Label/Year: Robalo Music, 2017
Lineup - André Matos: guitar.
Portuguese guitarist André Matos has been a regular presence on the ‘scene’ since he moved to New York in 2006 after graduating from the New England Conservatory.
He thenceforth had the chance to record/perform with illustrious musicians such as Tony Malaby, Thomas Morgan, Leo Genovese, Jacob Sacks, Billy Mintz, Noah Preminger, Colin Stranahan, and Masa Kamaguchi, just to name a few.
After last year’s All the Dreams recorded in duo with his wife, the vocalist and composer Sara Serpa, he’s back with an intimate solo album entitled Múquina, released on the Portuguese label Robalo Music.
With an enveloping sound modulated by gorgeous effects, Matos begins the harmonious journey with the title track whose soft textures and pacific sound waves are comforting and moving.
“Força da Natureza” is made of the same nature but more verbalized, showcasing the sturdy technique of the guitarist.
My favorite track, “Malé”, is a hypnotic piece that flourishes with transcendent beauty, intriguing surroundings, and a bit of sadness. The emotion rises with the ascendant harmonic movements of the incisive finale.
Five of the fourteen tracks last less than two minutes, working as interludes. “MA” is one of the strongest, feeling like a lullaby whose passionate lyricism carries pronounced folk influences. The low-pitched drones of “Baixo Alentejo” are joined by sharp melodic contours, creating uncanny vibes that feel no less cinematic than the loose “European Film Scene”. Disruptive silences widen the space and deepen the scenario.
While “Horizontais” feels like a minimalistic exploration, “Cavalos Selvagens”, an old tune that actually gallops in its start, gets a more cerebral and less experimental approach than at other times.
The homogeneous Múquina glitters with lush, slow-motion soundscapes. The airy, meditative moods take us to a lenitive universe that opposes to the tense times living in the present world. Once there, you’ll find glimpses of Bill Frisell and Terje Rypdal, as well as pure reflections of Matos’ peace of mind.
01 – Múquina ► 04 – Malé ► 06 – Baixo Alentejo