Caetano Veloso, "Zii e zie"
On latest album "Zii e zie," Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso continues to explore the progressive timbres and techniques found on 2006 album "Cê." This time, rather than making a rock album, Veloso introduces "transamba"--samba that's composed for a modern rock band. The resulting music has a constant pulse and is full of mystery and contradiction. The minimalist arrangement on "Por Quem?" is a solitary setting for Veloso's bittersweet poetry, juxtaposing his delicate, high-pitched vocals with a syncopated uptempo drum pattern. "A Cor Amarela" creates a lighthearted beach atmosphere with hand claps and a funky guitar riff, where Veloso sings about how a dark-skinned girl in a yellow bikini is the best thing that could happen to the color. In contrast, the solemn political statement "A Base de Guantánamo" features a daunting and repetitive chant with striking textural clashes that create sonar images of a mechanized prison. --Ilya Skripkinov