Pedro Melo Alves

Pedro Melo Alves drums, percussion and electronics | João Barradas accordion and MIDI accordion | Audrey Chen voice and electronics | Ignaz Schick turntables, sampler, electronics | Nuno Rebelo electric guitar | Marta Warelis piano | Violeta Garcia cello and electronics | Jacqueline Kerrod harp | Carlos Barreto doublebass | Sara Serpa voice | Rafael Toral electronic and acoustic feedback, modified amplifier, electrode oscillator | Grilo prepared piano | Gil Dionísio voice and electronics | Ece Canlı voice and electronics


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Sphinx-like and serpentine, the aptly-named Conundrum Vol.1: Itself Through Disappearance poses a sequence of riddles to which there are no easy answers, it’s sublime audio cyphers codified in the enigmatic and elusive, confounding and revelatory.
Across the album’s captivating baker’s dozen of post-everything dialogues, celebrated Portuguese drummer and composer Pedro Melo Alves collaborates for the very first time with some of the most creative artists operating in the fields of jazz, free-improv and avant-garde music, among them Rafael Toral, Audrey Chen, Marta Warelis, Violeta Garcia, Sara Serpa and Ignaz Schick.
These virginal convergences, untainted by the baggage of previous encounters, are profuse with the verdant promise of unchartered terrains and synergetic recasting, a bountiful auguring of anticipation, reawakening and puzzling dream, chronicled during Melo Alves’ unique run of bi-monthly concerts between 2019 and 2023, hosted at Lisbon’s Galeria Zé dos Bois and other enlightened cultural hotspots.
Conundrum clamours with Melo Alves’ skittering rimshots, metallic scrapes and bowed toms, the tub-thumper making like a hyperactive poltergeist shifting around the percussive furniture of his kit, the core interlocutor on a disparate series of carefully-curated live extracts, pregnant with potentials and possibilities, charged with the vital contributions of his conspirators: spectral trawls of wrecked syntax seemingly conducted over remote EVP broadcast; jostling layers of bilious see-saw drone motioning mal de mar mirage; alien vistas electro-deluged in dilated burble; ethereal harp attacks; sine-wave semaphores; inebriated insectoid chatter and disembodied voices popping out from the wax of Schick’s vinyl stash.
At a time when people’s collective instincts are coming increasingly under siege – from incomprehensible wars, pernicious diseases and freedom-baiting political extremists – Conundrum captures all the mystery, magic and enlivening sense of discovery inherent in the human encounter, via a symposium of precious minds realising a propitious vision, referred to by Melo Alves in his album liner notes as “a gift¼ where old certainties lose ground and new, unchained universes may flourish”.

Recorded by Kellzo (1, 3, 8, 9, 10) and Olga Matviychuk (2, 5, 6, 12, 13) live at Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisbon, Portugal and by João Bessa (4, 7, 11) at Conservatório de Música de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal (12), Salão Brazil, Coimbra, Portugal (9) and Miramar Session, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (4) | Mixed by Pedro Melo Alves | Mastered by Filipe Louro

Executive Production by Pedro Costa | Photos by Vera Marmelo and Nuno Martins | Videos by Maria Bicker | Cover by Pedro Melo Alves | Artwork and design by Travassos

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