Seu Jorge is not only one of Brazil’s most recognizable and celebrated voices, but thanks to memorable roles in films like Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic and Fernando Meirelles’ City Of God, the man has found a way to add another dimension to his musical palette. It was a filmic connection— soundtrack work for Walter Salles’ Linha de Passe—that brought Jorge together with drummer Puppilo, guitarist Lucio Maia, and bass player Antonio Pinto to form Almaz, and Jorge’s movie experience played a pivotal role in the way he approached the songwriting for this album.
“I got the opportunity to make music and sing songs like an actor, not like a singer,” Jorge explains. “Certain songs have a lot of emotion in the lyrics, and sometimes singers are just thinking [about] music. The actor thinks of the music like cinema or an image.”
Tracked in a spirited 12-day session at Ambulante Estúdio in São Paulo, the album was recorded by Missionário José and mixed by longtime Beastie Boys producer Mario Caldato Jr. The goal for Jorge: disregard convention and let “common sense” be the bandleader. This meant very little pre-production and overdubs, and a slight departure from the Brazilian-centric instrumentation of past albums like Cru and Carolina. Less than 16 channels of audio were used, and drums were done with a simple four-mic setup in a relatively dead room. What groovy, haunting vibe Maia and Pinto didn’t create using their own secret blend of FX and delays was added in by Caldato during the mixing process via loads of TL Space Reverb and a Stereo Width setting of 100% on his Neve 8816 Summing Mixer.
“I really wanted the separation to be a part of the sound,” says Caldato, who added all EQ, compression, and effects in Pro Tools. “It helped with the depth and sonic vibe that I liked and miss from new records.”
Known the world over for his timeless samba, Jorge admits that Seu Jorge and Almaz is more psychedelic and rock-influenced than any of his previous works, but he’s confident that the album will find its natural appeal. In addition to a handful of Brazilian standards, the album includes covers of Roy Ayers (“Everybody Loves The Sunshine”), Cane & Able (“Girl You Move Me”), Kraftwerk (“The Model”), and Michael Jackson (“Rock With You”).
“This album represents something fresh and new,” says Jorge. “It’s very different from Brazilian music right now. The instrumentation is more universal. Everybody will understand it. I don’t want to make music that’s just good for Brazil. I want to make music that’s good for China, France, Germany, and the U.S. This is a new point of view from a Brazilian musician.”