Review - Bebel Gilberto

Artist: Bebel Gilberto

Superficially, there's not a lot to differentiate this new disc from Gilberto's breakthrough Tanto Tempo record. Beautiful vocals, brightly polished semielectronica, faint images of bossa nova ... it's all here, just like you expected. But dig a little deeper. Opening with a cover of Os Mutantes' cover of Caetano Veloso's "Baby," the stage is set for an album of influences twice removed, traditions dismantled and sounds double-refracted through a lens of 21st-century displacement. No, it's not all that deep, but the multiple levels of definition that are at play here are dizzying to the point that Gilberto's album threatens to collapse in on itself. Japanese guitarists, dance producers, Yoruban deities and Antonio Carlos Jobim's grandson show up here, yet Gilberto effortlessly claims their influence as her own vision, resulting in a sound that's unique, but curiously unfulfilling.

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