Earlier this month, Branko—a founding member of kuduro-blasting Portuguese crew Buraka Som Sistema—released a debut solo album called ATLAS. Its concept was as straightforward as its title: the producer (real name João Barbosa) travelled to Cape Town, New York, São Paulo, Amsterdam, and Lisbon to collaborate with local artists and make an album packed full of the collaborators and sounds he discovered there. The result not only includes features from the likes of New York rapper Mr Muthafuckin eXquire and South African MC Okmalumkoolkat, but a head-spinning blend of genres, from kwaito house to zouk bass. To mark its release, Barbosa has put together the latest in our FADER Mix series: 40 minutes of the most exciting sounds he encountered on his world tour, including nods to Lisbon's DJ Nigga Fox, Durban's Rudeboyz, and Stockholm's Dinamarca. Open a map and hit play below.
Where are you right now? Please describe your surroundings.
BRANKO: I’m in my car with my manager and we’re driving from Lisbon to Porto while listening to the mix I just finished in the studio. It’s a highway called A1 that connects the two biggest cities in the country so naturally there are a lot of cars around, and the landscape is mostly trees and mountains.
Tell us a bit about this mix. What do you imagine people doing while listening to it?
I wanted to capture as much as possible from all the cities I visited while working on ATLAS. I really felt like the cities and everyone I met played a huge part on the music I ended up doing, so I wanted to include as much music I got from everyone and tried to mix it with some of album tracks that had a similar approach. It’s dance music with guests introducing new musical and geographical coordinates, so I hope it inspires people to stop whatever they’re doing, open Google maps and look for all these places and plan their next trip somewhere.
What's your earliest musical memory?
The most memorable one was probably jumping up and down on my living room couch when I was 10 with my sister and my father while dancing to MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This,” and thinking, how is it possible that someone stands still while this song is playing?
What were the most exciting new scenes and sounds you discovered while traveling the world in the making of ATLAS?
In terms of new scenes that surprised me the most, I think the most exciting ones were the new wave of baile funk coming from São Paulo and South African gqom. I already knew about them before I travelled there, but getting everything in context and getting to know the story behind them was super important. In terms of baile funk, the evolution from the basic tamborzão loop (that was used in all the songs eight years ago) really made things a lot more interesting and club-driven, but in a really creative way. Producers like DJ R7 or Caaio Doog are changing the game. Regarding gqom, it’s just amazing to have younger kids reacting to how polished South African house is, and making the most visceral dance music out there right now. DJ Lag or Rudeboyz are great examples of that.
And finally, what's the last book you read that had a big impact on you?
Do Less by Rachel Jonat. A friend of mine recommended it to me during a conversation about why Mark Zuckerberg always wears the same t-shirt. It’s a book about how to have a minimalistic approach to life. As much as I was aware that a lot of it was kinda bullshit, or at least didn’t make any sense in my life, other things were an important eye-opener in terms of how much humans can complicate simple things.
King Doudou - Sal [Enchufada]
MC Brisola - Vai sentando no Fuzil
Omulu - Furdunço [Buuum Trax]
Dinamarca x Kid Antoine - Sext
Branko - Louca (feat. MC Bin Laden & Marginal Men)
André Mendes x Lechuga Zafiro - Tambores do Helipa (Marginal Men MashUp)
MC Carol x SOPHIE - MInha Vó Tá ELLE (Marginal Men MashUp)
Branko - Out of Sight (So Right) (feat. Rodes) Acapella
Rizzla - Iron Cages (feat. Odile Myrtile) [Fade to Mind]
M.I.A. - YALA (MikeQ Bootleg)
Rudeboyz - Get Down [Goon Club Allstars]
DJ Lag - Blast x DJ Lag - Ghost on the loos
Doctor Jeep & Tony Quattro - Torpedo
The Busy Twist - 1995
Branko - Whole Night (feat. Okmalumkoolkat & Lewis CanCut) [Enchufada]
DJ Nigga Fox - Zen
Eugy - Look like You (Remix) (Snippet)