Sidney Miller – Línguas de Fogo (1974)

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Photobucket

LÍNGUAS DE FOGO
Sidney Miller
1974 Som Livre 403.6037
Reissued 2005 under direction of Charles Gavin
Remastered by Luigi Hoffer

1 Cicatrizes
2 Um dia qualquer
3 Línguas de fogo
4 Dos anjos
5 Alô
6 Pala palavra
7 No quarto das moças
8 Sombrasileiro
9 Espera
10 Alento
11 Dois toques

This record is as compelling and enigmatic as Sidney Miller himself. The only other thing I have by him is one song a soundtrack record for the 3rd Festival da Músical Popular Brasileira from 1967, in which he sings his “A Estrada e o Violeiro” with Nara Leão, a song for which he won an award for the lyrics. Miller was somewhat set up to be “the next Chico Buarque”, with his compositions being lauded by the likes of Nara who recorded a ton of his songs on her “Vento de Maio” (1967) album. Miller would release his own album on Elenco that year on the strength of the single “A Estrada e o Violeiro”. That album is something of a rarity to track down, but not as hard as his second LP, the quasi-Tropicalista-post-bossa-nova album “Do Guarani ao Guaraná” which had some heavy friends on it like Paulinho da Viola and Jards Macalé. Released in `68, that would be his last album for the next six years. He would spend the following years doing some arranging for Nara Leão’s famous (and also famously rare) “Coisas do Mundo” album, and composing for theatre and cinema, some songs of which became hits on Trilhas Sonoras (soundtracks) to telenovelas. And then in 1974, he puts out this completely weird album.

The record is dreamy, hazy, psychedlicized, progressive MPB that evokes early Lô Borges, or Beto Guedes, or the first Nelson Angelo/Joyce album. In fact it sounds like a ‘lost’ album from the whle Mineiro bunch surrounding the Clube de Esquina, but is actually out on a whole other trip once you start listening closer. The arrangements are all great, balancing his relaxed, almost sedated vocal lines against taught double-tracked flute harmonies or funky electric piano or keyboards or fuzzy electric guitars that sometimes sound like it was plugged straight into the mixing board and using the input as an overdrive. His voice is gorgeous, and while his lyrics may not be as Buarqueian as some of his earliest champions may have been hoping for, they are sophisticated, resonant, and beguiling. This album is very deserving of that tag of “lost masterpiece” that gets thrown around a little too freely these days. Because this really is an exceptional work of music supported by great audio mixing, smart lyrics, and solid experimental folk-rock arrangements that occasionally goes off on some crazy guitar jams. I love everything on this album with the exception of ‘Dos anjos’.

This was the last album Sidney Miller would ever make. He worked for the arts foundation known as FUNARTE for a few years, had plans to make another record, but died at the age of 30 from an apparent cardiac arrest. Rumors were that he had committed suicide. Not sure what to make of that. The melancholic beauty here is stunning, and hints at a soul that had a lot more to say to us.

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