Ritual para acercarse documents a live performance of a free-improvised meeting of the Stockholm-based quartet of Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, Argentinian tenor sax player Camila Nebbia (who initiated the quartet and now resides in Berlin), Spanish pianist and sound designer Hara Alonso and Swedish double bass player Elsa Bergman. The quartet was recorded at Fylkingen in Stockholm in October 2021 and reconvened again for the release party of the album at Rönnells Antikvariat in Stockholm. The album is released in a limited edition of 200 vinyls plus a download option.
Santos Silva, Nebbia, Alonso and Bergman are all gifted and experienced improvisers, well-versed in an array of extended techniques and know how to transform spontaneous and free-associative free-improvised ideas into instant compositions. The live performance begins with the extended «On Self Respect», signifying the deep affinity and deep listening dynamics of this leaderless quartet. The quartet weaves a dramatic and mysterious texture, with an impressive sense of suspense, surprise and humor, while conversing and juggling with abstract and ecstatic sounds and never surrendering to familiar narratives.
The following pieces, the brief and chaotic «Decisions» and the extended «Ritual» further cement the inspiring dialogs of Santos Silva and Nebbia. Their playful but thoughtful conversations are expressive and poetic and emphasize a rare and profound connection as if both Santos Silva and Nebbia have been playing together for years. Alonso and Bergman add a lyrical and enigmatic touch to the interplay and intensify these nuanced conversations with their own unorthodox bowing and playing inside-the-piano techniques. Then, slowly and patiently the whole quartet reinforces again its conversational but open dynamics as it gravitates towards the beautiful, compassionate coda.
Polycephaly finds the globetrotting Nebbia in Barcelona where she recorded in July 2021 a free improvised session with the Japanese player of the vintage electronic keyboard instrument Ondes Martenot, Tomomi Kubo. Nebbia and Kubo met for the first time on the day of the recording at Kubo’s studio in Barcelona.
The six distinct pieces suggest intimate but labyrinthian electroacoustic conversations with an aroma of early sci-fi films courtesy of the vintage sounds of Kubo’s Ondes Martenot. Nebbia and Kubo alternate leading roles and sometimes Nebbia sets the tone of the improvisation and at other times it is Kubo. But both Nebbia and Kubo leave enough space for each other to abstract and develop their own ideas. Often, Nebbia’s sharp and urgent attacks are transformed into alien, atmospheric waves by Kubo, and Kubo’s mysterious deep space flights meet Nebbia’s spoken word poetry and lyrical, most emotional playing of the tenor sax, best captured on the beautiful, poetic soundscapes «The Riddle of Sphinx» and «Under The Crescent Moon». These improvisations highlight the open and adventurous musical personalities of Nebbia and Kubo.
Susana Santos Silva (tp), Camila Nebbia (ts, loop pedal, v), Hara Alonso (p), Elsa Bergman (b), Tomomi Kubo (Ondes Martenot, loop pedal)