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Portuguese prolific musician Pedro Alves Sousa never surrendered to genre conventions. He is known as a sax player and drummer, experimental improviser, composer and arranger, bandleader and now also a label owner, Futuro Familiar. He recorded with the local all-star Lisbon Freedom Unit (Praise of Our Folly, Clean Feed, 2018), experimented with ambient dub jazz (Má Estrela, Shhpuma/FuturoFamiliar, 2022), recorded a jazz trio with Rodrigo Pinheiro and Gabriel Ferrandini (Of RED Trio, Cloud at rest, Phonogram Unit, 2022) and collaborated with Thurston Moore (Live at ZDB, Shhpuma, 2014). On his label, Alves Sousa does the mixing and editing.

The first release on his label, RAHU, features Alves Sousa leading a quintet and playing percussion, tenor sax and electronics, with close comrades percussionist Ferrandini and experimental percussionist-organist David Maranha (who also does sound installations), and American sax player-percussionist Alex Zhang Hungtai (who recorded two albums with Ferrandini and Maranha) and percussionist Júlia Reis (who plays in the local rock band Pega Monstro). RAHU was recorded at Galeria Zé dos Bois (ZDB) in Lisbon in May 2016. The album features two extended improvisations, obviously, percussion-heavy but arranged as abstract and chaotic, dense and unsettling soundscapes, that refer loosely to the farthest, cosmic tones from the deep space journeys of Sun Ra Arkestra, thanks to the spacious organ of Maranha, but with no attempt to offer a mental therapy. Hungtai’s intense tenor sax musings on the second improvisation add a free jazz aroma to the percolating percussion grind, but it ends with a touching lyrical tone.

The second release of the Futuro Familiar label, KATU, was recorded at the same location, without Reis, in December 2017, Alves Sousa, Maranha and Ferrandini double on flute, and Alves Sousa and Ferrandini also play on electronics. The quartet was recorded after a residency in Hamburg and sounds more focused and playful. The atmosphere is different from RAHU and the quartet dynamics are sparse and spacious and inspired by ritualist-meditative percussion traditions from the Far East, with strong references to the legacy of Don Cherry.

RAHU and KETU are released simultaneously as a 300 edition of vinyl. Futuro Familiar’s Bandcamp page offers the buyers of RAHU and KETU a link for a documentary by Portuguese film director, Ico Costa, about RAHU and the Lisbon improvised and experimental music scene.

Eyal Hareuveni

Alex Zhang Hungtai (perc, ts, drumpad, perc, elec, fl), David Maranha (perc, organ, fl), Gabriel Ferrandini (perc, elec, fl), Júlia Reis (perc)

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