Boomkat Product Review:
Trust when we say that Anderson do Paraiso has made one of the deadliest albums we’ve heard this year (pick a year, any will do), a genius session of no-drums Grimey madness from Belo Horizonte that’s emblematic of Brazil’s fiercely innovative new wave of producers, making it our number 2 album of the year, 2023.
The most unsettlingly brilliant music we've heard yet from Brazil, Anderson do Paraiso's 'Queridão' strips favela funk down to its barest bones, interspersing raps and hooks with slowed down flutes, strings, metallic prangs, drill basslines and fritzed folk samples, pulling propulsion from seemingly nowhere.
"I want it to be dark. The darker the better," Anderson told Brazilian magazine Volume Morto in 2020. The producer taught himself to make beats in 2012, but when he started attending the Baile de Serrão, a street party in Belo Horizonte's largest favela, his sound immediately shifted, pairing MC’s rapping about sexual liaisons and drugs with an increasingly slower, more haunted and screwed no-drums backing. The sound became known as funk BH or funk mineiro, and Anderson became one of its most notorious producers.
If you heard DJ K's 'Panico No Submundo' from earlier this year, it's worth noting that his bruxaria funk variant, while still cripplingly dark, exists on the other side of the spectrum. If DJ K propels his blown-out beats towards the carnival's haunted house, Anderson instead aims his sights at a dimly-lit dungeon, watching his pace like a hawk and adding percussive blocks only when absolutely necessary. That sparse production allows the MCs' idiosyncrasies to jump out, often pairing stark raps and hooks over loose violin phrases, an occasional kickdrum and sharp, metallic percussion. His skill lies in using space to galvanise the mood, tightly delaying the vocals where necessary and letting the gaps create a paralysing level of tension. A familiar beat might make an occasional appearance, but Anderson keeps it bare and alien, weaving in chuckles and off-key piano instead of fastening himself to the formula.
At its best, the record sounds like the haunted memory of music that at one point may have been more full and chaotic, sometimes adding slippery synths and rousing trumpets, at others lathering up layers of pitchy vocal loops and orgasmic moans. ‘On CHAMAS SUAS COLEGAS PRA BRINCAR' - the album's most pitch-black cut - Anderson takes monastic chorals and church bells, creating a kind of aesthetic dissonance that’s pretty much like nothing else we’ve heard.
Effortlessly experimental and fully gripping throughout, 'Queridão' is one of the most abstract and inspiring dance records we've heard this year, boasting vocal performances and production that'll have you hitting repeat again and again just to work out what the hell’s going on. It's exactly what we've been waiting for - grab it before the vultures start picking at its bones.