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Something like an Amazonian leprechaun, Curumin is a mythical jungle troublemaker in the guise of a feral child. His favorite tactic was misdirection -- with his feet facing backward, poachers would never know exactly which way Curumin was heading. The same could be said for Luciano Nakata Albuquerque, the multitalented Brazilian wunderkind behind Curumin, the band. Albuquerque combines twisted electro-funk, breezy bossa nova, acoustic hip-hop, and sunny '70s soul in Achados e Perdidos ("Lost and Found"). As the group's main drummer, programmer, guitarist, bassist, and vocalist, the guy's clearly got a fascination with Stevie Wonder: His husky tenor is rich with urban soul like the R&B genius, and he covers "You Haven't Done Nothing" for the album's only English-language track. Beyond those easy signifiers, Albuquerque also shows a glimmer of Stevie's compositional complexity in the dense groove of "Guerreiro" and the psychedelic grandeur of "Indio Danca Na Roda." Brimming with sounds and ideas, yet wide open and laid back, these tracks are as purely Brazilian as they are beholden to American influence. In that sense, Albuquerque also touches on the avant-garde brilliance of Brazilian freakonauts like Tom Ze and Os Mutantes. But where those artists were consciously, overly oblique, this Curumin strolls right up to the mainstream before veering off into its own territory.


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