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«Spontaneous Live Series D03»

Águas (waters in Portuguese) is the third album of the Rotterdam-based quartet Hydra Ensemble featuring prolific Portuguese double bass player Gonçalo Almeida, Croatian cellist Lucija Gregov, Swiss cellist Nina Hitz and Dutch electronics player Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek, who also did the mixing and designed the cover artwork). The album was recorded live at De Pletterij cultural center in Haarlem in January 2022.

The Hydra Ensemble, like the Greek mythological creature with one, common body and several heads,  operates as a four-headed sonic entity. This chamber ensemble uses collective improvisations to offer deep-toned. minimalist-ambient, yet detailed textures comprised of melodic threads, textural explorations, sonic experiments and expansive drones. Águas is a seven-movement suite. Its apt title reflects faithfully its organic flow and development. The atmosphere of the suite is dark and mysterious, often unsettling and claustrophobic, and its minimalist dynamics slowly and patiently gain more density, and, obviously, emotional power. A perfect listening experience that may distance the listener from the troubling daily news and events.

Almeida plays with Spanish guitarist Diego Caicedo in the Low Verigo trio (with drummer Vasco Trilla), and this trio’s second album was recorded live at Dragon Social Club in Poznań, Poland a day before Almeida, Caicedo and Polish pianist Witold Oleszak (who designed the cover artworks for Low Vertigo albums, as well as for this trio) performed live at the same club. This performance offers a 26-minute intense and fierce free improvisation, alternating between raw and uncompromising collisions and urgent sonic searches, with Oleszak playing inside the piano and transforming it into an alien sound generator. But occasionally this improvisation gravitates into brief melodic lines.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Lucija Gregov (cello), Nina Hitz (cello), Gonçalo Almeida (double bass), Rutger Zuydervelt (electronics), Diego Caicedo (electric guitar), Witold Oleszak (piano)