Gilberto, making Tanto Tempo into something reborn. --Chris Nickson
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Top customer reviews
Compilations such as this remix album are a great way to listen to something new. It's obvious that the backbone of these mixes is Bebel Gilberto's music and it is quite lovely, though I will have to venture forth and obtain the original of this album.
But to compare it to the original is to miss the point. Of course it isn't the original and of course one should have the original. But remixes, in my opinion, are a great way to introduce people to the often inspired alternative versions one can make, even from a great original. Such is the case here.
There are some clunkers on here but many of them are quite stunning the highlights being Peter Kruder's version of "Tanto Tempo" and Rae & Christian's take on "Bananeira". Others are mere background music, though nice background music at that. All in all this is a good mix to put on for some downtempo mood music.
Today, a remix usually means taking pieces of the original tracks (discarding others), looping and combining them with new beats, synth tracks and backing instruments. Increasingly this means messing with the harmonic structure of the song -- i.e. the chords behind a vocal melody in a remix may be quite different than the original mix. This at times produces interesting results, but some remixers have a bit of a tin ear and create a bit of dissonance or at least a weird combination as new and old instrumental lines are combined with vocals. In my experience, remixing usually leads to, at best, an interesting variation. Rarely does a remix come out better than the original, and very often it is less interesting, even ugly.
There are different remix artists for each of the 13 Tanto Tempo Remix album tracks. Pardon the pun, but the results are mixed, to say the least.
The first track BANANEIRA, fares well, retaining many elements of the original, including harmonies, chord structure, and horn section. The opening rhythmic bum - bum - BUM chord repeats with beats that change the feel of the song -- more jazz/rock/funk and less Sergio Mendez. Very listenable and dance-worthy.
Track 2, SEM CONTENCAO, uses a tribal percussion and disco beat to propel nylon string guitar, Deodato-like electric piano, and Bebel's beautiful (if repetitious) multi-tracked vocals and harmonies. Energetic and fun, but goes on about two minutes too long. This remix does not match the "Brasil 2mil" mix from the Tanto Tempo Japanese import, but is good in its own right.
AUGUST DAY SONG is a restful, beautiful favorite from the original CD. This Chateau Flight remix is too electronic and synthesizer-y for my taste. In addition the new chords do not work as harmoniously with the old melody line. Interesting, but not that appealing.
TANTO TEMPO is another dreamy cut that's been computerized to death on the remix. Kraftwerk meets bossa nova? Not a great combo. A somber piano enters midway through the remix, but with the synths and beats blurping in the background, there's no chance for its beauty to emerge. Fail.
Track 5, MAIS FELIZ, strips down the original tracks to primarily vocals. Drum machine and synth bass, nylon stringed guitar, electronic bloops and bleeps, arpeggio harp runs, and a muted vocal choir create a unique and unusual juxtaposition. Some might call it an unnatural mix.
Mario Caldato Jr.'s remix of SO NICE (Summer Samba) is brighter and more appealing, because it hews closer to the original mix, except that the vocals are squeezed toward the midrange, sounding a bit like Bebel is singing through a megaphone. In addition there are what sound like sci-fi movie sound effects dropped in here and there, lending an otherworldly character to the sonic background.
The Ananda Project remix of ALGUEM is very smooth and invigorating. It's a near total remake of the track, using the vocals (rearranged and reprocessed), but creating a basic beat with a very funky bass line and keyboards to flesh out the track. There aren't too many songs that can succeed using only a single chord. Harry Nilsson's hit song Coconut comes to mind as a standout. Ananda's ALGUEM is not that kind of a classic, but I'll give it credit for holding my interest in spite of never changing chord or key.
Track 8 is another version of SEM CONTENCAO. It may be equal or superior to the original album track, beefing up the rhythmic elements, also adding a nylon-string guitar solo to break up the monotony.
The next four tracks, CLOSE YOUR EYES, Da Lata's remix of AUGUST DAY SONG, Chari Chari's TANTO TEMPO, and SAMBA DA BENCAO, take more liberties with the mix and are more repetitious. If you approach this album as a fan of electronica and ambient music, you will find more to like in these tracks than someone approaching this album as a fan of bossa nova. (That observation might apply to some degree to a few other tracks on this album as well.) I could listen through these four cuts once, but I would not be compelled to revisit them.
The final cut, King Britt remix of AUGUST DAY SONG, merely strips things down to guitar and vocals, then adds a hip-hop percussion beat and a violin solo. Sort of a low-key send-off for this album.
These remixes tend to be more suited to dance clubs, with a greater emphasis on beat and trance, less emphasis on melody and that syncopated bossa nova beat. It all depends on what you like. Personally I prefer the original Tanto Tempo. I enjoyed these variations, but they won't be replayed nearly as often. It earns an overall rating of 3 1/2 stars. Some listenable songs, some good attempts, some very good ones.