Tributo: a sample of greatness that was and could have been

Six Degrees Records

As we tire of the same old beats and sounds that are widespread throughout domestic music releases, there has been a noted shift by music aficionados to look elsewhere for that truly fresh sound. Six Degrees is one San Francisco-based label that has been releasing an eclectic taste of music for years, but their best releases are definitely of “world fusion” variety.

The label’s latest release, Suba’s Tributo, is one of the finer examples of this alchemy of styles coming together, and should prove to be as popular with “world” music fans as with hipster club kids and neo-hippie types, as well as just anyone looking to explore what some of the rest of the world sounds (and feels) like.

Suba was a Serbian-born, Brazil-based producer whose tragic death in a studio fire in 2000 left the world with an unfinished body of work that was just beginning to change the way we think about modern Brazilian music. His work on Bebel Gilberto’s acclaimed album Tanto Tempo and his solo album Sao Paulo Confessions gave us only a taste of his sublime sounds. Tributo is a moving collection of remixes, reworks and live tracks dedicated to his artistry that continues to live on.

The album is incredibly eclectic. It has a mostly dance feel, with plenty of house beats, nu-jazz shuffles and electronic experimental work. There really is something here for everyone in the (musical geek) family.

But if you’re just into music with plenty of spirit involved in the process, Tributo offers plenty, with the melancholic but sweet Antonio Carlos Jobim cover “Felicidade” mixed by Buscemi, which rides up and down like the roller coaster of love. The Funky Lowlives apply their signature broken beat production with their rendition, a solid nu-jazz work, while Juryman takes a mellow, downtempo approach, with sparse drums and floating tablas under a gentle cloud of strings.

The singer Cibelle Cavalli was a crucial part of Sao Paulo Confessions, and dedicates two tracks to this collection, with the loungy caf퀌� jazz of “Sereia, Amor d’���gua” and the remix with Modern Quartet of “Tantos Desajos,” a catchy piece of Brazillian modern soul that will stay with you.

Boyz From Brazil, who comprise two-thirds of the experimental Argentine street jazz group Gotan Project, did a completely new dubbed-out version of “Segredo,” which is like lying in a musical hammock, calming and relaxing. The same can be said for “Are You Sleeping?,” an unfinished Suba track completed by BiD and K퀌�tia B, which feels like a futuristic twilight lullaby.

Three short interludes entitled “Futuro Primitivo” consist of live duets between Suba and Jo퀌�o Parahyba, percussionist for the legendary samba soul band Trio Mocot퀌_, with interplays between live and electronically processed percussive sounds. Parahyba also contributes his own tribute to Suba with “Nightly Sins,” a jazzy electronic funk composition.

Zero dB’s reconstruction of “Samba Do Gringo Paulista” is reminiscent of some harder-edged Rainer Tr퀌_by/Peter Kruder Rootdown type grooves, which scored a place on many playlists of the European dance scene, while Bigga Bush of Rockers Hi-Fi also contributes his strong Brazil-electro version. Phil Asher (a.k.a. Restless Soul)’s remix of “Voc퀌� Gosta” is sure to be a hit on organic house dance floors that definitely bears Asher’s noticeable imprint.

“Na Neblina Dos Sonhos” and “Lagoa Pinheiros” are perhaps the closest to the experimental Brazillian fusion sound that Suba was just beginning to discover before his death, with his collaborator Apollo 9 completing both songs and retaining much of Suba’s touch, which will be sorely missed, but still to be enjoyed as his music lives on.