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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Motta, Ed - 2013 AOR
Motta, Ed - 2013 AOR

ARTIST: Motta, Ed
LABEL: Dwitza Music
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Ed Motta - vocals, piano * Chico Pinheiro, Torcuato Mariano, Vinicius Rosa, Paulinho - guitar * Robinho Tavares - bass * Sergio Melo - drums * Chico Amaral, Aldivas Ayres, Jess‚ Sadoc, Marcelo Martins - horns * Jota Moraes - glockenspiel * Glauton Campello - acoustic piano, wurlitzer

TRACK LISTING: 01 Playthings Of Luv * 02 Simple Guy * 03 Lost In The Night * 04 Dondi * 05 Smile * 06 1978 (Leave The Radio On) * 07 Dried Flowers * 08 AOR * 09 Farmer's Wife *



My initial thoughts after discovering this album was that I was being set up for failure. After all with a title like 'AOR' it could either be a classic representation of the genre or some stale Scandinavian type AOR that's so prevalent these days. Fortunately this falls into the former, with native Brazilian Motta using everything at his disposal to recreate 1980 and the West Coast era, from the music to the album cover itself. Motta has been in the music scene since the late 80's, when as a teenager he found success as part of a band called Conexao Japeri. Since 1990 he's recorded more than a dozen albums, although from what I've read these fall mainly into jazz circles. Obviously Motta has AOR in his veins, as this album is equally as pure as the recent State Cows album, with the famous West Coast sound replicated to perfection.

The Songs
The amount of reference points Motta could be compared with are so numerous they would consume this whole review if listed. The opening bars of 'Playthings Of Luv' recall Joey Scarbury's famous 'Believe It Or Not' hit from 1981, but once it finds its groove it settles nicely into a Steely Dan influenced track. This is as pure as West Coast gets, with Motta realizing his throwback ambitions immediately. 'Simple Guy' again finds Steely Dan traces, but with dashes of Earth, Wind And Fire and Bozz Scaggs, marvelously laid back and strewn with horn work and Larry Carlton style guitar work. 'Lost In The Dark' is not dissimilar, this time the sax mixing with some late 70's Doobie Bros keyboard work. If this sounds ideal then you'd be correct, with the Jay Graydon influenced guitar solo putting on the finishing touches. The strangely titled 'Dondi' is another jazzy melodic workout, this time with some funky bass work being applied, giving it a slight Toto touch, but never quite as hard edged. Horns again play a big part, this time on the funk laced 'Smile' with an accompanying keyboard solo for good measure. Motta's agenda is spelled out on the blatantly titled '1978 (Leave The Radio On)' which follows State Cows '1981' from their recent album. This one doesn't have the strong melody of the other songs, instead appearing as a bridge too far in emulating his heroes. The crisp drum sound of 'Dead Flowers' almost overpowers everything else, ruining the genuine sound Motta tries so hard to convey. The 20 second title track is a paean to the genre, with a deliberate hook that encapsulates everything about AOR in one verse. It should have been longer instead of being used as a radio jingle gimmick. The short album concludes with the noticeably harder edged 'Farmers Wife' and the horn work which this time has shades of Chicago. This one reminds me of the one off DFK album from 1980 and scores points with the synth solo and dramatic passages aplenty.

In Summary
While I think the State Cows album has an overall edge in terms of consistency, this is not an album to be overlooked. West Coast this pure should never be taken for granted and it never once feels forced or by the numbers. Motta also recorded a Brazilian version of the album and has been receiving considerable plaudits for both. If he pursues this direction it would be nice to hear some hard rock thrown in the mix, as the gentle, cruising element of the music becomes slightly repetitive near the end. That really is a minor aside however and for those who are attracted to West Coast, then 'AOR' is indeed a must hear.

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