We could talk all we wanted about Luciano Nakata Albuquerque (a.k.a. Curumin) representing globalization. The Brazilian native is of Spanish and Japanese descent, and his music is ’70s samba a la Jorge Ben merging with down-tempo beats all thrown together for this, the domestic release of his debut on the hip-hop label Quannum Projects. But the music is nothing if not a representation of Curumin’s homeland, a thoroughly enjoyable record that is Brazilian to the core.
The music on Achados e Perdidos is hardly uniform, but it never strays far enough to damage its cohesiveness. The off-kilter fuzzy-guitar funk of opener “Guerreiro” transforms nicely into the Hammond-moaning slither of “Samba Japa,” and though the record never quite reaches the highs of this one-two punch again, the rest of the record spreads out nicely and settles into some solid MPB (musica popular Brasileira). Curumin’s voice has enough life experience in it to carry him through more difficult passages, and even the lone track in English, his Stevie Wonder cover “You Haven’t Done Nothing,” redeems itself through sheer force.
The album’s second half seems more in line with the Quannum label, with a few instrumental sections that feel like fringe hip-hop and a final track that almost edges into broken-beat territory. But even with these odd detours, Curumin displays the kind of confidence that can only come with debuts. It’s the successes, the funky “Cade O Mocoto?” and the sexy “Solidao Gasolina,” that carry the odder pieces through, but the album as a whole is a good enough reason to start paying attention to more from Brazil than baile funk. Quannum has done a great service in making this record available to America, in particular to the label’s fans. Anyone who loves Brazilian music will find something to like here, but Blackalicious and Lyrics Born fans shouldn’t hesitate to branch out with Achados e Perdidos.