Gal Costa “1969”

Gal 69

This is an insane album that is more experimental than the Beatles’ psychedelic work while each song still retains a catchy pop flavor. This self-titled album was Gal Costa’s second effort and is commonly referred to as Cinema Olympia or 1969.

“Cinema Olympia” is also the first song on this album and it’s a catchy rocker that opens the program up with heavily distorted guitars reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. In fact, many of the songs off 69 have blazing fuzz guitars that bludgeon and assault the listener’s ears. Only “Pas Tropical” has that typical folk bossa nova sound that is so often associated with the Tropicalia movement. And even this track is really good and is somewhat of a Tropicalia standard, notable for its pretty vocals and mellow atmosphere. The second song on side A, “Taureg,” is an outstanding track with eastern tones, exotic instruments and heavy vocal echo.

Each song on this album is completely unpredictable, always trying a new vocal style or production trick. Costa expands on the studio freedoms granted to fellow Brazilian music pioneers Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Milton Nascrimento. None of the above artists ever made anything this far out though, just listen to the cat screams that end “Meu Nome E Gal” or the funky, sexually charged psychedelia of “Empty Boat” (the one song on the album with English lyrics).

The Velvet Underground’s first album gave us an experimental work that was stoic and full of wisdom but Gal Costa’s 69 is junky, trashy, and sleazy but still somehow full of depth and meaning. Costa’s vocals are wonderfully out of synch with conventional pop and this disc is more whacked out than the U.S. and U.K.’s best groups. The five albums that succeed this lp are also very good and worth investigation. Gal Costa/1969 frequently goes in and out of print but readers are urged to search for a copy on ebay.

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“The Empty Boat”

:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Dusty Groove | order @ Dusty Groove ]
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  • Bernard

    THANKS for the heads up!

  • No more comments for this incredible record? It is worth mentioning that this was her 2nd LP of 1969, the other being called also just “Gal Costa” , which confueses things a bit (cover has her photo). That one is also an excellent record, heavy on Caetano covers, “Baby” being a favorite with typical playful Tropicalia surrealistic lyrics. It is not as fuzz/psych heavy but I actually prefer it. Although not as experimental the songwriting is top notch…

  • stu

    It is possible to describe something lovingly without denigrating the work of other artists.

  • Elliot

    Awesome, glad I’m not the only one who noticed a Hendrix influence! Just wrote about this one too.

  • Is that the original LP cover? I’ve been trying to find that but I’ve only found this album with a Gal’s face close up on the cover.


  • Brendan

    The other 1969 release titled “Gal Costa” (with her face on the cover) is a different album. This one is just “Gal”.

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