200 years after America’s independence, Burnier & Cartier released this jaw dropping brilliant piece of Brazilian acoustic guitar-based music. “Fotos Para a Capa Do” which translates to “Photos for the Cover” is such a nondescript title for such a massively intricate and dreamy album. This could be said was the first child of Clube da Esquina’s influence. A vocal and acoustic guitar duo, Octávio Bonfá Burnier, one part of the duo, was actually the son of Brazilian guitar legend Luiz Bonfa while Claudio Cartier was the erudite friend who could actually keep up with Burnier’s intense playing. They had release an album prior to this that dipped its toes into jazz fusion, prog, and some traditional Brazilian music. For this album they seem to take inspiration from the dreamy side of Brazilian music going around Brazil (Refazenda by Gilberto Gil, Milton’s work or Edu Lobo arabesque music) and decided to pair these influences with some inventive Gentle Giant-like vocal style prog. Hey… before you start running away,with all this exposition bare this in mind: If you loved and sorta getwhat Milton Nascimento, O Terço, Erasmo Carlos and others were trying to do a bit before then, then be thankful you’ve got another great dream pop album to listen to that refines this feeling in a different way.
At times this album recalls what Panda Bear is trying to do now, capture that West Coast experimental pop sound that Brian Wilson briefly captured during his SMiLE era or CSNY tried to do at times (think Guinevere). The difference here is that rather than hide behind vocal loops, and sampled sounds (or hippie-dip-ish yarns), Burnier & Cartier just write some immensely complex, circular acoustic guitar arrangements that they expertly intertwine with their gorgeous multi-tracked vocals. Here and there, they sprinkle great analog keyboard work and some of the warmest studio trickery you’ll see in the ’70s to paint a very airy, floating vibe that’s hard to find anywhere else. There are shades of jazz, shades of post-bossanova, and a whole helping load of succint dream-prog passages…and all of it perfectly rules in an autumnal/end-of-summer way. I say start off with “Minha Mãe Não Sabe De Mim” linked via the YouTube’s here. If you enjoy it I definitely recommend downloading the album, I’m serving it up exclusively here. Its another sadly never reissued and forgotten album that needs more listeners, my favorite track is the “D. Joao” and “Recreio” bleed through…now that is f’ing lovely (I can tell all the influences they’re hitting and I love them for doing this!).