Now this, this is an artist I wish more people would know of outside of Brazil. Lo Borges, if I would look for an English-speaking analog I would think he would be a combination of George Harrison and Neil Young. Most of his music has this distinctive hypermelodic sound, imagine someone basing their whole musical style on “Let it Down” off All Things Must Pass…then you sorta get what Lo was attempting to do. In 1972, he along with his friends Milton Nascimento, Beto Guedes, Toninho, Flavio Venturini, and others joined together to create the massively influential Clube da Esquina. That album was the first album to challenge the Beatles in terms of scope and sound, it was the Brazilian Abbey Road.
Clube da Esquina allowed Lo, who contributed some of its most memorable songs like “O Trem Azul” and “Paisagem da Janela”, to land his first record deal with his self-titled album. This album had a very unique jazz influence, that combined perfectly with his Tropical soft psychedelia. You can hear his falsetto voice trying to find a way to combine with this unique sound he was creating. It wasn’t until he reconvened with Milton 6 years later, after spending a lot of time rediscovering the Mineiro sound of Minas Geraes, that he now found a way to solidify exactly the type of music he was going to make. If you listen to “Ruas da Cidade”, on the playlist below, you’ll start to hear those steps. The vocals now sound more assured and robust, the arrangements are more progressive and purposeful.
With this renewed confidence, Lo finally recorded his sophomore album Via Lactea, in 1978, 7 years after his first. This album is by far his best and most complete album. It is the pinnacle of true dream pop, in my humble opinion. Some artists believe that you have to force experimentalism and only dark music can be deep…this album proves the opposite, its just so effortlessly uplifting and full of musical layers that serve the melody itself, and not the opposite. You can always go back and discover something new with this release. Opening with the Brazilian country-rock of “Sempre Viva”, then continuing with the hazy West Coast ambient pop of “Ela”, and finding its secluded way to the warm the Byrds-in-Brazil sound of “Chuva na Montanha” goes Lo creating a sound that is clearly not tied to its time. Just wonderfully dreamy and imaginative, it stood out in a timeless way in Brazil.
Anyway, I can go on all day trying to mine a Thesaurus to describe the deeply personal feel of Lo’s work but I won’t. I’d rather you check out the playlist I created below. If ever you wanted to feel like you’re Lost in the Dream or go into the Land of Grey and Pink, for just an hour or so, crank up this playlist. Simply hazey in the best way, and by far a collection of the dreamiest songs you’ll ever hear.
– 1972: Clube da Esquina (with Milton Nascimento)
– 1972: Lô Borges
– 1979: A Via Lactea
– 1980: Os Borges
– 1981: Nuvem Cigana
– 1984: Sonho Real
Might as well share a video of Lo performing two of his best songs “Clube da Esquina” and “Um Girassol”: