David Maranha & Helena Espvall - Sombras Incendiadas // more reviews

Dusted magazine
"You might wonder if, given the close comparisons drawn to other records, you need to hear this one. If you like to taste and move on, maybe you don’t. But if you get sustenance from a sound, this stuff is fresh new food, cooked according to known recipes but without the books and measuring implements handy. The duo have taken the idea of a dish and made it in their exceedingly satisfying way."
Full review by Bill Meyer

Vital Weekly
"Over the course of many years I have been enjoying the music from David Maranha a lot. First when he was playing with Osso Exotico, a group with among others his brother Andre, and later on solo or in collaboration with others. One could easily say, with any exaggeration, that Maranha represents minimal music in Portugal, more so than say Rafael Toral who is more the 'drone' master (before he started being interested in jazz). It's busy as hell, with these loud, repetitive moves that sound like a menace and it's nowhere mechanical. This is a heavy record, I must say. It's not for the weak of hearth and mind: it goes right into your brain and sticks like thick knitting needle; it goes under your skin and never leaves. This is not the kind of drone aiming to please the listener, but make him sit upright and listens carefully. Play loud is not something I would say easily, but in this case: yes, absolutely play very loud and don't engage yourself in any other activity, other than listening and be fully immersed." (FdW)
Full review

Norman records
"Here’s a lovely disc of rasping, writhing duets from these violin and cello abusers. It’s hard for a drone recording featuring a violin not to reference Tony Conrad, and there is definitely a nod to his piercing minimalist strains here. But there is a much more improvisatory element at work over the four tracks here as rhythms and harmonic patterns ebb and flow across the resonating expanse of sound. The amplified tone of the instruments means that the huskiness of the bowed textures melds with overdriven valves lending the whole thing a woody knottiness and analogue warmth that is a far cry from a lot of ambient electronic drone stuff. Some of the tremolo effects and modulation trance-outs even hit the same vein of primitive transcendence as Henry Flynt’s hillbilly minimalism.

By the last track it starts to sound a little too noodlesome for me, making me yearn for the pair to reign-in their sound a bit and show a more austere side. A nice listen overall though, especially for lovers of the living drone and ecstatic improvisation."

Full review (2015-01-29)

Maninkari - L'océan rêve dans sa loisiveté // reviews

"Ze brengen bevreemdende, maar meeslepende dromen, waarbij de kracht schuilt in de steeds herhalende klanken. Denk aan een experimentele hybride van Dead Can Dance, Muslimgauze, Badawi, Sam Shalabi, Vidna Obmana, Soma en Richard Skelton. Subliem!"
in De Subjectivisten

"The music of Maninkari reminds me of Rapoon, Muslimgauze (less political of course), but also Desaccord Majeur, to give a French point of reference. I thought it was a bit odd Maninkari doesn't use any titles for their pieces, but perhaps I liked that. No reference which clears your head and think of titles yourself for these dark sound scapes. It is surely another fine addition to their already impressive catalogue of works. (FdW)"
in Vital Weekly

Still available HERE (2015-01-28)

Norberto Lobo in the NY Times

That's not a fresh news, but you should know that 'Fornalha' from Norberto Lobo has been reviewed in the New-York Times. That's the very first time a record released by three:four made it in the national press in the USA.

The year’s final days, when the record-company mills shut down and new-release lists are eclipsed by digital surprises or piracy, it’s a good time for critics to run a dragnet for what they missed. “Fornalha,” a new record by the Portuguese guitarist Norberto Lobo, released in November by the small Swiss label three:four, is worth a late pass.

Especially since the early 1960s, acoustic guitarists have been wielding their instruments like superpowers — not only as shortcuts to excitement or introspection, but as keys to four millenniums of sound. The guitar — through what it can and can’t do, the variety of ways it can be played or altered, and its permutations among cultures — is a particularly good filter for the biggest release list of all: the history of musical expression. In the words of the guitarist Jack Rose, who really understood the concept, “it’s a limited instrument and a limitless instrument at the same time.” With modes, slides, drones, bows, fingers, picks, a guitarist can tell a lot of the story of the world.

Mr. Lobo, a guitarist in his early 30s who is full of talent and curiosity, seems ready to tell that story, but not in any organized way. “Fornalha” (“furnace” in Portuguese) — available on CD, LP or as a digital download from wearethreefour.bandcamp.com — is not a pedantic record or a virtuosic one; Mr. Lobo is not here to teach you the virtues of cultural fusion or show you how clean and powerful a fingerpicker he is. (Anyway, sometimes it’s his fretting hand that’s more impressive than his picking one.) He’s following his instincts, and is not afraid to lose you along the way. Some of his earlier records, like “Fala Mansa” and “Mel Azul,” have been clearer and easier to digest, more folky or straightforwardly beautiful; “Mogul de Jade,” with the drummer João Lobo, declared its identity in another way, through scratchiness and free improvisation. “Fornalha” is somewhere in the murky middle.

Norberto Lobo’s pieces, instrumental except for a bit of wordless singing, seem to move through country blues, Tin Pan Alley ballads, experimental drones and minimalism. More specifically, his music can suggest John Fahey, Steve Reich, Isaac Albeniz or the kinds of traditional pieces played on relatives of the lute — the ngoni from West Africa or the dombra from Central Asia. He uses digital echo and delay and looping in a rudimentary way, creating fraught clouds of sound rather than being clever. His technique does come through when he wants it to, but what’s more impressive is how he encourages you to get lost while experiencing this record.

“Fran” is the album’s keeper, the song you might play for others in a blindfold test or to defeat a listener’s expectations. (It keeps defeating mine.) But the album is brave enough to open and close with long, patient pieces made for the most part by playing the guitar with a bow, scratchily, repeating chord cycles until a secondary idea emerges or a cumulative truth is squeezed out.

Can't believe it? Go check it here (2015-01-27)

Riccardo Dillon Wanke - Dorset, second extract from 'Cuts'


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