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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Hyper.Object - Inter.Independence (Phonogram Unit, 2022) - Portuguese electronics III

By Stef Gijssels

After "Má Estrela" and "Mata Mata", this album with electronics is without a doubt the most jazzy in the series, even to the extent that at times it's hard to even discern the electronics. 

The band consists of Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, João Almeida on trumpet, Carlos Santos on electronics, Hernâni Faustino on double bass, and João Valinho on drums. Pinheiro and Faustino and two thirds of the brilliant RED Trio, and Almeida and Valinho have been part of several reviews on our blog in various ensembles, and Carlos Santos got a special post last year for his collaboration with the Creative Sources label. To hear them all together here, and in great shape, is a real treat. 

The music is freely improvised during the scarce moments when lockdown was lifted last year. The title "Inter.Independence" refers to the performing concept of the band, "that all musicians have complete freedom to improvise and to choose what to play, there should be an active focus for each one to develop their ideas individually and to not immediately react or engage in direct dialog with the other musicians on the group. What was being experimented was the creation of several individual and independent layers that would interact organically, so that the tension would arise by the textures and by the expected and unexpected interactions created between these different layers that each musician was taking care of".
This being said, the music still appears to be very cohesive despite the almost absolute freedom of each musician, with lots of respect and open space to expand their own ideas. 

This is without a doubt one of the best albums I've heard this year. The quality of the playing is excellent, the sense of surprise and joy makes the attentive listener anticipate the unpredictable evolution of their 'in.coherent' narratives. The instrumental wizzardry is combined with smart musical ideas and deep emotional expressivity. Whether it's the quality of the musicians or the value of their concept, their music has a wonderful freshness from beginning to end. 

Don't miss it.

Listen and download from Bandcamp