Friday, January 17, 2014

Albatre - A Descent in the Maelstrom [Shhpuma]

Hugo Costa - alto sax, loops
Goncalo Almeida - bass, effects
Philipp Ernsting - drums, electronics

Shhpuma 2013

Goncalo Almeida has appeared on the blog previously with the LAMA trio and "Oneiros" on which he was responsible for most of the compositions. Do you remember the oniric landscapes he painted with the help of Susana Santos Silva (trumpet) and Greg Smith (drums)? If yes, do not expect them again. Albatre is a different sort of animal alltogether. A slightly brutal one.

Albatre's joins together two portugese musicians based in Rotterdam and a drummer grom Germany, their debut is released by Clean Feed sublabel Shhpuma, and to know that Clean Feed has put Albatre in a special "out there" category says something.

The other hint is the album's title "A Descent in the Maelstrom".

So are you ready to jump into the abyss? If so, get aboard "Nautilus" that takes off slowly, with white noise, soft mallets on plates, a lotof resonating bass and a solemn sax melody. Soon enough the crazy takes over, a turmoil starts, and builds up a wall of noise that finds a resolution in a hypnotic drive and accumulated mass of sound. "Maelstrom" has some modular electronic effects that add  even more darkness to the abyss already there between the fuzzy bass, screeching sax and broken drum beats.
The pieces are connected together and "Maelstrom" falls down right into "Aphotic Zone" which gives a chance to catch your breath - small gongs, distant sound of distorted sax, recurrent and spare bass tones - it all create an atmospheric suspense, you can feel the danger luring behind the corner and the piece gathers speed and volume and intensity until the trio galopades away on a dense groove, unstoppable and straight-forward.
The schizoid madness continues through the remaining three tracks, dense and heavy. The cd lasts barely over half an hour, ends with majestic "Albatrossia" (with horn section sound magnified thanks to some looping).

"Descent in the Maelstrom" collides ultra-low bass, heavy and fast drums, paranoidal saxophone screams in order to create a freaky amalgam of metal, jazz, noise, punk, krautrock and else (it might sound more fun to add *core or at the end of each of these or doom* at the beginning or something similar). 
Albatre's musis is not for the light-hearted. Improvised in form and spirit, metal in materia it might proof to be too far off for many listeners on both sides of the barricade, but for those who are willing to stretch their ears and boundaries, it's a hell lot of perverse fun.

ps. the dark cover quite aptly captures the spirit of the music.

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