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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Selva - Camarão-Girafa (Clean Feed, 2023)

By Paul Acquaro

Listening to The Selva makes me feel like I am in on a secret, their music is a clandestine whisper in my ears, and I like to listen with headphones. The message moves slowly, it oozes, it delivers in little hits, like dopamine, its takes over, and I acquiesce obligingly.

Camarão-Girafa, the Portuguese trio's fourth album, delivers the same addictive substance as their others, evolving, changing, keeping it exciting, while more than meeting expectations. The group is cellist Ricardo Jacinto, bassist Gonçalo Almeida and drummer Nuno Morão, growing names in the world of free improvisation, all originating from the fertile music scene of Lisbon. The three are restless musicians and sound experimenters studying, living and working through-out Europe, and artfully channel their cumulative experiences into this insidiously powerful music.

The album starts with the legato, rubato, and patient 'Lei Milão.' Dissonant harmonies rise and fall away, percussive elements adorn the slowly unfolding piece. Then comes the electronics, the second track, 'Dança Babuíno,' blends the acoustic instruments with liquid electronics in a rhythmic jigsaw puzzle, which finally collects to a pulsating trance. The track 'Abel João' is intense from the start, a dense wall of sliding tones and swirling lines overtakes the senses.

The nearly ten minute 'Cocoruto' begins with a nervous percussive rattle, energizing and enervating for over a third of the track before eventually colliding with other electronically enhanced percussion and the strings. The track becomes a massive sound sculpture, lugubriously flowing over the soundscape. On the final track, the trio again employs their patient, evolutionary approach. Over six minutes of growing intensity, 'Blue Camino,' relying less on electronics than sheer forceful acoustics, brings Camarão-Girafa to a satisfying close.

Throughout the recording, the slow building of these musical monuments is captivating and invites repeat listens. For me, whether or not I am I fact in on a secret hardly matters, this is addictive and transformative music. 


Anonymous said...

Nice review.

Yes wonderful recording the best one yet from The Selva I think. Really original sound they achieve with electronics and post production. It's minimalist, brooding and heavy in parts - Is this even jazz at all? who cares!