It's surprising to me as someone who generally isn't that big on chip music that I'm on my third straight play through minusbaby's new album, Derecha. And even though I admittedly get fidgety and impatient on hearing more than one song at any given time in any given genre (chronic musical ADD), here I am humming along like an asshole, more forcefully with each repeated listen, ad-libbing riffs here and there while I finger-drum beats on my desktop like a white Candido, and quickly approaching my fourth return listen.
As an album, it's a mature progression from his previous EP, Left. And it's damn good. And I want to tell people about it, but what do I even say? It's chip music, but it doesn't sound like something from any video game I played when I was a kid. It's new music made with old-school mentality using a combination of sounds that could either be from 1985 or 2085. It's funky, it's danceable, it's composed, it's cerebral, it's performing a complicated samba throughout the Southern Hemisphere at times. It's all of these and yet it's none of these.
The first time I listened to "Left" I was 6,000 feet above sea level being driven in a car navigating the winding roads of the Himalayas. The last time I listened to "Left" was a few minutes ago while watching some writers at the 5Pointz graffiti spot in Queens. Both times I was mentally transported to a place between those two extremes – the majestic and the everyday. Can something be both timeless and fresh? It can when the bass is the base and each snare truly ensnares.
Once again, minusbaby has shown us the proto-urban; an audio space where an imaginary city is built in the mind's eye from the rawest materials and yet still seems to be polished and eternal. Please, enjoy, as I do, the reductive/constructive paradox which is minusbaby's perpetual rhythm machine and sip and nibble from one of the most inconspicuously nuanced suppers ever to disguise itself as a snack. Simplicity was never so deceptive.
After a five-year hiatus, minusbaby returns to our discography with the hip-shaking "Saudade for Beginners"; five tunes written in São Paulo, Brazil and East Harlem, New York City. Whereas "Monkey Patch" concerned itself with fictitious apes and animal hybrids, "Saudade for Beginners" aims to express life after the experience of saudade, a term often discussed pedantically by the academe, but best left to music and poetry as in bossa nova and samba – of which minusbaby is a devoted connoisseur. Shake what your mãe gave you.
My earliest memory of a monkey is the scene in "Kingukongu tai Gojira" where King Kong opens a giant snake's mouth so far beyond it's natural extention point that it eventually looks like a mushroom with a long, wiggly, scaled stem. Sure, King Kong is an ape but to a 4 year old, it was a very big monkey with an attitude problem. It was also pretty bad-ass. So, in return for playfully horrific imagery, I managed to write an album dedicated to all things apish and monkeyed. Don't accept any imitations, this album is more real than Diddy Kong's learned vocabulary.