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Sferos: Set It Up As Silence

Jerome Wilson By

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Sferos is a trio of New York-based musicians—guitarist Juanma Trujillo, drummer Dayeon Seok and saxophonist Hery Paz. Their music is a blend of atmospheric textures and jazz-rock energy that bears a slight resemblance to the work of experimental guitarists like Terje Rypdal and David Torn but, at its best, has its own unique sound.

There are both aggressive and dreamy aspects to the group's music. One of the standout examples of their more ambient side is "Jungla," where a thick curtain of warped guitar sound is penetrated by sax moans and percussion thumps as it slowly increases tempo. "Prairie" has Trujillo bending windswept guitar notes around a strong ribbon of sax melody that constantly arcs higher and higher. "Clean" starts quietly with bass clarinet and guitar carefully walking around each other, then melding into a wheezing, harmonized lament as Seok rattles her drums and centers the music. Then Paz begins to blow really hard and deep while Trujillo goes on a raga-tinged psychedelic tear, creating a furious sound vortex that could pass for a vintage Grateful Dead jam.

The opening and closing tracks, "Caracter" and "Bosque Verde" have more of a forceful jazz-rock feel, largely due to Seok's sturdier rhythms. On "Caracter," her groove sets off a stormy duel between Trujillo's loud and bulging chords and Paz's unbroken line of sad melody. On "Bosque" she builds a distinctive cadence out of march fills and silences. Then her partners kick in with distorted guitar shreds and burrowing sax noise with everything eventually emerging as grinding progressive jazz-rock. Paz hammers overdubbed lines over the erratic drum patterns and Trujillo's guitar manipulation gets noisier and freakier. Then the music shifts through phases of spacey electronic whines, quiet folk guitar and a coda of sweet and sorrowful sax and guitar.

Some of the music here sounds much like many ECM releases in the prog-ambient field but "Caracter" and "Bosque Verde," in particular, have a bite and style that gives a fresh slant to the genre. All three of these young musicians are excellent players who really blend well together. Their experiments show great promise.

Track Listing

Caracter; Jungla; PG; Clean; Prairie; Sfero; Bosque Verde.

Personnel

Juanma Trujillo: guitar; Dayeon Sok: drums; Hery Paz: saxophone.

Album information

Title: Set It Up As Silence | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Falcon Gumba Records

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