Friday, June 5, 2015

Hugo Carvalhais, Grand Valis

Bassist-composer Hugo Carvalhais shows us some extraordinary versatility on the new music-free front with his recent offering, Grand Valis (Clean Feed 330). The ten-work quartet performance forms a "long meditative suite upon the world," as the liner notes state. This is a very attractive retro-futurist and futurist open-form kind of music, heightened by the compositional frameworks and the acute sensibilities and sound colors of the performers.

Hugo of course holds forth on the acoustic bass and does so with consistently interesting line weaving. Gabriel Pinto's organ-celeste and keyboard work often gives the music a distinctive kind of retro-out quality, sometimes hearkening back indirectly to early avant experimental music, even at times reminding me of the music of Henry Brant, if ever so obliquely and perhaps just in terms of a convergence. Dominique Pifarely on violin shows concert music training but like Carvalhais and Pinto, puts it all in the service of the improvisatory arts, and quite well at that. Finally there are electronic colorations by Jeremiah Cymerman and occasionally Hugo to further move the music into worldly-otherworldly realms.

There is excellent improvisational work from all the instrumentalists but too there is a conceptual fervor that comes out of Hugo Carvalhais' lively imagination.

All of this sets the music apart as exceptional, neither quite free jazz nor new music. It finds a space in between the two genres for something monumentally different yet somehow reflecting the elation of the discovery of new music in earlier eras.

An exciting program! Very much recommended to those with a sense of adventure. It shows us that Hugo Carvalhais does not stand still, but has become an artist to be closely followed. Here is a place to start, for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment