By John-Paul Shiver
What the hell is happening here?
From the Star Wars font rolling the track name at the top to a floating headshot of Brazilian artist Lincoln Olivetti taking a trip past the nebula, this VHS video aesthetic comes in vivid. A frizzy-haired, sunglass wearing, tennis shoe clad gent rolls out some stiff Jane Fonda workout moves for a surrealistic visual romp through the AOR jam “Relax.” The tune draws a straight line towards “Can You Feel It,” The Jacksons enduring pop culture music video from the early ’80’s.
Brazilian artist Kassin aims attacking horn charts and fuzzy plinky keyboard runs at this melodious disco supernova to push to the number towards extraterrestrial jounce. The seriousness of the arrangement can get a bit lost when you’re staring down unicorns, pyramids, and dolphins, though—but the grand effect is sheer, if befuddled, awesomeness.
“Kassin is a crate-digging, bass-playing, musical fanatic who came up in the Rio de Janeiro studio scene in the nineties alongside the likes of Marisa Monte and Ed Motta,”according to published author and chief contributor at Wax Poetics, Allen Thayer.
With Relax, the upcoming 11-track release by the master producer of over 100 records, Kassin talks about personal heartbreak and other heavy themes over different styles that include AOR, boogie and lush cinematic soundscapes.
Estricnina, the avant-garde samba with bleak text and sideways organ funk highlights to the overall formula here. Unfortunate consequences can eventually lead to eccentric, remarkable sonic moments.
That knock. Relax, the forthcoming album from Kassin comes out May 11 on Luaka Bop.