On a global basis, Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes may be the more recognizable artist of the trio due to his longtime affiliation with Clean Feed Records via its worldly outreach. But his fellow countrymen, reedman Bruno Parrinha and cellist / electronics ace Ricardo Jacinto have been in the thick of things amid the newer horizons approach to jazz and improvisation on the European front.
Garden is a sojourn into an alien musical world, as the band seemingly derives some influence from avant-garde pioneer John Cage along with the cyclical minimalism set forth by Morton Feldman. However, there’s a whole lot more under the hood. Parrinha also delves into microtonal patterns, but amps up the variable trajectories with oscillating statements, underscored by Jacinto’s creaky arco treatment, and when he hammers out the bass lines.
The trio’s slowly evolving themes are frequently catapulted by foreboding excursions, consummated with extended notes, electronics effects and Lopes’ distortion-tinged noise-shaping expositions. Several works are outlined with blood- curdling subplots and gritty or mechanized motifs, often alluding to rather sober circumstances.
Among the statistically titled (or encrypted) works, “1030” features a trailing ambient sequence, driven home by Parrinha’s low-key clarinet passages, Jacinto’s delicate plucking of the bass part and Lopes’ temperate volume control processes. Here, the trio exudes a drifting and solemn coexistence, but the tide swiftly changes on “516,” which is a jagged free-form romp, heightened by Parrinha’s prickly phrasings and the cellist’s scraping tonal articulations.
“1402” is modeled with the saxophonist’s extended choruses and his associates rough and tumble movements as an air of mystery pervades, incited by micro-developments and understated paradigm shifts. Hence, the musicians’ off- centered permutations, coupled with a glowing sense of adventure and gobs of experimentation rule the roost on this enigmatic studio session.