Tag Archives: Shhpuma

Free Jazz review by Matthew Grigg

SHH 010Thurston Moore/Gabriel Ferrandini/Pedro Sousa – Live at ZDB (Shh10)
Survival Records, October Revolution in Jazz, Tzadik and The Stone, Studio Rivbea, Jazz Composers Guild, El Saturn Records, Company Week and Incus, Mopomoso, Debut Records; there is a well established precedent of Free music practitioners having to create their own opportunities for exposure. Thurston Moore offers an alternative to this template. Sure, he has established his own record label, and helped curate concert series and festivals. But where his contribution really differs is in the profile he has within mainstream culture, and the manner in which that platform has been used to espouse the merits of what interests and informs him. A staunch champion of Free music, Moore once claimed to be interested in “playing with anyone” which has lead to countless ad hoc groupings with less-than-household names (as well as many of the cream of the current Free Improvisers). In addition to which, many of his recordings have been issued by small independent labels, affording them increased visibility often outside of their usual demographic.

With the release of this live set recorded in Lisbon, Moore has killed both these birds with one stone. Saxophonist Pedro Sousa (Pão) and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini (Red Trio) have been rightly lauded on these pages, and whilst their names are not entirely unfamiliar, this release affords them both individual attention and an opportunity to step out from behind the relative anonymity of their band’s names. Similarly, fledgling Portugese label Shhpuma, baby brother to the excellent Clean Feed, now has its own turn in the sun.

According to the label’s promotional spiel, during pre-gig discussion the trio had agreed they would “play soft, focusing on the details”. They do not keep to this plan for long. Ferrandini and Sousa are straining at the leash almost from the off, the saxophonist’s overblown textures keening to erupt, the drums verge on bubbling over, seemingly trying to goad the guitarist into following. Moore, so often the noisenik in these situations, is the coolest head, playing the long game like an old master. He keeps pace as the others race ahead without being fully drawn into the fray, calming the initial impetuousness with languid feedback lines. In so doing, part of the game plan remains intact and textural ‘detail’ becomes the foundation, albeit roughly hewn rather than ‘soft’.

Texture is Moore’s stock in trade and the grumbling low-end smears of Sousa’s tenor and baritone work well in this context, furthered by the gritty electronics he deploys which often shadow or add surface detail to the contorted guitar lines. Ferrandini interjects serrated accents amid his propulsive percussion, often coalescing around the more knotted clamour as inertia pulls inextricably toward the red. The trio play with this sense of tension for the duration of the set, on countless occasions the heat their momentum generates seems certain to fully ignite and finally submit to its incendiary potential. However, even at its most scorched it feels like a controlled burn, with a large depth of field to the dynamics.

This inaugural encounter smoulders with potential and suggests more to come should the trio ever be reprised. Moore is on a fine run of form at the moment, as this blog will attest. Long may it continue.

Blow Up Magazine review by Enrico Bettinello

PÃO – Pão (SHH002)
FILIPE FELIZARDO – Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog (SHH001)
Forte dell’eccezionale lavoro svolto nell’ambito dell’avant-jazz, l’etichetta portoghese Clean Feed patrocina una nuova sub-lbel dal bel nome Shhpuma e dedicata a proposte portoghesi emergenti nei linguaggi limitrofi alla sperimentazione di matrice jazzistica. Interessanti le prime due uscite: il trio di Lisbona, Pão (Pedro Sousa al tenore, TIago Sousa alle tastiere e il manipolatore elettronico Travassos) esplora mondi espansi in cui dilatazione e irrequietezza free si incontrano, senza timore di sintetizzare l’allucinatorio iterarsi della drone music con l’erratico melodiare degli improvvisatori liberi. Promettono molto bene.

John Fahey da un aparte e la ricerca improvvisativa più avventurosa dall’altra sono i riferimenti del chitarrista Filipe Felizardo, musicista in cui convivono una bluesness senza tempo e il miraggio di spazi desertici punteggiati da asteroidi fantasma. Mica Male!

The Wire review by Bill Meyer

Felipe Felizardo – Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog (SHH 001)
Pão – Pão (SHH 002)

Not satisfied with being one of the 21st century’s most productive jazz labels, Lisbon based Clean Feed has spun off a new imprint called Shhpuma. Its first two releases distinguish themselves from the parent company’s output by maintaining only the barest relationship to jazz.

Pão might, if you’re squinting right, look like a jazz trio. Pedro Sousa wields that most iconic of jazz horns, the tenor sax, and Tiago Sousa plays keyboards, harmonium, and percussion. Third member Travassos ruins the image by sitting at a table covered with tape players, circuit-bent appliances, and diverse amplified objects.

Sousa has definitely cocked his ear to the more extrovert side of saxophonic extended technique; his vocabulary of thick flutters and nimble high notes owes a lot to Mats Gustafsson and John Butcher. But Sousa’s keys hew closer to the wide world of contemporary drone, and his percussion works mainly to raise the music’s pitch ceiling, not assert a pulse.

There are points where Travassos’s machinations flicker at the edge of audibility, leaving small abrasions upon the music’s surface; but at other times he joins his partners in a three-layer sandwich of longtone drift. Even at its slowest, the music pursues a forward momentum that enhances its approachability. Like the Scandinavian trio Fire! and the multinational Koboku Senju, they apply sounds legitimised by early generations of European improvisors to more linear ends.

When guitarist Filipe Felizardo plays with Sousa in the trio Acre, his playing is crusty with distortion and savage enough to suggest he’s spent some time listening to the right Sonny Sharrock records. But on his own he steers clear of effects, which makes his links to the blues much clearer. Felizardo juxtaposes harsh, misshapen chords with warped strips of continuous sound that sound like the result of some bowing technique.

The guitarist never utters a word, but his titles position this album as protest. The album is named for one animal wiped out by man and another that is well on the way. The emptiness that rises up over each sound Felizardo plays echoes the spaces that humanity opens around itself as it perpetrates extinction after extinction. But even without the names, the baleful vibe of Felizardo’s playing is compelling.

Bodyspace review by Paul Cecílio

Filipe Felizardo – Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog (SHH 001)
Sagrou-te, e foste desvendando a Shhpuma.

Primeira edição da recém-criada editora Shhpuma, Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog é um disco cuja sonoridade provoca, e é criada a partir da, contemplação e reflexão. Todo ele construído à base de laivos de guitarra, praticamente sem efeitos ou outras distracções, Guitar Soli… é quase como um ser vivo: caminha, pausa para respirar e para se alimentar, prossegue a viagem pela rota do blues cósmico; o silêncio, aqui, é utilizado ele próprio como se fora um instrumento, mostrando-se tão importante como as frases que vão eclodindo dos dedos de Filipe Felizardo.   É um modus operandi que se traduz num belíssimo disco. Contando uma história através de oito faixas, que serão melhor apreciadas lendo as liner notes do CD de forma a poder construir paisagens imaginárias auxiliadas pela música, Guitar Soli… vive não da tensão entre o silêncio e o som, como por vezes acontece neste género de abordagens, mas da simbiose. Quando a música trava, a ausência toma forma; quando regressa, fá-lo de modo gentil e não abrupto, preenchendo esse vazio como um pulmão se enche de oxigénio. Reside aqui a sua maior força, esta conjugação entre dois mundos à partida distintos – mas, ao invés da citação que diz que a escuridão é a ausência de luz, em Guitar Soli… o silêncio não é de todo a ausência de música.   Parece ser sobretudo o amor pela guitarra, eléctrica ou acústica, como em “Of The Excrement And The Frog”, o alvo principal do pensamento que levou à composição deste disco, por ser um objecto de ligação entre o homem e o que o rodeia, quer a terra quer o cosmos; é a pena com que Felizardo, em modo poeta, redige os versos de Guitar Soli For The Moa And The Frog de forma eficaz e que preencherão a alma dos leitores que se aventurarem. Está aqui um dos mais belos “discos de guitarra” que ouviremos em 2012.