Garden (Clean Feed 369) pits three uncompromising yet most accomplished artists in the new improv from Europe into a three-way series of seven collective endeavors. The sensitive interplay between the sound-and-tone spectrums of Bruno Parrinha (alto, soprano, clarinet), Luis Lopes (electric guitar) and Ricardo Jacinto (cello and electronics) is paramount and acerbically poetic.
The creative choices in tone combinations and textural contrasts make this a trio soundscape of striking avant beauty. Close listening reveals this over time. The first hearing may not be entirely comprehensible. It is not easy-going music for all that, but rather music of courageous conviction if you will. The beauty is there but it is up to the listener to find it after first willing the ears to adjust to the broad spectrum of timbral possibilities that the group realizes.
There are magical moments where you forget which instruments are involved and revel in the sometimes thick but ever evolving layers of sound color.
Perhaps we have come such a distance in new music improvisation on the continent in recent decades that some important examples of the avant scene there cannot as easily be directly referenced back to the improv of US generated free jazz as perhaps much of it has in the past. Now that does not mean that one thing is better than another, or that one is more legitimate! It is all a part of what is going on now and deserves our attention and respect.
If I imply that this trio disk is a seminal example of Euro-avant improv as it has evolved, I do that intentionally, for it is.
We who have grown up in the consumer-oriented, everything-must-be-rapidly-replaced-by-something-better world sometimes let that mentality carry over into artistic spheres. We should not. This does not replace or supplant other forms of the avant garde. It exists and flourishes parallel to the other possibilities. For this we should be happy. For sure, Garden is a most happy result of three musician-creators hitting their collective stride.
And for that you owe it to yourself to hear this. I mean that.