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Airto Moreira: Homeless

Fans of loud, bold percussive layering will enjoy Airto Moreira’s striking Homeless (M.E.L.T. 2000 BW2140; 50:31), which forwards the idea of the universality of tribal dance music through a series of mostly abstract percussive statements. Using his everything-including-the-kitchen-sink technique for culling unusual percussive sounds, Moreira portrays street scenes like the album’s title track “Homeless (Around the Fire)” through thundering big-can stomps, rubberband sounds, claps, whoops and assorted other effects. From the brash, frenzied whistles-and-pans rage of “Samba 4 Sale,” to the beat-box marketplace feel of funky bass, humming keyboard and metallic swirl on “Street Vendors,” Moreira’s work is consistently striking. However, this percussive ambience, braced by modern programming effects, can also be numbingly looplike in their repetition (album opener “Vira Poeira” is one example) and somewhat tedious. The album’s most interesting tunes boast unique atmospheres-the eerie “700 Years,” featuring Bjorklike vocals from “dB, a.k.a. Decibel,” and the spacey-programmed “Wake Up Now” with its wild carnival guitar. Be warned: Don’t listen if you have a headache.

Originally Published