Gilberto Gil (In a Psychedelic Mood)
Listen – Gilberto Gil – Oma Lao – MP3
The tune I bring you today is the flipside of the same 45 featured over at Funky16Corners.
I’ve beena big an of Tropicalia for a long time, and the music that Gilberto Gil recorded between 1967 and 1972 is one of the major cornerstones of that movement.
It’s rare that I get a 45 with one side that I’d consider Funky16Corners-worthy that also has an Iron Leg-gy flip, but when I finally scored a copy of the Gilberto Gil 45 that haunted my want list for so long, it fit the (double) bill.
The Iron Leg side of the 45 is the song I bring you today, ‘Oma Lao’*. Recorded during the sessions for Gil’s 1968, self-titled LP (like Peter Gabriel years later, Gil had a string of LPs that bore only his name), ‘Oma Lao’ is every bit as psychedelic and experimental as it’s a-side ‘Aquele Abraco’ is straightforward and joyous. The 1968 LP (also known as ‘Cerebro Eletronico’) is one of the most innovative and far out LPs of the Tropicalia years with all manner of trippy tape manipulations, experiments with musique concrete set side by side with pure pop.
‘Oma Lao’ has a recurring, echoed guitar riff and bass line, seasoned with minimal, improvised percussion, with Gil repeating the title over and over again. There are what sound like tape splices with bits of Hendrix-esque guitar. I have no idea what he’s singing about, but he is clearly speaking the international language of psychedelia. Whether the tune is about a ham sandwich, or more likely nothing at all, it’s still inescapably lysergic.
If you dig what you hear, make sure you grab Gilberto Gil’s first three LPs as well as material from the same era by Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa and others, and head over to Funky16Corners to check out the fantastic flipside of this 45 (one of my favorite songs).
*The 45, which I believe is a Chilean issue spells both songs differently than their listings on the ‘Gilberto Gil’ CD reissue, so I decided to defer to the LP spelling, thus the different title in the label scan above.