With Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Tom Z and Gal Costa, Os Mutantes were part of the Tropiclia movement, an avant-garde, vaguely leftist group of musicians who sought to revolutionize Brazilian pop culture with the use of electric instruments, subversive humor, far-out stage personas and surreal arrangements. They pissed off just about everybody, from uptight leftist folkies (think of the guy who screamed "Judas!" during Bob Dylans electric tour in 1966) to the draconian military dictatorship, which effectively killed the movement shortly after its inception by arresting Gil and Velosa and forcing them into exile. Even under censorship, however, Os Mutantes continued to record, releasing a handful of albums (the first three, reissued on the Omplatten label, are highly recommended) before they broke up for good in 1978. Live, they dressed up like Sancho Panza, a pregnant bride and space aliens. They wrote songs with outrageous titles such as "Ave Lcifer" ("Hail Lucifer"). They created their own instruments, from the backwards wah-wah pedal on "Dia 36" to the can of bug spray used in place of a high hat on "Le Premier Bonheur du Jour." What more could anyone want from a band? Theyll blow your mind, theyll crack you up, theyll steal your heart, and theyll make you believe that everything is possible.
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