This 1968 collaboration featuring Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Nara Leão, Os Mutantes and Gal Costa has been described as the manifesto of Tropicalismo, a Brazilian art movement encompassing theatre, poetry and music. Perhaps that explains why it sounds rather less like the Lilt-advert samba rhythms of Beck's tribute single "Tropicalia" than a weird kind of Spanish-language mutation of The Bonzo Dog Band and "White Album"-era Beatles. Littered with sound effects and tape trickery, with a church organ here and a string section there, bicycle bells and cannons cropping up between and within songs, it's compelling listening despite the language barrier. There's some primitive sampling on "Panis Et Circencis" when Strauss' "The Blue Danube" waltz accompanies what sounds like a cutlery-throwing session, "Baby" sways gently in an alien time signature, the supercharged tango of "Três Caravelas" could be a nightclub soundtrack and "Hino Ao Senhor Do Bonfim Da Bahia" is almost a lightly psychedelic national anthem. So, great gobs of culturally significant weirdness then, but with the sleevenotes in Spanish it does feel like the listener has been left to navigate it alone without a map.
Brought back to vinyl by mysterious Russian label Lilith, this reissue sounds pretty wretched, being sibilant, distorted and painfully bright. Still, it fills a need that other companies can't be bothered with, I suppose.