Local Wire

Nação Zumbi

In 1991, Chico Science began mixing the local percussive styles of Pernambuco, Brazil, with searing electronic rhythms. Until his early death in '97, he led Nação Zumbi and heralded the Mangue Beat movement. The band has since pushed on, still considered the unquestionable champion of North Brazil rock/electronica, and Futura furthers its cause. Jorge du Peixe's deep, confident vocals lead the charge in a dexterous play of DJ-informed production; heavy, heady bass lines (thanks to Alexandre Djengue); and -- as to the group's original intent -- stellar percussive rhythms. Since Science's departure, Nação Zumbi has moved in a decidedly rock direction, as shown on "A Ilha" and "Hoje, Amanhã e Depois," the latter seeming like a continuation of the last album's "Blunt of Judah." But when the space-funk of "Voyager" sidesteps with Peixe's half-spoken, half-moaned attempts at Portuguese-English, you know this band is capable of a wide range of sonic topics. And given the album title, pointing to somewhere just ahead of here, Nação Zumbi continues to be the best guide money can buy.
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Derek Beres