Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sei Miguel & Pedro Gomes - Turbina Anthem (No Business, 2011) *****
There aren't that many trumpet-guitar albums, and I must admit that I like the line-up. This duet between trumpeter Sei Miguel and Pedro Gomes on guitar is something unique. Both are minimalists, but while Miguel using his trumpet mainly in a traditional and voiced mode, Gomes extracts sweet acoustic sounds or extremely harsh electric sounds from his guitar.
Yet it is far from noise : the volume of the guitar is low, the distortion maximal, the notes minimal. Both musicians play plaintive, sad phrases, full of longing and crying and pain and restrained anger, quietly, almost resigned yet extremely expressive. The album is so powerful that the listening experience is of an immediacy that is uncommon. The feelings they have seem to be transmitted directly to the listener, without the distance of appreciation or interpretation or any other form of rationalisation.
You feel the sounds, the sounds are what you feel in a real phyisical sense : setting your nerves on edge, sending shivers down your spine, giving you goosebumps, making you want to flee or cry. The few, more bluesy, pieces with acoustic guitar come as a relief, a welcome pause for the nervous system ... only to be dragged back into a universe of extreme tension : an uneasy beauty, harsh warmth, raw embraces, hard truths ... as if every release of tension creates its own new tension again ... And it requires incredible skill to maintain this for the entire album, without straying, without relinquishing the concept.
This is music without compromise, yet its vision is clear, its voice is unique, a listening experience that is not always pleasant, but extremely rewarding.
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