Karma – Karma (1972) {O Terço, Arthur Verocai)

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Photobucket

Karma
“Karma”
Released originally on RCA-Victor 1972 (103.0046)
This reissue Selo Cultural 2010

01. Do Zero Adiante
02. Blusa de Linho
03. Você Pode Ir Além
04. Epílogo
05. Tributo ao Sorriso
06. O Jogo
07. Omissão
08. Venha Pisar na Grama
09. Transe Uma
10. Cara e Coroa

Jorge Amiden – vocals, “tritarra” (3-neck guitar), 12-string electric guitar, nylon and steel-string acoustics, 12-string ‘viola’, electric and acoustic guitars, arrangements
Luiz Junior – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
Allen Terra – vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, 12-string “viola”

with
Oberdan Magahlães – flute
Gustavo Schroeter – drums
Bill – drums
Ian Guest – cravo
Rido Hora – harmonica

Arrangements and orchestrations by Arthur Verocai

Album cover – Bartholo

Recordgin technicians – Emiliano, Eugenio, Dilson, Ademar
Mastering and acetate cut by Milton Araújo

Reissue supervision, research, and liner notes by Charles Gavin
Remastered from the original tapes by Ricardo Garcia at Magic Master (Rio)

A decent review in Portuguese from the extinct blog “Som Barato”

Quote:

Esquecido num sítio na periferia do Rio, o compositor, guitarrista e fundador de O Terço e do Karma, Jorge Amiden, tenta recuperar a saúde abalada pelo uso de drogas e das (pouquíssimas) viagens que fez com LSD no início dos anos 1970. “Foram muito boas, mas custei a voltar delas”, diz o nosso afável Syd Barrett. Jorge é o compositor da inesquecível ‘Tributo ao Sorriso’ (em parceria com Hinds) e de tantas outras canções geniais do repertório de O Terço (1970 a 1971) e do Karma (1972). Era ele o principal arquiteto dos vocais harmoniosos de ambas as bandas. Além do mais, gravou um antológico LP com o Karma, participou do disco ‘Sonhos e Memórias’ de Erasmo Carlos e integrou a banda de Milton Nascimento. Depois, com o cérebro golpeado, se afastou dos palcos. Seguiu-se, então, um longo e indesejável ostracismo. Mas Jorge quer voltar, quer a música “viva” de volta a sua vida. E nós, órfãos de sua brilhante musicalidade, torcemos para que ele encontre o fio da meada, a luz no fim do túnel, a glória de um final fez.

Após romper com O terço, Amiden logo encontrou novos parceiros. Com Luiz Mendes Junior (violão e vocal) e Alen Cazinho Terra (baixo e vocal), irmão de Renato Terra, o guitarrista daria início a sua trajetória de pouco mais de um ano como líder do Karma. Ramalho Neto, da RCA, não teve dúvidas em contratar a banda antes mesmo de ouví-la. Reconhecia o talento de Amiden e antevia um belo disco do Karma para a RCA.

E foi o que aconteceu. Pouco tempo depois, a RCA distribuía na praça o LP homônimo do Karma, uma obra antológica que merece constar de qualquer lista dos melhores discos da história do rock brasileiro. Com uma sonoridade predominantemente acústica servindo de base para a primorosa vocalização do trio, ‘Karma’ é recheado de canções brilhantes, como ‘Do Zero Adiante’ (Amiden e Mendes Junior), ‘Blusa de Linho’ (Amiden e Rodrix) e a revisitada ‘Tributo Ao Sorriso’ (Amiden e Hinds). Esta, levada quase até seu final em a capela, servia para realçar ainda mais a força vocal do conjunto. Vale destacar a participação do baterista Gustavo Schroeter (então integrante da Bolha), que ajudou a abrilhantar o disco com sua batida sempre consistente, arrojada e precisa.

E foi com Gustavo na bateria que o Karma fez o show de lançamento do disco no Grajaú Tênis Clube. Lamentavelmente, este pequeno tesouro concebido por Amiden jamais foi reeditado. Possivelmente hiberna nos arquivos da RCA desde o seu lançamento, em 1972, como hibernam tantas outras obras importantes nos arquivos das gravadoras brasileiras.

Em sua curta vigência sob a liderança de Amiden, o Karma ainda participou do VII Festival Internacional da Canção Popular, em setembro de 1972. Foi quando defendeu ‘Depois do Portão’ (Amiden e Mendes Junior). Em 1973, nos primeiros meses do ano, durante um show no Clube de Regatas Icaraí, em Niterói, depois de misturar bebida com drogas, Amiden perde o controle do próprio cérebro. O solo de guitarra parece interminável… Depois, sentado à beira da praia com Mário, se perde em plano existencial paralelo, vagando inseguro e solitário pelo lado escuro da lua.
Jorge só encontra a saída do enovelado e desconhecido labirinto no dia seguinte, quando percebe que o mundo não é mais o mesmo, o Karma não é mais o mesmo, a música não é mais a mesma…E nem sua vida seria mais a mesma. Dos palcos, se afasta…para na calma do tempo, quem sabe uma luz como guia, em dado momento, conceda algum dia seu retorno sereno.

In a musical universe where psychedelic, progressive, and psych-folk “lost gems” are unearthed on a fairly regular basis, I may have found myself growing complacent and, yes, even skeptical about such discoveries and the praise heaped upon them. But this record is worth every superlative, hyperbolic, histrionic descriptor that has been thrown at it over the years. Long available as crappy mp3s around the interwebs, I am finally delighted to own a legitimate and great-sounding copy.

I enjoy the early O Terço albums just fine, but they didn’t prepare me for this. To my ears this is on a whole other transcendent level. It is also the swan-song of co-founder Jorge Amiden, who put together this band after leaving O Terço only to record this one album and then basically retire from music. The review above in Portuguese, although well-written and respectful, plays on the ‘acid casualty’ legend of Amiden, comparing him as ‘our’ Syd Barrett, and relating an apocryphal tale of a famous final show in 1973 where Amiden mixed heavy drinking with unspecified drugs (presumably of a psychedelic variety) that resulted in one endless guitar solo and a night spent sitting on the beach traveling to other dimensions upon return from which he would never be the same. Well, ok. That very well might have happened but honestly it doesn’t concern me much. People quit playing music for all kinds of reasons. Other people love to tell stories about why they did so. Some of them are true. Some of them miss the point. In some cases we never know the ‘why’ or ‘how’ of it. All I know is this is one HELL of an album. And Charles Gavin, whose taste is impeccable and who tends to base what he writes on actual research and factual knowledge, attributes the end of the band to internal differences and conflict within the band. Obviously that’s not mutually exclusive from drug-related issues but it relocates the emphasis.

Jorge Amiden plays the “tri-guitar” all over this record, an invention of his own that was a triple-necked guitar with varying numbers of strings and tunings, as well as a hell of a lot of other instruments. From the rather cheesy album-cover, you would think this group was a trio. Officially that’s the case but they had a lot of help from some fine musicians. Oberdon Magalhães gives a fantastic flute solo on “Blusa de linho.” One other particular stand-out is drummer Gustavo Shroeder, who manages to play HEAVY in a delicate way — I can’t really articulate it, but somehow he manages to balance on the high-wire of these delicate, melodic songs without crapping all over them, and he has a drumming style that is very individual. And I love the way the drums are recorded. The bass of Allen Terra is also very well articulated here, punchy (Rickenbacher?) and melodic. The whole album is recorded and mixed extremely well, and the arrangements of strings are top notch — all of which can be credited to the presence of Arthur Verocai in the studio.

The songs mix angelic harmonies (often Beatle-esque) with a hypnotic acoustic passages some rocking as well. The album is sequenced almost, but not quite, like a type of song-cycle – the transitions between the tunes on the first half are breathtaking, deliciously moody, and near-perfect. By which I mean, can someone who owns the original vinyl tell me if the two notes at the beginning of “Você pode ir além” as they appear here are a TRUE false-start, or is this a mastering error? I’m curious because it throws off the rhythm of what would be a triumphal transition from the previous tune, but then again I can find that kind of charming as well. A very angular, progressive “Epilógo” gives way to “Tributo ao sorriso” (Tribute to a smile) that is sung as a cappella harmony for two-thirds of is length before drifting into a lush, wordless, full-band coda replete with relaxed, strummy guitar melodies (I hesitate to call them solos), astral plane string arrangements, and harpsichord. Less stalwart bands, such as any band without Arthur Verocai around to help them, probably would have resorted to mellotron on this track. Which would have sounded pretty damn cool, in truth, but having real strings only adds to the velvet tapestry here.

I am running out of hyperbolic superlatives here. The rest of the album continues at the same level of transcendent bliss. They even manage to pull off an intense instrumental, “Transe uma” that pushes the psychedelic envelope without tipping the balance they’ve struck with the rest of the compositions, before going out on one final melancholic song with full vocal harmonies.

Perhaps Jorge Amiden just managed to trascend samsara while creating this masterpiece and step off the wheel of karma, thus eliminating the need to keep recording music. Well, that is MY story and I am sticking to it.

Can this even be called a “lost” gem? It was praised in its time by critics and public alike (as Gavin states) but the bands demise and changes in musical fashion have made the original record all but impossible to find and given it legendary status. Big kudos to the Selo Cultural label (run by the bookstore Livraria Cultura in partnership with Sony) who have made this available again. Enjoy!

in 320kbs em pé tré

in FLAC LOSSLESS AWDIO

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20 Comments

  1. once you have passed through the crucible, you must utter the pass-phrase:
    vibes

  2. Many Many Thanks for this Gem

  3. Muito obrigado !thank you

  4. Great stuff. I thought I had exhausted all the "lost gems" of Brazilian music. Wonderful discovery, thanks a ton! –Faithful Flabbergaster.

  5. Thanks very much for all the wonderful things I find (and find out about) here. The pass-phrase you mention above is not working for me for this one for some reason.

  6. thanks Joseph. because you are nice, and didn't leave an anonymous complaint about not being able to open the file (I get those regularly, and just don't publish them anymore, because 90% of the time it is from people who don't read the descriptions on the page), I will try to help you 😉

    First, make sure you are not cutting and pasting. Not sure why but this creates problems, possibly OS specific, browser specific, or WIN-RAR specific, I dunno. Manually type it in, no spaces or blanks

    If that doesn't fix the problem you may have a broken archive, meaning that it didn't download the entire file. When opening this with most un-zip applications you will just get an error message that doesn't clear much up. A quick way to check is to look and see if the file size of the archive on your computer is the same as the file size listed on the page that hosts the link (i.e., on M.U.). If they are different, then something interrupted the transfer, and you should give it another shot.

    If neither of those two things solves it, I don't know what to say, since nobody else has brought it up (about this post).

    I know some people find it annoying that these files have passwords. Some people also find my choice of wardrobe offensive. But I'm not likely to change either anytime real soon, and when I do it will be on a whim. 😉

  7. Thanks a mil, Flabbergast, for trying to help me out here. (Indeed, the first time or two I did cut and paste, but since not, and the file sizes seem okay.) I'll let you know if I make progress on this in the future.

    In any case, I appreciate it that you taking the time to address stuff like this (and so quickly), on top of having tons and tons of beautiful music with enlightening commentary here. So I don't really see how someone could fault you for doing all that and choosing to have a password. Now as for your wardrobe, not having seen it it's much harder to say… 😉

  8. Hi Flabbergast,

    Well, I'm just about to drop the most uninteresting comment of all ! Let's see : I don't know if you'd find it important but I've just had the same problem with the file as Joseph. I Couldn't open it with StuffIt Expander on my new Mac. I decided to give a try on the old one, an iBookG4, and it… worked.
    I haven't listened to it yet. Thanks anyway for this post, I might leave a word or two if I like it !

  9. This looks very interesting…thanks for this and all the other great music!

  10. This is seriously amazing. Thanks so much!

  11. belated thx, flabber mensch. this one oozes summer w/ every sublime droplet

  12. Big Thanx-your opinions are exemplary-I'm a sucker for these unheard lp's

  13. Where is the link of this album ? do you have more about this singer/composer ?

    Thanks
    Have a nice week

  14. O link está quebrado, Tem alguma maneira de conseguir essa jóia linda? Não estou conseguindo em lugar nenhum! Muito obrigado!

  15. Tô arrumando uma lista de coisas quebradas para ajeitar aqui. Agora esse disco será mais uma.

  16. Hi, is it possible to repost this one in FLAC? I’ve heard one of those crappy MP3 versions you were talking about and like the album.
    Thank you!

    • sure thing, I’ll try to get to it this week.

      • I secord that request for a FLAC repost.

        P.S. Is there something strange going on with your web hosting? I can’t access the blog from the launch page at the moment.

        • There was a server migration yesterday but I was assured everything would be pretty painless. Seems to be working okay right now at this moment.

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