(Creative Sources)

The 26+ minutes of “Refrain” were recorded at Seattle’s Gallery 1412 during the local Improvised Music Festival. The instrumentation comprises piano, viola, amplified cello, surface electronics, loudspeakers, electric guitar and electronics. It’s one of the “obscure” releases in the history of the Portuguese label, both in specific terms of sound and intuition of where the musicians are directed, which is still unclear at the end of the piece. That is not to say that the performance is not good, au contraire: there’s a feel of eeriness in this improvisation that forces us to stay under the shadows of suspicion throughout, as when troubled individuals try to worm a way in our mind by suggesting impossible doubts on someone we trust blindly. The alternatively radical and familiar quality of the timbres exploited by the accomplices contributes to this state of unhinged interest: clear piano notes stain otherwise persisting static superimpositions of feedback and drones, viola and cello attributing a component of normalcy in otherwise unclassifiable clutters of small noises let loose by the guitar. Sinister scrapes abound, as the quartet seeks out for rust and residues – not a hint to any kind of tidiness. When they manage to achieve the aim – with a little suffering – it just looks like when it stops raining, but the sky remains threateningly black.

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