For the first proper edition of Brazil Connection, I bring you an artist I have been listening to a lot lately: Bonifrate.
Bonifrate is one of the many bands of one Pedro Bonifrate. I already knew and liked Supercordas, arguably one of the most successful bands of the current Brazilian indie scene. Pedro sings and plays guitar in Supercordas (who are about to release a new album, I hear). This past January I attended one of their shows while visiting São Paulo, and my friends told me that the following week his solo project would be playing at a different place.
I attended that show as well, and it ended up being a very memorable night for me. Not only because of the show, but it definitely set the tone for the rest of the night. It happened at a small club, where the audience can get really close to the band, my favourite kind of venue. The band was sharp and exciting, delivering beautiful, mainly psychedelic songs filled with many other influences. I was already into the show, but got really hooked when they played a song called “Eu Não Vejo Teenage Fanclub Nos Teus Olhos" (I Don’t See Teenage Fanclub In Your Eyes). Not only it’s a great song, but I’m a sucker for references to my favourite things like that. And on that note, they sealed the deal at the end of the set by playing a staggering version of Spiritualized’s “Home of the Brave”. A fairly overlooked song from one of my top five favourite bands. I had become a Bonifrate fan, so I went home and listened to all his stuff.
Bonifrate’s solo project bears similarities to Supercordas, as one would expect, but it’s more idiosyncratic. That is most likely because Pedro Bonifrate records all the music himself at home, making the music a full expression of his sensibilities. He does all the writing, playing, recording, mixing and producing, and it’s a remarkable job at all of those things. The sonorities he manages to imprint on his music are at once evocative of his influences and very much his own.
The Spiritualized influence is perceptible in most of Bonifrate’s music, as well as some other key bands, such as early Pink Floyd (although more grounded). As it has been pointed out, Bonifrate’s music owes almost as much to folk as to psychedelic bands, and that contrast is part of what makes the music so interesting. There’s also some reggae influences, especially in the latest recordings, though I’m no expert in the genre.
Out of all of his releases, I have spent the most time with the 2013 album, Museu de Arte Moderna. I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting to know Bonifrate’s music better. There’s a particularly killer sequence in that album, starting with the title track, which leads into a beautiful instrumental track, “Guaianá Mainline” (very reminiscent of Spiritualized’s Eletric Mainline, mixed with Brazilian influences), and culminating into “Paralaxe", my favourite track on the record. It’s the high point of a throughly impressive effort. Other highlights to me were “Sabe da Última" and the aforementioned “Eu Não Vejo…”, which I’m embedding below for your listening pleasure.
Balaclava Records, whom we talked about last week, put out Bonifrate’s two latest releases: Museu de Arte Moderna, on vinyl, and last year’s EP Toca Do Cosmos, on cassette tape. The physical releases can be purchased on Balaclava’s website, or you can download all of Bonifrate’s records directly from his website, for free. His Balaclava releases and some of Supercordas’ work can also be heard on Spotify.
"Eu Não Vejo Teenage Fanclub Nos Teus Olhos"