Japan is one of the last places I would have expected to find a band thoroughly inspired by the Brazilian stylings of bossa nova. In the often frenetic Japanese music world, Cuva Cuva slows down with many stripped down simple numbers, some sprinkled with a few electronic and techno beats and some sprayed with the kind of sensuality only found in women’s body wash commercials.
Inspired by samba, bossa nova has become a signature sound that can best be heard in smooth jazz circles. The opening track “Silly Walk on the Cherry Moon” offers a glimpse into the album’s overall story. The song’s first half is bare, filled with the lead singer’s voice, accompanied with a light guitar, and backed by a raw never-changing percussion beat. The vocals later change into rapid wooden taps with the same earlier guitar melodies and percussion beat, which represents spontaneity and not the usual careful musical design most would expect.
This naturalistic, sometimes bordering on the animalistic, theme lingers throughout Stars And Wave. The title track “Stars And Wave” takes this idea a step further with the sounds of animals and insects in the background, and “Greatest World” builds on it further with the sounds of water and children playing. It isn’t until “Beautiful But Stupid” where this nakedness is interspersed with the artificial (in the form of a noticeable external beat). It sounds as if the lead singer increases her vocals to fend off the intrusion.
The intrusion seems to be the “tecnobossa” parts of the album. While I earlier believed that Japan was one of the last places I thought to find musicians inspired by bossa nova, I apparently didn’t know that Asia has been experimenting in mixing it with their world renown techno sensibilities. Cuva Cuva’s “Mr. S Cooper” perfectly fuses the two genres into a laid-back, but still danceable track.
Unfortunately the techno-ness is more subtle throughout the rest of the album, but it’s interesting to hear such an unusual musical blend of two genres on seemingly opposite sides of the melodic spectrum.
To sample or to buy any of Cuva Cuva’s music, head over to Japanfiles.com. Please note, no biographical info could be found on the band.