Curumin: Textured tropicalia

Curumin's unique take on Brazilian electronica resonates.

Curumin's track "Caixa Preta" came out on his record JapanPopShow in 2008 and a New York friend sent it to me while I was living in Argentina. Curumin is from Brazil but no one had heard of him next door in Buenos Aires. It became a favorite when I played it at the house parties I hosted that year and I've been wanting more since. Back in New York City, we will get a taste of his new release, Arrocha, dropping this week, with a live show June 10 at Highline Ballroom.


Luciano Nakata Albuquerque adopted the name Curumin to make tropicalia and funk in line with his Brazilian upbringing. Raised in Sao Paulo by Japanese and Spanish parents, Curumin was playing in California on tour in 2005 when he connected with Blackalicious who decided to distribute the artist's debut in the U.S. CMJ and Summerstage would follow, introducing Curumin's funky, danceable electro blend to stateside fans. His unique take on Brazilian electronica resonates.


"I created different atmospheres and textures from doing a lot of research with all of the albums I have here in my house," he says. He creates the kind of sexy, intelligent songs that are in short supply.


Like Prefuse 73 or DJ Spooky, songs are a balance of bouncing beat and plush melody. But Curumin weaves a story through the soundscape, singing of dreams, connection, and love. Curumin brings the stylish love songs just in time for summer, like a male Nouveau Vague, minus the covers. I don't speak a lick of Portuguese but the songs feel past their language barrier. A gorgeous album, Arrocha doesn't try hard, it just floats through your head and brightens your mood.


"I'm always trying to be minimal in my music and life, just putting in what's essential and not too much information," Curumin explains, favoring his Japanese side. Excellent music sweats from Brazil's pores but Curumin has a sensibility all his own, it's one that honors the tropical with the design style of sonic origami.

Curumin plays Highline Ballroom Sunday, June 10 with Ceu.

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