The Brazilian Sound:
Brazil's Music & Culture
Brazilian Sound Shop (U.S)   U.K. Shop   Canada Shop   Archive   
Links   The Book
 

 


Os Mutantes
Brazil's Legendary Tropicalista Rock Band

Mutantes

Mutantes CDs

Arnaldo Baptista   Rita Lee   Sérgio Dias   Tropicália   Tropicália CDs

A Brief History Of Os Mutantes

Os Mutantes ("The Mutants") were the rock and roll side of Brazil's Tropicália movement, performing on the landmark album of the same name and backing Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso on stage in major song festival appearances. The Mutantes were the first artistically important rock band in Brazil. They mixed psychedelic rock with Latin and Brazilian flavors, avant-garde classical touches, lyrics in four languages, surreal lyrics, irreverence and lots of irony. Sérgio Dias Baptista, Arnaldo Baptista and Rita Lee formed the core of the group during its heyday from 1966-1972, augmented on some albums by bassist Liminha (Arnolpho Lima Filho) and drummer Dinho (Ronaldo Leme). Rita left the Mutantes in '73 to follow a successful solo career. Arnaldo departed the next year and recorded solo albums, including the cult-classic Loki in '74. Sérgio kept the Mutantes alive until '78, and afterwards recorded albums with the likes of L. Shankar and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera. Liminha went on to become one of Brazil's greatest rock producers. The Mutantes had a short career but a huge impact on Brazilian rock and pop. They were arguably the world's first truly international rock band. In later years, the Mutantes developed a global cult following, with Beck, Kurt Cobain, the Posies, and Sean Ono Lennon among their many fans. -- from The Brazilian Sound. ©Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha, 1991 / 1998


New Mutantes

Live at the Barbican Theatre 2006

Mutantes: Live at the Barbican Theatre (CD or MP3s)
(2007)
The Mutantes live on their revival tour in 2006,
with Zelia Duncan filling in for Rita Lee

 

Mutantes Retrospective Albums

Os Mutantes (Millennium Series)
greatest hits retrospective album
(1999)

While the David Byrne produced Everything Is Possible is a decent, if quite biased, look at the music of Os Mutantes, this retrospective is a much more eclectic look at this amazing band, focusing mainly on their 1970's output. The growth of Mutantes by this period can be easily charted by listening to this album. The classic lineup's output from the early 70's ("Technicolor," "Jardim Electrico," and "Mutantes E Seus Cometas"), is a glorious fusion of traditional Brazilian styles of music with increasing amounts of studio gadgetry, and a subtle shift in the music itself. One senses a band ready to break out and do its own thing -- which is exactly what happened. Rita Lee left the band by the end of 1972 (and one more lp, "Hoje E O Premiero Dia Do Resto da Sua Via," incorrectly called a Rita solo lp), and the band's first post-Rita lp, "'A' 'E' O 'Z'," is a wonderful ELP meets Yes style Progressive rock effort, complete with Arnaldo's Melotron and Hammond organ musings. The band never looked back. This compilation lp has all eras of Os Mutantes covered, from the 1st lp through the mid 70's. This is by far the most complete retrospective (thus far) on the market. Fans of the early Os Mutantes period will find fewer of their favorites on here, but the compensation in order to show off some of the yet-to-be-domestically-released prog-rocker Mutantes ("AEOZ" can be had domestically, though at a price) is justifiable. A glorious retrospective that is an interesting cross-section of Mutantes! --an Amazon.com reviewer
 

Everything Is Possible: The Best of Os Mutantes

Everything Is Possible: Best Of The Mutantes
Luaka Bop compilation from first
five Mutantes albums, 1968-1972
(1999)


Mutantes CDs In Chronological Order
(Some Have Limited Availability)

Mutantes

Os Mutantes
(1968)

Right out the gate, from the opening seconds of "Panis et Circensis" (also used as the lead track on the flagship "Tropicália" album), Mutantes showed with their debut that they sounded like nobody else - either in their native Brazil or any other place, for that matter. These powerful 11 tracks combine acid rock, samba ("Batmacumba", where Jorge Ben guests - that's him leading the coughing session) , French pop ("La Premier Bonheur du Jour"), Brazilian folk music ("Adeus Maria Fulô") , some vaudeville ("Senhor F") , and plenty of Beatleisms (all over the place) thrown in for good measure into one energetic and unique sound that was eons ahead of what any other rock band had tried before in Brazil. This is what that year´s "White Album" would have sounded if the Beatles were still as young, hungry and collaborative as the Mutantes were in 1968 - - and if Jimi Hendrix and Gilberto Gil had popped in for a session or ten. -- J. Emilio Rondeau


Tropicália: Ou Panis Et Circensis
group album of the Tropicália movement with
Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Rogério Duprat,
Nara  Leão, Gal Costa, and Os Mutantes
(1968)
limited availability


Mutantes

Mutantes
(1969)

Bookended by two epic tracks - the operatic "Dom Quixote" and "Caminhante Noturno", where the "Lost In Space" robot's voice (actually, its Brazilian counterpart) makes a brief appearance at the end - , Mutantes's second album easily surpasses the very high expectations set by their daring debut record. They're at the top of their game as they weave a rich set that includes the theme song the band wrote for a Shell commercial they all starred in ("Algo Mais"), beatle-tinged love songs (the delightful "Qualquer Bobagem" and "Mágica") and a stunning melange of Brazilian folk music (with hillbilly accents and all) and roaring, all-out rock and roll ("Dois Mil e Um", a track that embodies that era's fascination with space tavel). The band's light side emerges in "Banho de Lua", a re-recording of the Brazilian version of an Italian pop ditty of the early sixties, "Tintarella di Luna". --J. Emilio Rondeau


A Divina Comedia Ou Ando Meio Desligado

A Divina Comédia Ou Ando Meio Desligado
(The Divine Comedy Or I'm Kind Of Spaced-Out)
(1970)

This eclectic Os Mutantes third album retains a strong Beatles influence while still adding plentiful Brazilian traditional sounds, Tijuana Brass-type horns and exquisite orchestral arrangements by the ever-present Rogério Duprat. Arguably their most sophisticated album, it opens with the funky "Ando Meio Desligado" - its opening bass line, borrowed from the Zombies' "Time of The Season", mutates into a cha-cha-cha interlude before the band finally rocks furiously into the chorus - and goes on to touch every single base of the Mutantes musical specter, from psychedelia ("Ave Lúcifer") to soul music ("Meu Refrigerador Não Funciona") and pop ("Desculpe Baby"), to just plain silliness (the doo-woppy "Hey Boy" and a loopy cover of MPB classic "Chão de Estrelas" with a tip of the hat to Spike Jones). --J. Emilio Rondeau


Tecnicolor

Tecnicolor
(1970)

This "Technicolor" release is the best one to own (and I own them all). The remastering job done by Carlos Freitas of Classic Masters took him three months to do and by far, this is the best sounding collection of any of the Mutantes compact discs, even though he was only given poor 7 1/2 ips tape with tons of drops-outs to work with-- he pulled off of these tapes an amazing sound. It is much better than the Luaka Bop compilation in terms of sound quality (listen to the two versions of "El Justiciero" which are the exact same recording and see what I mean). Carlos gave me a brazilian copy of "Technicolor" as soon as it was pressed last year and boy howdy am I pleased to finally see it available in the states! It is totally fun to compare the different arrangements of the english (or french) versions of the "Technicolor" tunes vs. the originals. (Yeah ok, some of the translations are off a bit, but who cares!) I have really gotten to prefer these "Technicolor" renditions/arrangements actually. This is totally one of my "desert island" discs. I couldn't rate it higher. Buy it! --an Amazon.com reviewer


Jardim Eletrico

Jardim Elétrico
(Electric Garden)
(1971)

I was very young when I first listened the funky "Top Top" on a radio from Rio de Janeiro. The only Brazilian rock band which had their songs playing as much as the Rolling Stones or Beatles. To foreign fans, the special interest on this album are some songs recorded at Polydor Studios, at London, two of both with lyrics in English: "Baby", the tropicalist song from Caetano Veloso, and the lysergic "Tecnicolor". "Portugal de Navio" is one of my favorities, for Arnaldo Baptista's keyboards and vocals, besides the bluesy harmonica solo. "Virginia" was recorded at London, too, and sounds as melodious as any Beatles songs. The last remarkable song to me, but not the least, is "El Justiciero", and its superb Spanish-styled guitar solo by Sergio Dias. As a plus, the front cover remind us the spirit of those times... --an Amazon.com reviewer
 

E Seus Cometas No Pais Do Baurets

Mutantes E Seus Cometas
(The Mutants And Their Comets)
(1972)

Just think for a moment... why did you come to see the review of this album? To listen... Well, then fasten your seatbelts to a trip through the most powerful Mutantes' work. From pure rock n' roll (Posso Perder Minha Mulher...) to a psychedelic funk (Dune Buggy), spiced with progressive rock (Mutantes e Seus Cometas), a little bit of a comic Santana (Cantor De Mambo) and an anthem for all of us lunatics (Balada Do Louco) this cosmic album shows us what the Mutantes are capable to do with their musical instruments... You'll see why it's impossible to turn your stereo off. --an Amazon.com reviewer
 

"A" e o "Z"

"A" e o "Z"
(1974)
 

Mutantes Ao Vivo

Mutantes Ao Vivo (Live)
(1976)

By the end of 1972, the classic lineup of Os Mutantes was no more. Vocalist Rita Lee had broken up with boyfriend/keyboardist Arnaldo Baptista, and would move on to her very successful solo career. Baptista, younger brother/guitarist Sergio Dias, bassist Liminha, and drummer Dinho would stick together, and re-remerge as a progressive rock band with 1973's "AEOZ" and 1974's "Todo Foi Feido Pelo Sol." These lps ahow that Os Mutantes were very much influenced by Yes, and Sergio & Arnaldo would state as much in interviews during that period. Sergio's guitar expertise on these 2 lps is wonderful, as is Arnaldo's liberal use of Moogs and Mellotrons. Liminha's bass playing is similar to Chris Squire's, as well. The 2 lps were a fantastic foray into progressive rock that was hinted at on many songs of the Rita Lee-era band, as well.

By the end of '74, this lineup of Mutantes split up and went their own ways. Bassist Liminha today is a very respected and sought after session player. Arnaldo would create a few solo lps, including the cult favorite "Loki," but the breakup with Rita and his escallating drug use would haunt him for many years to come. He tried to commit suicide in 1983. He currently lives in Brazil and is out of the music business. Sergio, however, would re-create Os Mutantes by 1976, and recruited new musicians to do so. Enter bassist/violinist Paulo de Castro, drummer Rui Motta, and keyboardist Luciano Alves. All 4 men wrote, and all contributed songs to the lp that would become "Ao Vivo." "Ao Vivo" is a live effort, recorded in August 1976, and I assume was a typical show given by the all out prog-rockers that this band was. The songs are first rate forays into prog-rock, complete with Sergio's over the top guitar solos, Alves' sometimes overbearing keyboard/organ/mellotron solos and noodling. Indeed, many parts of this effort border on the pretentious and tedium that plagues many prog records of the day. The difference between this effort and some of the others of the era is that this lineup of Mutantes was very tight and all were competent players, songwriters, and vocalists.

Sergio takes on the bulk of the singing and songwriting, and the results show a man who had become very comfortable in the limelight. His songs on this lp, from the keyboard laden "Sagitarius," the drugged out trippiness of "Benvindos," to the out n out rock anthem "Rock'n Roll City," are wonderfully crafted prog tunes with fine solos by the lead instruments. The bass playing of de Castro is another highlight of the lp- very rock solid, with riffs inspired by Chris Squire of Yes and John Wetton of the "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" era King Crimson. Molta's drumming is similar to that of Phil Collins or Alan White. Overall, the lp is a far cry from the Tropicalia-era Os Mutantes, so if that is what you are expecting, do not expect that. What you will get, however, is a fine slice of progressive rock that will remind the listener that not all good prog rock were created by the British, Germans, or Americans. Os Mutantes defined an era in the late 60's, and while they followed the trend in the 70's, they quickly adapted and became very proficient at it. A very credible effort. --an Amazon reviewer


Tudo Foi Feito Pelo Sol

Tudo Foi Feito Pelo Sol
Mutantes with only Sergio Dias

Recorded after the dismissal of singer Rita Lee and the departure of former front man Arnaldo Baptista, Tudo Foi Feito pelo Sol is the amazing result of Os Mutantes diving into prog rock. Led by Sergio Dias, it combines the beautiful melodies also found in previous Mutantes records with the virtuosity and complex instrumental interplay of progressive rock. "Deixa Entrar um Pouco D'agua..." and "Desanuviar" are my favorite tracks, along with the instrumental track "Pitagoras". This album does not have the hype of the previous Mutantes psychedelic records, and was not release on CD until very recently (its vynil release easily reached US$500 on used-record stores before that). But it is a true classic, and the music resembles a lot "The Yes Album": Sergio Dias is a Steve Howe-caliber guitarrist, and Tulio Mourao reminds of Tony Kaye. --an Amazon reviewer
 


Arnaldo Baptista Albums

Arnaldo Baptista


Rita Lee Albums

Acústico MTV (Portuguese)

Rita Lee


Sérgio Dias (Baptista) Albums

Mato Grosso
with Phil Manzanera
(1990)

Driven by the dynamic force of Phil Manzanera and Sergio Dias, "Mato Grosso" charts a course of inspiration from the rainforests of Brazil to the urban contemporary scene. In "Mato Grosso," masterful guitar and keyboard tracks by Manzanera and Dias are laid on top of the massive percussion thrust that propels this recording. The compositions in form and content showcase the paradoxes of modern life. Serving as a metaphor for the conflict between development and tradition, "Mato Grosso" is a compelling reflection of issues especially pertinent to the future of the rainforest. With keen awareness, "Mato Grosso" links musical styles with visionary zeal and an impeccably contemporary sensitivity. --an Amazon.com reviewer
 

Song Of The Leopard
(1996)


Mind Over Matter
(2000)

Estação Da Luz
(Light Station)
(2001)
 


Also See:

Gita

Raul Seixas

Tropicalia

Gilberto Gil

Caetano Veloso

Brazilian Music Store Index

 

The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil

The Brazilian Sound:Samba, Bossa Nova
and the Popular Music of Brazil (Amazon U.S.)

Brazilian Sound (Canada)
Brazilian Sound (U.K.)
The Brazilian Sound (France)
Brazilian Sound (Japan)
Brazilian Sound (Germany)

 


Archive

Contact Us

Links
 

Home