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Monday, July 3, 2017

The Selva - The Selva (Clean Feed) 2017 ****

By Philip Coombs

There is something instantly appealing to The Selva. I also find a pure joy in listening to a trio of musicians that I’ve never heard of before. This, obviously, stifles any perceptions that I may bring with history. To add to the mystery, it’s a self-titled album, The Selva, that’s it. And to go even one step further, no song titles, just roman numerals from 1 to 9.

Track I and II, gave me little taste of what was to come, a prologue if you will. These 2 tracks blend the familiar with the unknown, a theme that occurs several times over the course of the record. It is track III, where Ricardo Jacinto (cello) Gonçalo Almeida (double bass) and Nuno Morão (drums) take a nugget and expand on it to its fullest. It's like Track 1 is Red and Track 2 is Blue but Track 3 is the Purple. By the time it is over, III is pounding and swirling and headed for a heart pumping conclusion that doesn’t disappoint.

The Selva go straight back to three short tracks again giving us some more structured music to ponder before heading into dark free jazz territory on Track VII.

As much as the cello and double bass can alternately be called melancholy and sadness, The Selva, does stray away from such obvious emotions giving us both extended technique and power at the same time without falling into any lower register traps. The drumming of Morão help in this endeavour and it won’t happen on his watch. He really gets the spotlight on track VII as he rumbles his way in and around the cello and bass entanglement.

I do like the structure of the record. There is just enough free vs. composition to store these three Portuguese musicians in my head and see where they go with this.