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Monday, December 3, 2018

Uivo Zebra - s/t (Bocian, 2018) ****

By Eyal Hareuveni

Uivo Zebra defines itself as a power trio but offers a challenging variant to this too common aesthetics. This Portuguese trio - electric guitarist Jorge Nuno, electric bass player Hernâni Faustino, known from the RED Trio and other local groups as Clocks and Clouds and the José Lencastre Nau Quartet, and drummer João Sousa, who collaborates with Nuno in the psych-improv group Signs Of The Silhouette - like any other power outfit operates in a high-octane stratospheres and always aims for almost unbearable levels of intensity, blending elements of free-improv, noise and psychedelia. The big difference is Uivo Zebra's total control of its power - the depth and breadth of it and the colors and nuances of the extreme power. Uivo Zebra may sound as being possessed by its brutal outputs, but knows how to tame and discipline these extremes, attaching its very own personal mark on these kind of sonic meltdowns.

The self-titled debut album of Uivo Zebra, following a self released cassette Gancho (A BESTA 033) from earlier this year, was recorded in Lisbon during March 2017. The album offers five pieces, structured as a dramatic suite that accumulates more and more tension and higher degrees of volatile intensity as it progresses. But at the same time Uivo Zebra is ready to grab more and more risky, free-form detours, insisting on eccentric walks on a tricky tightropes and jumping headfirst from impossible, surreal cliffs.

Uivo Zebra never employ tiresome clichés of reckless aggression. These singular musicians are perceptive listeners, know how to build a multilayered, cohesive interplay, full of sudden, inventive twists that not only keeps them all -literally - on their toes, but, most likely, will keep you - the listeners - out of any possible comfort zone. Nuno is master of of translating showers of buzzing feedback into ritualistic trance-soundscapes and knows how to light an infectious storm in an instant. Faustino keeps constructing deep-tones tsunamis and Sousa pushes this heavy, electrifying commotion forward with mighty blows.

Go and experience this sonic phenomena for your good. Uivo Zebra can rewire your exhausted nerves to a hyperactive and subversive mode. Just what these times demand.

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