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Nuno Costa: Detox

Mark Sullivan By

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Portuguese guitarist Nuno Costa is heavily involved in music for film—his Berklee College of Music major was Film Scoring—so it's not surprising that his music often has a cinematic quality. This includes dramatic episodic compositional structures as well as programmatic song titles. Detox is his third album, following (...) -Reticências entre Parênteses (2009) and All Must Go (2012).

The opener "Hum...?" contains the most electronic sounds on the album (courtesy of guitar effects), which contrasts with the mostly acoustic environment. It features pattern repetition—kind of a less frenetic version of Nik Bärtsch's Ronin—and a structure that sounds more composed than improvised. "Voando Sobre Um Ninho De Vespas (One Flew Over The Wasp's Nest)" is the first track in a trilogy inspired by a wasp's life. It doesn't sound especially wasp-like, but it's a striking melodic tune in the Pat Metheny vein. The long coda includes a lovely extended piano solo from óscar marcelino da graça, followed by solo space for the bass and trumpet. Costa also takes a long solo: if he seems more in the background than usual on a guitarist's date, it's only because the focus is more on his composing than playing.

Saxophonist João Guimarães gets his turn in the spotlight during "Sr. Puto (Mr Kido)" (an elegy to Costa's dog), gradually joined by the rest of the band in a group improvisation completely lacking the harshness often found in free playing. "A Vespa Contra—Ataca (The Wasp Strikes Back)" is distinguished by its striking, angular theme, as well as the lyrical guitar playing during the Intro. "Vespa: O Ataque Final (Wasp: The Final Attack)" completes the wasp's story. Aside from some ominous harmonies, it doesn't really sound much like an attack. The tone of the album really is well represented by the cover art: imaginative, gentle, even a bit whimsical at times. There's musical variety here, but it always leans toward the lyrical.

Track Listing: Hum...?; Voando Sobre Um Ninho De Vespas (One Flew Over The Wasp’s Nest); Sr. Puto (Mr Kido); A Vespa Contra – Ataca (Intro); A Vespa Contra – Ataca (The Wasp Strikes Back); Desespero Do Embalo (A Lullaby In Despair); Vespa: O Ataque Final (Wasp: The Final Attack).

Personnel: Nuno Costa: guitar; João Moeira: trumpet; João Guimarães: alto saxophone; Óscar M Graça: piano; Bernardo Moreira: double bass; Andre Sousa Machado: drums

Title: Detox | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

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