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På skive


«Má Estrela»

Ambient dub jazz? Well, jazz was always open to new ideas and influences. The same thing can be said about Portuguese free jazz/free music sax player Pedro Alves Sousa. He experimented before playing electronic music with the trio OTO, including with the usage of samples, turntables and laptops. A decade later he created «Má Estrela», his personal vision of combining the dub recording and processing strategies, extended to psychedelic dimensions and fed with a tribal dance feeling, with nods to hip-hop DJ Screw, German electronic music pioneer Pole (aka Conrad Schnitzler), the electronic music of the duo Porter Ricks and American jazz sax player Steve Lehman.

Sousa amplified his tenor sax via guitar and bass amplifiers and used an effects pedalboard. His band includes drummer Gabriel Ferrandini (of RED Trio and Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio), and musicians outside the jazz field: electronicists Bruno Silva and Simão Simões introduce the post-soul and footwork resources and bassist Miguel Abras the punk-industrial attitude. «Má Estrela»  was recorded at Galeria Zé dos Bois in Lisbon in September 2021, mixed and edited by Sousa, and released in a collaboration of the Shhpuma label and his own imprint, Futuro Familiar.

There are many familiar elements in this futurist, otherworldly experience. You can identify the brief sax cries and shouts of Sousa, but his group suggests a detailed compound of repetitive samples, processed sounds, and field recordings, where all sounds accumulate into one, dense and puzzling rhythmic entity. I guess that you will need generous doses of courage to dance with these heavy, layered and polyrhythmic beats. But Sousa clearly created a new niche, fascinating in its wild imagination and sonic possibilities. The five pieces of «Má Estrela» will definitely shake your limbs, may remind you of the Covid-19 pandemic depression, but eventually – literally, with the last piece «Esmalte» – will convince you that there is still hope if we can enjoy such sonic psychedelic trips.

Eyal Hareuveni

Pedro Alves Sousa (ts, elec), Bruno Silva (elec), Simão Simões (elec), Gabriel Ferrandini (dr, drumpad, elec), Miguel Abras (el.b)


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