Kassin - Relax LPLabel: Luaka Bop
One of the leading producers and instrumentalists in Brazilian music, Alexandre Kassin has produced roughly 100 records for singers, including Marisa Monte and Bebel Gilberto, recorded with Sean O'Hagan (Stereolab, High Llamas) and made a full album based on Nintendo GameBoy sounds. He has played bass for Caetano Veloso’s live shows and conceptualized the Orchestra Imperial band. His new album, Relax, is rooted in dreams and surrealism, yet grounded enough to reach listeners where they are. Across 11 tracks, Kassin flirts with Latin rhythms, Brazilian pop, and straight-ahead soul, using this varied stylistic array to tell imagined tales of death, drug usage, politics and fate. There's a dichotomy to Relax, with Kassin's arrangements often feeling bright and danceable, yet with incredibly sullen themes. It's a record that speaks directly to the yin and yang of everyday life, and the uncertainty that comes with simply existing.