Helena Espvall first met David Maranha in 2006 when her band Espers played a show in Lisbon. They played two gigs the following year, and Espvall contributed to Maranha's Marches of the New World. Since then they always had the intention of working together more extensively and once Espvall moved to Lisbon two years ago they had no more excuses.
Sombras Incendiadas ("Exploding Shadows") features Espvall on amplified cello and Maranha on electric organ and amplified violin. Espvall has an amazing cello sound, kind of Velvet Underground, while David Maranha is in the vein of La Monte Young or Tony Conrad. As a duo, they create heavy drones with delicate harmonics behind the wall of sound. The textures are raw, the compositions are minimalistic, and the riffs are heady. The repetitive patterns played very loudly create a monolithic, hypnotic, and timestopping album.
Sombras Incendiadas is available on LP (with a download coupon) and digitally.
A1. Fleur de Soufre (6'57)
A2. Gadulka Duo (12'38)
B1. Resonating Night (8'57)
B2. Sandracca (9'22)
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.
This is not in any sense ambient music, and its drones are not the kind which lull and soothe, but which perk up and stimulate the senses by pricking relentlessly at the skin and nagging ever more scabrously at the recipient’s tolerance for prolonged dissonance.
Minimalismus versteckt im »Black Angel’s Death Song« der Velvet Underground die Spinnenbeine wegbläst, der oder die lässt von »Sombras Incendiadas« besser die Finger. Wer allerdings an Free Jazz artigen Feedback-Attacken, an den Noise-Eskapaden der Sonic Youth (die Alben der avantgardistischeren SYR-Reihe), kurz gesagt: an allerlei Spielarten (un)kontrollierten Lärms seine Freude hat, der oder die greife hier zu und wird nicht enttäuscht werden. Das knapp 40-minütige Klangbad zieht alle Register entfesselter Drone-Musik. Zum Gebrauch sei noch ergänzt: Maximum volume yields maximum results, also: »PLAY LOUD!«
David Maranha - Violin, Electric Organ
Helena Espvall - Cello
Recorded in Violente do Céu by David Maranha between december 2012 and march 2013
Mix by David Maranha in Violente do Céu, Lisbon in october 2013
Mastering by Julien Grandjean at Jetlag Studio in Vevey, Switzerland in august 2014
Cover photograph tken by Derek Moench in the Cave 211, Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon