Jesse Jarnow

“toc” – tom zé

“Toc” – Tom Zé
from Estudando O Samba (1976)
released by WEA International as twofer with Correio da Estação do Brás (1978) as Serie Dois Momentos, vol. 15 (2000) (buy)

(file expires on February 13th)

Welcome to the working week. Here’s a Monday morning freak-out to clear your head before you get back to sticking it to your local incarnation of the Man. Though Tom Zé is the Brazilian equivalent of David Byrne or Beck, “Toc” — from 1976’s Estudando O Samba — finds him on the more experimental end of his spectrum. Practically a proto-minimalist exercise (the whole song rests on one looping guitar part), nearly every single second is tailor-made for sampling. That is, one could grab just about any chunk and build a song around it, from the lovely rhythmic grid that makes up the first minute to the James Barry-like horn fills that glide in to the torrent of chattering voices and the clangs of typewriters to the whirs of electric drills (samples in 1976?)

I’m still learning my way around the Zé catalogue, but (at the moment) “Toc” seems like a good key to understanding it, containing a representative palette of Zé’s tricks from which to make sense of everything else. The whole track is utterly groovy, too, and — well — Brazilian. He’ll supposedly be touring later this year, behind his new album Estudando O Pagode (which is pretty rad). Hope he does.


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