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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SSS-Q - Songs From My Backyard (WasserBassin, 2013) ****

There is something about the frank innocence of the artwork that is also present in the music. No backdrop, no unnecessary ornaments, just straightforward music, candid, honest and pure. By having stripped the line-up to a minimum, Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, flugelhorn and flute and Jorge Queijo on percussion and flute, there is nothing left but the essence of music, something straight from the heart, joyful or in pain or in fear, or distress, or even of a more even nature, yet the rendering is always raw and physical, even on the ballad called "Fucking Ballad", and a wild guess from me relates them to the trumpeter's childhood memories and emotions. Manuel dos Reis joins on two tracks with live electronics, just to add some color, some weird additional sonic experiments.

We know the Portuguese trumpet player for her work with Lama, with "Lamacal" and the even better "Oneiros", and her duo "Almost Tomorrow" with bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg.

The pieces are short, very short even, and that's no surprise. With each album, think of Lama or Devil's Dress, the sound gets more abstract, more sketchy, with no room for too much lines or coloring. Each piece is a short burst of energy and tension, the expression of a mood, an image, a thought ... nothing more. Yet the quality of her approach is that it cuts right through all the superfluous, straight to the essence. A track like "Asfyxia", sounds like your going to suffocate, or "Dia Mau" (bad day), that only angular things are happening, and like that for each piece.

It's still somewhat an exercise in stylistic development, yet the character, the voice, the sound are all there. You can only wish she keeps digging deeper. There is gold to be found in her backyard.

Listen and download from Bandcamp