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Luís Lopes: Love Song: Post-Ruins

Mark Corroto By

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You may be familiar with the Robert Frost poem "Acquainted with the Night" from your high school literature class. Back then, what did you know of melancholy? Sure there was the darkness of adolescence, but also the possibilities. The poem, in 14 short lines, follows the same terza rima rhyme scheme as Dante's Divine Comedy ("In the midst of life's journey I found myself in a dark wood, for the right path was lost"), and also the same anguish. Guitarist Luís Lopes treads the same path as Dante and Frost and, like those two literary giants, finds an acceptance inside the sorrow.

Love Song: Post-Ruins, recorded live at Teatro Maria Matos in Lisbon, is a follow-up to his solo recording Love Song (Shhpuma, 2016). Like Frost's words "I have walked out in rain—and back in rain," it resumes the lugubrious trek of a desolate existence. Lopes, who is better known as a shredding force behind the Humanization 4tet, Big Bold Black Bone and Lisbon Berlin trio, turns inward to create these two intimate solo performances.

With the artist's liner instructions "to listen alone somewhere between after 1 o'clock in the morning and 1 hour before sunrise," you tacitly agree to walk Frost's "saddest city lane," dropping your eyes from every passerby. Lopes utilizes single notes that decay but never seem to become soundless. At this hour in the night, sound resonates differently than it might during the light of day. This single 37-minute track investigates loneliness and despair which only a person of years and experience can appreciate. Lopes is telling us that love can best be appreciated when you have known loss and that, as Frost tells us, "time was neither wrong nor right," this tribulation is but a fragment of the fabric of life.

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