Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Creative Sources

Bizarrely, it seems that improvising in presence of metropolitan-tinged sonic circumstances can cause factors such as mental strain and edginess to be taken out of the equation, perhaps due to a strange counter-reaction: the noise of a neighbouring street, which ideally should not correspond to a practical background for playing, regularly inspires introspective examinations of space and shapes to certain breeds of musicians. This quartet, whose instrumentation comprises alto sax, viola, cello and percussion, seizes the shadows of a nocturnal view in a neighbourhood by superimposing a collective being to that particular scenario, the outcome captured in an album where active listening is required more than ever.

Both tracks start with the above mentioned inner-city reverberations, as to set the definite context from the beginning. Evidently, the distant air currents generated by the passing vehicles - and the silences between - represent a major inspiration for the players, all of them tending to circumspection and limited motion with just a slight raspy edge in the infrequent percussive implications of the improvisations. The instruments appear in near-spirit, singularly or in different combinations, seldom emerging as a true ensemble. In that sense, a magnificent if too short droning section materializes in the first few minutes of the initial track “Story Board” in one of the record’s most emotionally charged moments, and another – dissonant, yet utterly breathtaking - towards the very end of the disc. Only rarely their voice needs to cry to be heard and, when that occurs, it’s via a series of rapid signals, without a real necessity of “affirmation of personality”. Essentially, the artists succeed in camouflaging themselves in darkness, as marvellously demonstrated by the whispered motionlessness characterizing a long part of “Drama-Like” which starts around the 12th minute.

Throughout Noite we become aware of close relationships and compatibilities springing from the attraction between opposites: instrumental and human, sound and silence, full notes and frail overtones. It takes special ears to individuate the peripheral connections and the invisible-yet-efficient mechanism that allows these artist to relinquish individuality in favour of a hazy picture of rigorousness. Once the mood is established and everything but the nutritious quintessence of this music has been erased from the mind, the first lights of a new day – typically a symbol of recovery after sleeplessness and apprehension - suddenly look undesirable.