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Com Defeito de Fabricação / Fabrication Defect

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Album Review

A concept album by Brazilian experimentalist Tom Zé, 1998's Com Defecto de Fabricacao (Fabrication Defect) is strikingly akin to some early Funkadelic albums philosophically, although not at all musically. (The bold, cartoony graphics are more than a little like Funkadelic's early sleeves as well, come to think of it.) The album's overall theme is that creativity, art, love, and music are "defects" that those in charge (in Zé's case, the often-oppressive Brazilian government) would love to suppress, an idea that's not all that far removed from Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow. Lyrically, Zé makes his points both directly and through sly, witty metaphors like "Defect 6: Esteticar," a cockeyed defense of plagiarism as an artistic tool puckishly set to the most blandly commercial example of '60s vintage bossa nova imaginable. Musically, the album is a fragmented blend of skittish acoustic guitars, booming electronic rhythms, shouted slogans, bizarre found-sound tape loops, and near-psychedelic production tricks, resulting in songs as varied as the almost tribal vocal and hand-percussion grooves of "Defect 4: Emere" and the percolating closer, "Defect 14: Xiquexique." Those who discovered Tom Zé through his earlier U.S. compilation releases may find this album a more satisfying and solid listen.


Born: 1936 in Bahia, Brazil

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tom Zé began his career together with Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Maria Bethânia. As a composer, he influenced Caetano and many others and delivered an expressive body of work through his own discography. A restless thinker, he was adept at modern erudite music experimentations, yet he was always ignored by both industry and audiences until he was discovered by David Byrne. He can be better understood through his self-coined definition: "I don't make art, I make spoken and sung journalism."...
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Com Defeito de Fabricação / Fabrication Defect, Tom Zé
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