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Karnak: Karnak

Too much of the world beat phenomenon has been about capitalizing eclecticism as a means of exoticizing the dance floor imperative. But fusion in music and culture at large is still a noble process, responsible for every great creative development. For a quirky outfit like the Brazilian band Karnak, the process of mashing together multiple influences entails the pursuit of intellectual reach, a sense of theater, and just the sheer glee of it. Their wild debut (Tinder 42850842; 46:58) is a tight ensemble adventure that combines humor and musical integrity in a progressive stew of ideas: it’s your basic rock, reggae, Indo-Celtic, Afro-Spanish paste-up job, but with the Brazilian ethos as the anchor. Along the way, we’re reminded of stateside role models like Frank Zappa, Queen, and Oingo Boingo, and, more regionally, traces of the eclectic ideology of Brazil’s important Tropicalismo movement of the ’60s. They’re out to have fun, but with brain attached.

Originally Published