Two years ago, Brazilian saxophonist Alípio C Neto released a great album on Clean Feed with 'The Perfume Comes Before The Flower", now he goes a step further into avant-garde territory on Ernesto Rodrigues' Creative Sources label, equally Portuguese. Ernesto Rodrigues plays the viola, and his son Guilherme cello, Dennis González plays trumpet (and vocals) and Mark Sanders drums. Father and son Rodrigues are of course well-known for their experimental take to modern music, Sanders is one of the finest drummers in the European free improv scene, but adding González to the band was a very clever move. Against and in the context of the unusual and weird sounds that the string and percussion create, Neto's staggering expressivity and González' emotional lyricism form a wonderful counterbalance. These five musicians are not a natural match, yet their openness to each other and their musical skills for interaction are strong enough to make this an incredibly powerful and creative piece of music. Spread over three long tracks, they dive deep into the meaning of fear, evoking the feeling slowly, gradually, like something that creeps into you, full of surprises, but then rather of the mind, getting you off-balance and into unwanted places. But this is surely not a horror movie, that lives on cheap effects and lack of subtlety, quite the contrary, nuance, finesse, and a sensitive approach to how music can sound different while still striking an emotional chord is the main angle here. This is not music that will make you comfortable, it will suck you up, it will create distress, you will be glad and relieved and sad to hear some long lyrical phrases by González, but then they are replaced by some agonizing wails by Neto, which also dissapear, and you stay with the darkness created by off-beat drums and the extended technique sounds of the viola and cello. And through the quite uncanny and eery sounds, beauty emerges, once you get acquainted with the musical universe they create, once you accept what is going on and stop rationalizing, the artistry opens like a flower, not releasing sweet scents, but a dark and terrifying beauty. No, these guys are not a natural match, but for the music presented here (and it is not jazz, really), they are no doubt the perfect match.
Listen to an excerpt from "Paura - Lyrikon"
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