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Friday, November 17, 2023

Suspensão - Teufelmusik (Creative Sources, 2023)

By Stef Gijssels

"Teufelmusik" is one of the five albums relased by the band this year, covering a period of performance between 2015 and 2023. The ensemble consists of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and crackle box, Nuno Torres on alto saxophone, João Gato on soprano saxophone, Luisa Gonçalves on piano, Flak on electric guitar, João Madeira on double bass, Carlos Santos on analog synthesiser, and José Oliveira on percussion. 

The album covers a live performance on May 27th of this year, and consists of one, long fourty minute track. In the best tradition of the label, the music is a carefully forward-moving electroacoustic improvisation, on which all instruments create a dense, dark collective sound, that oscillates and shimmers in many layers around a central focal point. Even if all instruments move freely in and out of the total sound, a core is maintained, like an implicit solidity resulting from its fleeting parts, almost like a auditory reflection of moving atoms creating the illusion of a fixed reality. 

The dissonance could explain the album's title: "the devil's music", banned through history by the catholic church and reflecting the position of the establishment for any music that breaks the boundaries of the conventional. Think also of jazz, rock 'n' roll and metal. In contrast to these genres, this music is anything but loud or exuberant, this music here is in a category of its own. It is eery, compelling, strange at times, disconcerting, appealing, captivating and intense. It requires equally intense listening to capture all the ungoing shifts in sound colour, the creative subtleties and nuances, the various ephemeral threads and barely audible unattributable instrumental voices. 

A collective 'tour de force', the kind of achievement that can only mean that somehow the devil's involved. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp

Suspensão – Frottage (Creative Sources, 2023)

One of the other albums released by the ensemble this year is "Frottage", recorded live on May 20 of this year, so a week earlier than "Teufelmusik", at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal. I do not have the music (yet), but the video below of the concert gives a good idea of the band's collective sound.