“Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, Bottom” reviewed by Musique Machine

This bizarrely entitled album is another fevered and improvised trip into musical and sound from the minds of the @c (Miguel Carvalhais and Pedro Tudela)- it’s a dense mix of rhythmic elements, field recording, modern classical and avant jazz textures, electronic elements, noise and of course improv- having been quite taken by their De-Tour collaboration from last year with Vitor Joaquim I had high hopes for this.

Through out this mainly homes in on the more manic and dense side of their work with sadly none of the tense and almost suffocating feel of De-Tour present here. The pair layer up all manner of rhythmic matter, field recordings, electronic textures, stretched voice elements and musically side lines and it often feels quite big and cinematic in it presence. Sure it’s strange, manic and otherworldly but it feels often too dense, too over loaded in its sound make up, so as a result interesting sonic elements seemed to get drowned or brushed aside in the storm of sound. Sometimes improvised music, Musique concrete and experimental music can become too clever, too muilt-layered for it own good and that what’s happened here. The pair seem to be concentrate so much on detailing and painting up the sound layers that they just about stripped all the atmosphere, entertainment and sonic wonder from the album.

I really tried to like this as I’d been so taken by De-Tour , but sadly I just keep return to feeling that it’s just too dense and trying to be clever for it’s own good. Sure it’s impressive in its construction, depth and density of sound but emotional it just so flat and unappealing

Roger Batty

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