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Pedro Melo Alves: Lumina


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Pedro Melo Alves: Lumina
If the title was not already taken by author Dave Eggers, Portuguese drummer and composer Pedro Melo Alves might have titled this recording A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. During a brief reprieve from the global pandemic, in November 2020, Melo Alves presented the 22-piece Omniae Large Ensemble at the Centro Cultural Vila Flor in Guimarães, Portugal. He expanded his Omniae Ensemble with vocalists, electronics, tuba, clarinets, flutes, bassoon, cello, and classical guitar to present this commissioned work.

The music is seemingly ever-changing and constantly defies categorization. It can be orchestral, free jazz, electronic, cinematic, noisy, classical with a minimalist presentation. However, it is anything but undisciplined and chaotic. In the mind of Melo Alves, all these constituent parts make up the whole of his sound. It is as if he has employed both a telescope and a microscope to focus on the universe of sound and also drill down into various nuclei components. The three lengthy compositions begin with "Ubi," and its rumbling low-end thunder. As the piece progresses, so a collective rhythm appears to develop an almost cinematic story. Melo Alves points his telescope to the heavens before returning to the minuscule, by featuring individual pieces and parts. A guitar solo plays over a wash of electronics, as small percussive pieces bloom. We zoom out and back again. Full orchestra gives way to individual flutes and saxophones, all part and parcel of Melo Alves' design.

The remaining two compositions "Phelia" and "Onírea" follow a similar design, but with different parts. One can follow and get lost in the experience, knowing that the composer and musicians always have an organizing principal with this music. It is both staggering and genius.

Track Listing

Ubi; Phelia; Onirea.


Pedro Melo Alves: drums; José Soares: saxophone, alto; Joao Carlos Pinto: electronics; Gelino Santana: trumpet; José Diogo Martins: piano; Mané Fernandes: guitar; Xavier Sousa: trombone.

Additional Instrumentation

Pablo Patiño Moledo: double bass; Clara Saleiro: flutes; Joao Pedro Brandao: flute, alto sax; Yedo Gibson: flute, sax, clarinet; Albert Cirera: saxophones; Frederic Cardoso: clarinet; Álvaro Machado: bassoon; Carlo Mascolo: trombone; Fábio Rodrigues: tuba; Luis Martins: classical guitar; Luis André Ferreira: cello; Alvaro Rosso: double bass; Mariana Dionísio: voice; Nazaré da Silva: voice; João Neves: voice; Diogo Ferreira: voice; João Miguel Braga Simões: percussion; Pedro Carneiro: musical director.

Album information

Title: Lumina | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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