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Jose Dias: After Silence, Vol. 1

Don Phipps By

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To take a single instrument—in this case, the guitar—and compose an album's worth of material that will both entertain and fascinate, is a tall order. But Jose Dias has done just that. Dias' album After Silence, Vol. 1 sports a cover showing a deep-sea diver emerging from a body of water, surrounded by sea gulls and ducks, a cover that captures perfectly the deep dive into sonics and feeling of emergence that comes from listening.

Dias doesn't overwhelm with pyrotechnics; instead he explores long ostinatos of chords, an almost minimalist approach. The music seems to float like reflections off a lake, dazzling with the subtle shifts in the rhythms and textures employed. One is taken by pieces like "Scattering Her Torn Pictures on the Floor" and "She Had a Light of Her Own," inside and outside one's consciousness—and at times it can be a bit disorienting. But this vertigo is quickly overcome by the sheer beauty expressed.

Dias' use of reverb helps add to the ethereal effect of the sound collages. And while there is a rhythm to the pieces—for example, the dance-like "The Flickering Image Will Not Go Away"—it is fluid. The rubato is never forced, it is simply deployed as necessary to advance the thematic elements. The harmonic structures seem cathedral-like, as though under-girding the nave of some ancient monastery. Even more, one can hear patterns in the music not unlike those one might visually experience while diving near a spectacular coral reef.

Dias also makes use of long legato notes that, while powerful, are not harsh. All of these effects, graceful as they are, combine to produce an introspective masterpiece. Like an oasis in a harsh and unforgiving landscape, the music on Jose Dias' After Silence, Vol. 1 will renew the soul.

Track Listing: Now He's the Hunter Now He's the One Being Hunted; She Had a Light of Her Own; The Flickering Image Will Not Go Away; The Dark Place Within; Your Toes, Your Feet, Your Legs; Whilst Deciding Whether He Should Kiss Her or Not; Scattering Her Torn Pictures on the Floor; The Men in Dark Suits Are Coming; The Light Could Almost Blind Him.

Personnel: José Dias: guitar and effects.

Title: After Silence, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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