Oi Polloi

Subtropical Sunstroke Psych-Out Part Two (Further BrazAlien Invasions)

Published: Fri May 04 2018

On May the 21st, long-time Oi Polloi affiliate and all-round knowledge-sponge Andy Votel will be supporting Brazilian psyche supremos Os Mutantes at Band on the Wall (just up the road from our Manchester shop).

Should be pretty good.

To whet your appetite for this much needed injection of tropicália, Andy’s conjured up a mix of solid South American gold. Here’s what he has to say about it…

Listen to the mix here, then scroll below to read what Andy had to say about it all…

"Just over 10 years ago I was contacted by Duncan Ballantyne and Joe Davis from the Brazilian label Far Out to join the great and the gramophonophilic, alongside selectors like Gilles Peterson and Kenny Dope, and compile a compact disc (remember those!) of some of my favourite Brazilian records.

Being the underdog in this series I chose to put a slightly different slant on my submissions and focussed on just one specific vintage label in an attempt to reprise my signature mix-tape bumper-packs having recently received some great public slaps-on-the-back for my 70 track Vertigo Records prog-rock mix.

Naturally, I became a Brazilian soap opera fan

So I focussed on a one-stop label called Som Livre (formally known as RGE) who controlled the rights to at least five of my favourite Brazilian bands including Os Brazoes, Novos Baianos, Azymuth, Sidney Miller and the great Os Mutantes. But outside of these big names, the label also harboured a very unique catalog of soundtrack albums for un-googleable films which I eventually learned were domestic Brazilian TV soap operas.

In my own collection I had about 15 of these LPs and after a few days in the laboratory, armed with two turntables and a a bottle of isopropyl alcohol (used as a cleaning solution, not a beverage) I delivered the mega mix, which was well received, and lead to a 5 year healthy relationship working within the label's fabric, as a graphic designer (providing sleeve art for the likes of Joyce and the aforementioned Gilles Peterson and Azymuth).

Like many of these projects, this kind of proposal presented itself as something that resembled a job, but really just turned into another excuse to buy too many records and fall deeper into a well of micro-niche habits, collecting obscure and very specific records.

Naturally, I became a Brazilian soap opera fan, and exactly one year later I had enough material to do a second mix dedicated exclusively to São Paulo based TV thrillers, love stories and hospital dramas all of which included very obscure and unique psychedelic pop soundtracks. It didn't take long for these records to earn their own stripes as part of my DJ sets along other lesser known Brazilian records by the enigmatic PITI or Rio de Janeiro foremost and first funky cross dresser Edy Starr (Not to be confused with the hamster eating Liverpudlian variety performer).

Awkwardly, by 2009 Som Livre suddenly stopped playing ball, or started to operate under new management and my sequel to the mix that I christened "Subtropical Sunstroke Psych-Out" sat on my computer desktop, taking up room, before being transferred to a old hard drive and shoved in a drawer. 

Fast forward a nice round decade. About a month ago I was lucky enough to meet up with our old mates from Mr. Bongo at Utrecht record fair as they host what has become one of the most exciting new additions to the twice-annual collectors market, vinyl symposium and general nerd circus. As some of the friendliest dudes in attendance it was a pleasure to chat about some of these once unknown slabs of wax (complete with their own rip-off colorised Vertigo swirl centre labels) that have been climbing up want-lists in recent years.  

Since then I have agreed to DJ at an Os Mutantes reformation gig (including the original founder Sergio Dias) on Monday 21st May at legendary Manchester venue Band On The Wall, as well being booked at an upcoming Brazilian themed event (organised by some of  the people who do Liverpool Psych Fest) on Saturday June 30th in Liverpool where it will be nice to give all of my Proxy-Tropicalia and Soapbox-Psych LPs an airing.

As is often the case with agreeing to these events (in the advanced information age) I was asked first thing this morning by Liam at Band On The Wall, "Do you have a mix-tape or compilation that would help promote these events?" And, with that question in mind, my head swirled back to 2009 and the aforementioned sequelized Som Livre Sunstroke mix that was never released. 

Naturally, seeing as both Band On The Wall and Oi Polloi share the same 200 meter footprint at the top end of Manchester's Northern Quarter, not to mention the fact that Sam and Steve have always been firm supporters of my general Finders Keepers activities, it has been deemed a unanimous good-idea for everyone to team-up and beam-up these BrazALIEN vinyl visitors via this exclusive internet upload of my "LOST mix-tape" known as Subtropical Sunstroke Psych-Out PART TWO.

Brazilian music always brings out a little bit of sunshine, right?

Such is the nature of these unreleased artefacts this mix-tape never got  mastered or de-noised so I hope that you appreciate the crackle and dodgy levels as part of the charm of "original vinyl" and spurious DJ skills. I hope you get the picture.

One thing I can say in confidence is that all the records used to make this mix are, IMO, fantastic lesser-known time pieces that have certainly stood the test of time, even with an extra ten year wait in cosmic and cryogenic quarantine, and I truly think this kind of music sends out a universal welcome to the outer-national sun gods... 

Brazilian music always brings out a little bit of sunshine right? Maybe Oi Polloi will do some associated T-Shirts if the weather gets better, and even a free mix-tape? It wouldn't be the first time. And, if you like what you hear, come and check out the vinyl-only DJ sets in Manchester and Liverpool in the coming weeks. Until then enjoy the Factor 15 fuzz and spread the word... O alvorecer dos mutantes finalmente chegou!!!!"   

Andy Votel can be heard DJ Brazilian music on Monday 21st May at legendary Manchester venue Band On The Wall with band Os Mutantes. Find out more here.

He'll also be appearing at an as yet unannounced event in Liverpool on Saturday June 30th. Keep your eyes peeled for that one.