Apollo Nove, Res Inexplicata Volans

Peter Margasak

By Peter Margasak

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Glib electro-bossa, this ain’t.

Apollo Nove has been credited for picking up the torch of the producer Suba — who died tragically in a house fire in 1999 after helping Bebel Gilberto cut Tanto Tempo — by deftly bringing electronics to Rio musical specialties. But on his excellent debut, Nove makes clear he's nobody's shadow. Glib electro-bossa, this ain't. A number of great vocalists (Cibelle, CéU, Seu Jorge, Tita Lima) and instrumentalists (Trio Mocoto drummer Joao Parahyba and Tropicália secret weapon guitarist Lanny Gordin) help out, but Nove brilliantly crafts the dominating moods and environments on his own with a huge arsenal of vintage synthesizers. Bossa nova is the connective tissue, but it's delicately enhanced with lounge lizard ambience and electro spaciness. The richly textured arrangements never supplant actual songs, and the charismatic vocalists deliver the melodies amid wonderfully shape-shifting counterpoint. Apollo Nove's multi-layered production is so packed with detail that every listen reveals something new.