40% Foda/Maneirissimo

40% Foda/Maneirissimo is a low-key House / Techno label from Rio de Janeiro, known for CD-R releases that push conventions, span genres, and emphasize experimentation and is the home of the now less active improv duo Epicentro do Bloquinho.

Recently, thanks to the dude-ishness of Lobster Distribution, they have fulfilled a long ambition and have a new EP out on vinyl: Akira S with Honda San.

The release notes say that these tracks are influenced by pop culture at the time and I think that’s very true. The sound of 80’s computer animated video games and punky funk basslines is melded with Japanese influences in the melodies. Close your eyes and you’re in a sassy neon cop drama with reflective aviators and convertibles, but with real depth and tension added in, fleshed out characters and their actions embodied in the arrangement of varied tunes and changing emotions.

Start off cool and groovy with ‘Honda-San, like the opening credits with freeze-frames of our protagonists. The plot thickens with ‘Miami Vice‘, a contrast between the tense mystery of bells with crass kicking-down-doors bassline and drums. Initial bad-assery and some quick collars and cool one-liners in ‘Sagrada Familia. Our cop heroes stumble upon a conspiracy, in above their heads facing danger in ‘Congonhas. Drama, action, and awesome power vocals (no idea what they mean though), a chase scene and a shoot-out in ‘89-XYZ89, and finally the album ends with mysterious depth again, the heroes questioning whether they really solved the case?? Maybe this is a really stretched metaphor and I’ve been watching too much Lethal Weapon. I wasn’t even alive in the 80s. Look, the whole thing sounds like a great listen, an EP with a real story to tell.

The apparent cohesion of the tracks is surprising considering they were all written over a 5 year span from 87 to 92. 40% describes the release as a showcase of tracks, unearthed cassette tapes remastered onto vinyl. It’s hard to know then whether the apparent , and its a bit tricky to find out from the artist as “Akira S is a pretty crazy dude, it’s really hard to get in touch with him”.

My personal favourite 40% Foda/Manerissimo release is Zopelar’sTransbordo Tropical. I think its a masterpiece of cosmic spacey electronic music which evidences the emotive potential of synthesisers and drum machines in synthetic poetry. The label heads agree with me I think, calling him a hard-working and bizarrely skilled pianist whose release is “so so fucking amazing”.

The EP spans dreamy pop-tasting house, and techno, the tracks using broad sound-scapes, thick sustained chords and sharp percussion to mellow out in ‘Transbordo Tropical’ or to pump well up in ‘Obsoleutron‘. Add some funky basslines in ‘Estrela Distante and some peppy little delay tricks on the snares and you have yourself a groovy little track that sounds like baby-making music from an alien dimension. Zopelar rounds the EP off with a dancefloor journey, which instantly takes me back to amazing times in dark half-empty clubs well into the AM hours, when hectic, rage, kick drums and bangers have been replaced with pristine lucidity and transcendence.

Apparently there is a vinyl re-release of the EP coming soon from a different label. For now, grab digital copies of the release from 40%’s bandcamp here:  http://40porcentofodabarramaneirissimo.bandcamp.com/album/transbordo-tropical

I sent a few messages to the 40% facebook page and got some great answers from Japa Habilidoso, copy-pasted here for your unedited appraisal.

asifthumb: Are you excited to be breaking into vinyl? Is it something that you had always hoped or planned for your labels music? How was your experience with the organisation of the release? There is a large increase in vinyl pressings lately, did that affect your decision or your release experience?

fodathumb: Actually, our first idea was to be a vinyl-only label, but that would be impossible because we didn’t know anybody outside Brazil who could help us and Brazil don’t have a dj/”cratedigger” culture as Europe, so it would be totally nonsense to do that. We started releasing stuff in CD-R with the label-stamped so we could get just at least the same vibe but after awhile it also became a little bit stupid because brazilian people didn’t actually bought our CD-R’s haha, they would just ask for the mp3. So it took a lot of time not to press the vinyl but to find a nice distribution deal, we already decided that we would release Akira S in july 2014, but all the distributors that we chatted wanted a 6-release plan or something that, and because we didnt have a lot of money (ps: it costs a lot more for us because our currency is not strong as the euro or dollar) and we didnt want to rush releases (which normally results in bad records) we kind of gave up by early 2015, we were getting pretty ok with the idea that this would never happened but suddenly – i think it was August 2015 – i sent a message out of the blue to Jimmy Asquith from Lobster Theremin asking about how Lobster Distribution worked and what he thought about the Akira S release – and the response was the best thing that we could ever imagine – he really liked the stuff and their deal was amazing. It’s a nice opportunity for us to reach people who are maybe as enthusiastic as us about this kind of music

asifthumbYou are very much based in Rio de Janeiro it seems, but have a large international reach and following. Especially now with your record being stocked in Europe, is there a difference between the international appraisal of your label and the hometown vibes?
fodathumb: It always hard to say about our following because if we throw a party here in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo that would have probably 20 people (serious shit) and most of them wouldnt dance, they would just get with the arms folded and asking about equipment (REALLY lame – for those who are reading, please, never do that to us) hahaha. We don’t have a clue about our reputation in other countries because it’s very hard for us to keep track about this kind of stuff (maybe now that we released stuff out there we can know better), which is a nice thing, having expectations nowadays it’s always a synonym of a terrible headache. To be pretty honest, the label became a excuse for me and Lucas to release crazy stuff that we liked, because we always known that it would be pretty tough for other people to put our records on the dancefloor (the brazilian DJs tends to only spins the gringos’ tracks) so we never got really compromised with doing “club-friendly” tracks and being more low-key than other labels, we both play in other bands and know a lot of people from the “music scene” so it kinds of very nightmarish to see people getting anxious when they desire a lot to be heard (I wont lie – sometimes i get myself that way), so yeah – we only release stuff in vinyl because we really think it deserves it.
fodathumb: oh yeah shout out to people from Lobster Distribution for giving us a chance, personally from me to the Future Times dudes (i’ll be releasing a full album for them sometime this year idk) and for everybody who enjoy our stuff – things are always getting clearer and better”
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Last May saw a vinyl release on Future Times by Japa Habilidoso aka Guerrhina which was experimental and punkish to the limit, strongly resisting the template formats of electronic music as much of 40%’s work does. Here’s looking forward to the upcoming album, and hoping for much more from this inspirational label.

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