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JOÃO LENCASTRE

«Parallel Realities»
FMR, FMRCD535-0519

«Parallel Realities» is a new group led by Portuguese drummer-composer João Lencastre, and focuses on multiple, parallel musical universes. Lencastre says that he wanted to hear «dramatic contrasts» in his music and his idea for this new quintet was to «have groups within groups… different things happening at the same time… each of those groups having a different role… It’s like having different musical worlds playing at the same, but all together create a whole».

Lencastre enlisted strong-minded improvisers from the l0cal, vibrant free-jazz, free-improv and art-rock local scene. to the «Parallel Realities» group. All navigate freely in different musical universes, often at the same time, without surrendering to style or genre conventions. He is joined by sax player Albert Cirera, known from Agustí Fernández Liquid Trio/Quintet and Memoria Uno ensemble, pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro from the RED trio, guitarist Pedro Branco and bass player João Hasselberg, both released albums as a duo.

«Parallel Realities» is titled and structured as a dramatic journey into newer, uncharted musical universes. The opening piece «Departure» melts ambient, Eno-esque minimalist soundscapes with free-formed yet dense free-improvisation. You can sense the parallel musical universes on the following piece «Turbulent Journey» where the effects-laden aggressive attacks Branco and Hasselberg collide with the more contemplative-slow cooking playing of Cirera and Pinheiro and only Lencastre attempts to offer bridges to this schizophrenic interplay. The atmosphere shifts again when Cirera, Pinheiro and Lencastre suggest a sparse, searching vein and again on «High Speed Chase» that adds Branco and Hasselberg to an intense free-jazz freak out. Branco and Hasselberg invites the quintet to experience with noisy sounds on the playful «Rush Hour». The 14 minutes of «Crossing Worlds» realizes best the intentions of Lencastre. The quintet sounds as working on several, parallel courses, visiting post-rock terrains, revitalizes its own free-improv strategies, open to risk-taking and challenging dynamics and it sounds much greater than the sum of its parts. The last short pieces, «Like A Walk In The Sky» and «Fire Dance» are the outcome of this fascinating journey, cementing the fiery-free jazz dances with spacey trips within noisy-ambient soundscapes.

Eyal Hareuveni

João Lencastre (dr), Albert Cirera (ts, ss), Rodrigo Pinheiro (p), Pedro Branco (g), João Hasselberg (b, elec)