“12 Seconds” of Delicious Noir!
ByBruce D. Robertson March 19, 2015
Format: Audio CD
In 2010, beautiful Rio de Janeiro cantora Beatrice Mason (bay-ah-TREE-chay mah-ZONE, I believe) released her debut album “Mosaico.” While readily identifiable as MPB (Música Popular Brasileira), “Mosaico” offers a diversified tableau of samba, blues, and jazz, underpinned with a trace of electronics. Beatrice’s honeyed – yet unfaltering – voice ties everything together nicely. “Mosaico” is highly recommended.
But! With her 2014 album, “12 Seconds,” Beatrice takes her art to an entirely new level – and takes us on a voluptuous excursion into the noir. Throughout “12 Seconds,” electric keyboards and guitars echo, synthesizers shimmer, electric basses throb, programmed percussion pulses. A lonely trumpet is heard on one particularly noir-ish track, “Quem Ama.” And Beatrice sings, whether gently, ethereally, or forcefully.
Much of the cool ambience of this album can be credited to producer (and musician) Alexandre Vaz. The arrangements are spare, the electronics are brought to the fore, and . . . it’s a dark black night outside. But it’s so yummy! The track sequencing is perfect, beginning with the title track and continuing right through a remix of “When Love Breaks Down,” courtesy of Marcelinho da Lua (of BossaCucaNova) and Bruno LT. Exquisite packaging designed by Maíra Knox makes the CD well worth the extra money over digital downloads.
Beatrice seems remarkably adept at identifying songs that she can then completely transform. Two examples are “voz e violão” songs by Vitor Ramil. “Foi No Mês Que Vem” became a powerful accordion-driven piece on “Mosaico.” “12 Segundos de Oscuridad” became . . . guess what?!
“12 Seconds” comprises only eight songs (and Track 8 is a remix of Track 2), clocking in with a total run time of just 28:31. Should we therefore feel cheated, or at least underserved, by a lazy Beatrice? Not at all! To me, this album seems just right as is. But do give it the attention it deserves. Do NOT play it while washing the dishes. DO listen to it in an otherwise quiet (dark!) room.
To get the full Beatrice Mason experience, seek out online videos of Beatrice’s performances of “12 Seconds” numbers. You will see a gifted cantora who is powerful, alluring, sensuous, sensual, you name it. Absolutely terrific stage presence!
Beatrice Mason’s “12 Seconds” is a guilty pleasure. Enjoy!
Notes from Japan: In my reviews of contemporary Brazilian music, I always seek to offer you, the connoisseur, information on Japanese CD releases. You can always count on superior manufacturing and sound quality from a Japanese CD; that’s a given. Further, sometimes you are treated to one or more bonus tracks – very good ones, too; not throwaways – that do not appear anywhere else in the world.
As far as I can determine, neither of Beatrice’s albums have been released in Japan. So, buy the Lilly Blonde/Global Media issue right now!