Manuel Mota is a Portuguese legendary experimental guitarist, known for the highly personal vocabulary he has developed for the electric guitar, with a contemporary sound that radiates an enigmatic sense of timelessness. This still underrated but highly gifted musician releases his music, mostly solo albums, through his own label, Headlights, for more than twenty years. American guitarist David Grubbs is known from the iconic band Gastr del Sol (with Jim O’Rourke) as well as The Underflow (with Mats Gustafsson and Rob Mazurek), performed with such innovative musicians like Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari and Will Oldham and is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College.
Na margem sul documents the first public performance of Mota and Grubbs at the Auditório da Biblioteca Municipal in Barreiro, a smaller city to the southeast of Lisbon across the Tejo River estuary, in July 2021. The title of the album and which means on the south bank in Portuguese refers to the area south of the Tejo. For both musicians, this was the first indoor collaborative performance since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mota and Grubbs met more than a decade ago and recorded before the studio album Lacrau on Grubbs’ Blue chopsticks label (2018), but throughout their many conversations, they did not spend much time analyzing their distinct approaches to playing or exploring the sonic possibilities of the electric guitar. The 33 title piece is an ambient piece that feels like a series of ethereal, almost transparent impressions from an abstract film where the delicate sounds of Mota and Grubbs blend into an alchemic entity. This piece invites the listeners to abandon themselves in the hypnotic and disarming dreamscape of Mota and Grubbs, employ their imagination and follow the mysterious, poetic forking paths of their beautiful musical garden.
Manuel Mota (el.g), David Grubbs (el.g)