Beto Villares / self-titled
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2009, Volume 16, #4
Written by Douglas Heselgrave
Thu April 2, 2009, 02:30 AM CDT
Beto Villaresí self-titled debut is the kind of album that can jump-start a career. Until recently, Villares has been content to remain outside the limelight, where his emphasis primarily has been on composing film soundtracks and directing documentaries about his countryís musical heritage. Over the years, however, Villares also has developed an instantly recognizable style of recording that is every bit as unique as those of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Like them, Villares has left his mark on many influential outings by dozens of prominent artists, including CeUís Grammy-nominated, eponymous effort.
Listening to Villaresí album is a delightful experience, and one only wishes that he hadnít waited so long to release music under his own name. Echoes of Gilberto Gilís and Antonio Carlos Jobimís esteemed canons drift through some of his songs, as Villaresí gorgeous acoustic guitar takes listeners through some beautiful bossa-nova territory. In addition, his acclaimed work for other artists has allowed him to call upon his collaborators for favors. As a result, his new endeavor features a veritable all-star cast of Brazilian musicians. CeU, for example, adds her heavenly vocals on two of the discís best tracks, and in effect, Villares has created a brief overview of Brazilian musical styles. The tunes on the outing range from simple acoustic selections like Incerteza and Festa Na Roca to upbeat dance numbers such as Excelentes Lugares Bonitos and Africa La. The latter two tracks pay tribute to the contribution that African immigrants have made to his countryís musical culture.
Perhaps the most impressive things about Villaresí self-titled set are how he expresses his musical ideas and how he executes them skillfully without giving in to the temptations of excess or dilettantism. Throughout the outing, he never sounds as if he is stretching his work beyond his abilities, nor does it ever seem as if he has employed a musical style or recorded a solo simply to showcase his talent. Each of the 15 cuts on Villaresí effort is a gem that stands on its own very nicely. The melodies are beautiful and catchy, and the instrumental and vocal performances are superb. Likewise, his songs are adorned with well-suited horn and percussion arrangements, while the piano accompaniment by Pepe Cisneros on Santo Negro ó another highlight ó is simply out of this world.
There is nothing heavy-handed about any of the performances on Villaresí eponymous debut. Even when he applies electronic effects, such as beats and scratching, to his material, the impressions that he creates are subtly appropriate, and ultimately, these flourishes improve his songs. In short, the album is both beautiful and flawless.
Of Further Interest...
Beto Villares is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2009 The Music Box