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Wednesday, July 31, 2002

HIGH NOTES

Arto Lindsay


Arto Lindsay's age (49) and bespectacled appearance make him an unlikely sex god, but few musicians fuse carnality and spirituality with such seamless grace. "All my visions crowd down to one bead of sweat," he sings on his new album, "Invoke." Lindsay's voice is soft, knowing, sensuous; attributes that betray his Brazilian upbringing. In his music, bossa nova competes with the kind of avant-rock style that Lindsay and his two '70s-'80s New York groups (DNA, Ambitious Lovers) practically invented, but the standoff never leaves any casualties. The Latin component that's come to dominate his solo music is what makes that sweat delicious, but it's the passion-fueled guitar dissonance that actually produces it. "Forgive me my inexhaustibility," he croons to a lover whose mistreatment he can't get enough of.

News photo

On "Invoke," Lindsay has finally decided to split the difference between these two styles. Rather than goose his bossa nova with guitar freak-outs or vice versa, he mostly banishes them to separate rooms, a decision that makes his original songs less distinctive but no less intriguing. As far as new bossa nova goes, not even Bebel Gilberto has written a song as irresistible as "Ultra Privileged," and as far as "skronk" guitar goes (a style Lindsay supposedly originated), nobody in the American underground has produced anything as challenging yet digestible as "Predigo."

But back to sex: Any explication of Lindsay's recorded product will not properly convey how hot and moist his shows can be. However his CDs shift between the cerebral and the primal, in concert he never fails to get hips a-grindin' and sweat glands a-workin'. Interspersing his own compositions with a liberal helping of tropicalismo classics memorized during his adolescence, he can turn a close club into a steamy samba school in a matter of minutes. Inexhaustible? It's what we pay for.

Arto Lindsay plays Sept. 9 and 10, 7:30 p.m., at Shibuya Club Quattro. Tickets are 6,000 yen. For more information, call Conversation at (03) 5280-9996.


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