Somewhere on a timeline that includes studying guitar in Madrid and architecture in Boston, Portuguese native Abdul Moimême studied saxophone with American artist Patrick Brennan. Moimême has been prolific as part of almost two-dozen leader/co-leader releases since his debut Nekhephthu (Creative Sources, 2008). Brennan is lightly recorded with four leader dates over the past two decades. What they have in common is a penchant for free improvisation and unusual constructs, physical and aural. Terraphonia is the pair's first recorded collaboration.
Several years ago, Brennan told All About Jazz "I'm never very satisfied with describing music...." More recently, Moimême told this publication something in a similar vein: "My work...lends itself to being perceived as a 'soundscape.' I don't intend it as such...." Not surprisingly, the seven spontaneous pieces on Terraphonia defy clarification, let alone categorization. Brennan's alto saxophone is enigmatic and abstract; Moimême's guitarsof his own designare played together, with bow, mallet, or hand, and prepared with various objects. The interaction between musicians is not any easier to explain than the music itself. Moimême's guitars behave as completely foreign devices; the territory they occupy is no more familiar than the instruments. Who is pushing, who pulling, becomes a debatable point.
The title track and "Nilch'i . Telespire . Nilch'i" are the two opening pieces, each exceeding eleven-minutes. The first has Moimême generating industrial noise, and Brennan dodging melodies before they can take hold. The saxophonist comes closerin a fragmented manneron "Nilch'i . Telespire . Nilch'i," where Moimême creates an amazing array of percussive effects. Brennan provides tangible phrases on "Ndụ Enweghị Ihe Abụọ / No Two" as he overrides the guitarist's humming buzz saw. The saxophonist's breakneck approach on "Gotabrilhar" suggests the opening of Albert Ayler's "Holy Ghost," and "Mycellerate" is a study of near silence and penetrating commotion, coexisting in close quarters.
Terraphonia is often intense, with even the occasional stillness having a penetrating effect. Moimême and Brennan are different types of virtuosic free players but they flawlessly combine their individual maneuvers into shared creativeness. That is the quality that makes Terraphonia consistently intriguing and a challenging listen. Not an album for everyone, but one that will appeal to those with open ears and an enterprising spirit.
Terrafonia; Nilch'i . Telespire . Nilch'i; Ndụ Enweghị Ihe Abụọ / No Two; Gotabrilhar; Mycellerate; Tactiludic; Witness Ampersand.
Patrick Brennan: alto saxophone: Abdul Moimême: guitars, objects.
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