The riotous party music played by international ensemble Fumaça Preta (pronounced "Foomassa Pretta" and meaning "Black Smoke") combines deep, fuzzy psychedelic funk inspired by everything from Brazilian macumba, batacuda, and latter-day tropicalia to James Brown, analog electronica, Turkish psychedelia, garage rock, and post-punk. Through his many travels, Portuguese-Venezuelan producer and drummer Alex Figueira -- founder of Amsterdam's Music with Soul Records -- made the acquaintance of Stuart Carter (guitars, Moog, organ) and bassist James Porch, both of the U.K. garage funk unit the Grits, after catching a gig, and later, met São Paulo native-cum-American citizen Joel Stones (owner of the iconic Tropicalia in Furs record store and barter shop), who became lead vocalist.
After much excited conversation, the quartet came together in Figueira's Barracão Studio. Initiated strictly as a studio project, and with little rehearsal, they cut an unhinged, tripped-out cover of the Sonics' "The Witch" and an equally woolly original entitled "Loco," which they decided to release as a single. Given its particularly aggressive and adventurous meld of all the aforementioned genres, DJs all over Europe took notice and played it in clubs, and free-form, Internet, and even state-owned radio stations got in on the act, especially in Paris. Fumaça Preta followed it in 2012 with an equally loopy second single, "Vou Me Libertar" b/w "Eu Era um Cão," which made European, Brazilian, and South American club DJs all compete with one another to see who could spin it not only first, but most, and punters took notice as well, snapping up copies from Music with Soul's website as fast as they could be pressed. After playing some live shows, the band had gelled into a crack unit and played in Amsterdam before booking a European tour for early 2014. (Stones doesn't always tour with the band. When he doesn't, Figueira takes over the vocals from behind the drum kit.) Miles Cleret, itinerant globetrotter and fanatic record collector as well as Soundway Records' boss, had been impressed by the previous two singles and got in touch and signed the band. Fumaça Preta cut their self-titled full-length debut at Barracão Studio in the spring of 2014 with a host of guests; Soundway released it in September. Celebrated by critics internationally, the band toured Europe almost incessantly. In 2015, Fumaça Preta conceived a new recording that sought to expand their sound through experimentation yet maintain their aesthetic. On tour they recorded in a variety of locations and utilized an array of unusual "instruments" to that end, including discarded metal work, steel drums, and field recordings. The end result, Impuros Fanáticos, was issued by Soundway in April of 2016. ~ Thom Jurek