Sei Miguel | Pedro Gomes | Turbina Anthem | No Business Records

Sei Miguel – (pocket) trumpet | Pedro Gomes – guitars

All compositions by Sei Miguel and Pedro Gomes * Recorded 1-3 August, 2008 in Lisboa * Mastered by Arunas Zujus at MAMAstudios * Design by Oskaras Anosovas * Produced by Terrence McManus and Danas Mikailionis * Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist; Side A 1. THE PALE STAR I . manh? da noite 2. SPOON 3. TWO FACES : O DEUS-MARTELO 4. ASCENT 5. THE PALE STAR II . c?none 6. AFRICAN RAINCOAT 7. PRIMEIRA CAN??O Side B 1. BLUE BLADE RAGA RAG 2. THE PALE STAR III . imaginary grass 3. BRIGHT STAR ANYWAY 4. THE PALE STAR IV . das cinzas 5. JURA 6. SEGUNDA CAN??O 7. THE PALE STAR V . firmamento

There aren’t that many trumpet-guitar albums

and I must admit that I like the line-up. This duet between trumpeter Sei Miguel and Pedro Gomes on guitar is something unique. Both are minimalists, but while Miguel using his trumpet mainly in a traditional and voiced mode, Gomes extracts sweet acoustic sounds or extremely harsh electric sounds from his guitar.

Yet it is far from noise : the volume of the guitar is low, the distortion maximal, the notes minimal. Both musicians play plaintive, sad phrases, full of longing and crying and pain and restrained anger, quietly, almost resigned yet extremely expressive. The album is so powerful that the listening experience is of an immediacy that is uncommon. The feelings they have seem to be transmitted directly to the listener, without the distance of appreciation or interpretation or any other form of rationalisation.

You feel the sounds, the sounds are what you feel in a real phyisical sense : setting your nerves on edge, sending shivers down your spine, giving you goosebumps, making you want to flee or cry. The few, more bluesy, pieces with acoustic guitar come as a relief, a welcome pause for the nervous system … only to be dragged back into a universe of extreme tension : an uneasy beauty, harsh warmth, raw embraces, hard truths … as if every release of tension creates its own new tension again … And it requires incredible skill to maintain this for the entire album, without straying, without relinquishing the concept.

This is music without compromise, yet its vision is clear, its voice is unique, a listening experience that is not always pleasant, but extremely rewarding. Great art. — stef

Sei Miguel | Pedro Gomes | Turbina Anthem | no business records

Sei Miguel

Director, arranger and trumpeter, Sei Miguel considers himself a simple jazzman, which, he says, isn’t always easy. Born in 1961, Paris, lived in Brazil and France until settling down in Portugal during the 1980’s. Since 1986 he has been directing formations of variable geometry. Having performed in Portugal, Germany, Italy, UK and Brazil, among his many regular collaborators are not only guitarists Rafael Toral and Manuel Mota, but also extraordinaire trombone player Fala Mariam and discreet virtuoso percussionist César Burago. Miguel has also written music for theater and ballet.

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3 thoughts on “Sei Miguel | Pedro Gomes | Turbina Anthem | No Business Records

  1. Turbina Anthem, c’est une trompette de poche et des guitares. Ce sont surtout Sei Miguel et Pedro Gomes qui réduisent la musique au silence et, ensuite, augmentent le silence en musique.

    Le trompettiste et le guitariste semblent souvent ne pas aller dans la même direction. Le premier pose une note et le second prend la tangente. Que la guitare soit électrique et sous effets ou qu’elle soit folk, Miguel réagit de la même façon. Il attrape une sourdine et débite un post-cool qui calme les algarades.

    Turbina Anthem n’en est pas moins pour autant un disque audacieux. Et véloce en plus de ça… Un disque de musique zen qui de temps en temps troque sa sérénité pour une rage de vivre bien plus urgente. Voilà donc un bel hymne.

  2. It’s almost a given that any new release on the Lithuanian No Business label is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. As the catalogue grows, so does its depth and breadth. Turbina Anthem vouchsafes that proposition, comprising an unusual guitar and trumpet duet by two Portuguese improvisers who deserve a wider audience. Trumpeter Sei Miguel boasts a discography stretching back to 1998 in the company of compatriots, but in recent years has made a number of appearances with American free guitarist Joe Morris, while his foil here, Pedro Gomes, appears to be a new voice on guitar. Together they create 14 short sound sculptures totaling some 50 minutes.

    On trumpet, Miguel takes an anti-virtuosic approach, alternating short phrases and sustained tones with a folkloric innocence. On the acoustic tracks, Gomes recalls Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti in his fragmented arpeggios and restrained melodicism, but when electrified, his vocabulary is one of odd twangs, long, held reverberations, and a scrabbling mass of crackles and distortion. Consequently it is the guitar which determines the overall ambience. Indeed, the density of the resultant soundscapes seems to increase through the set until, by “Bright Star Anyway,” Gomes is creating a virtually unbroken sonic backdrop. Thereafter the firestorm recedes back to the earlier levels, allowing more air into the mix on the remaining pieces.

    The stark contrast between the pastoral lyricism of the five “Pale Star” numbers, in comparison with the more determinedly abstract nature of the balance of the program, produces a slightly schizophrenic feel. The most extreme example comes at the start. On “The Pale Star I,” Miguel’s smeary pocket trumpet resembles a foghorn, resounding over a misty bucolic landscape, while on “Spoon,” his pitch becomes more uncertain, as it wanders through a nightmare environment of short circuiting sparks, crashes of indeterminate source and violent distorted guitar slashes.

    It’s a barebones affair, where each man’s separate lines take a parallel course but don’t overtly relate to one another. Nonetheless, there is something about the relative weight and placement of each sound that makes this set a curiously engaging and singular experience.

  3. The free improv duet tends to bring out the musical personalities of the participants in bolder relief than an ensemble set. It’s more than just a matter of the increased exposure a smaller number of voices affords; it’s also a matter of the two-way conversational dialogues that can develop, with each soloist responding to the interaction more directly and immediately. Like a good two-person conversation brings out the thoughts and speech-patterns of the speakers to perhaps their best advantage, so it can be in free improv duets.

    So that is at least on Turbina Anthem (No Business NBCD 29), a new release that features Sei Miguel on pocket trumpet and Pedro Gomes on mostly electric guitar. Here are two players that stand out by bringing an electric-noise guitar element into close conjunction with post-Don-Cherry out bugle-call aesthetic.

    Both players stay in their own zone throughout. But by the contrast and the judicious use of brief silences, they establish a two-in-one space so personal and original that by the end of the disk you feel you know the players as individual musical speechifiers, not generic new thingers of a semi-anonymous sort.

    Pedro detunes, scratches out abstract oaths, and alternates pitch, noise and electronic distortion in ways that continually play against the fragile, insistent and dancing intervallic skips of Sei Miguel’s brassiness. As you listen to Sei Miguel on this disk you realize that what at first sounds random is really more thematic in a very expanded sense. He favors certain intervals and their repetition in such a manner that it makes for an interesting response to Pedro’s noise clusters. But just when you think you’ve figured out what will happen for the rest of the disk, something changes it up. For example when Pedro switches to acoustic guitar and coaxes from the instrument some gently arpeggiated or simultaneously sounded clusters.

    It goes without saying that this recording will not appeal to everybody. Those patient and open to out aural spaces will perhaps like me grow to like hearing the dialogic logic of this particular brand of freedom unfold over the course of the record. After hearing Turbina Anthem a few times I felt that I could recognize these players fairly readily in a kind of blindfold test if I were to hear them on other future recordings. That IS what it’s all about. No Business releases this in a limited 500 copy edition, so grab a copy now before they go. I’ve added a No Business link to this page in case you feel the urge to do so.

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