Tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado’s group The Attic consists of Goncalo Almeida on bass and newcomer Onno Govaert on drums, and this album was recorded live at the Summer Bummer Festival in Antwerp in August of 2018. The track “Walking Metamorphosis” opens the show in a slow and languorous manner allowing space for dialogue among the instruments as long tones of slow burning tenor saxophone, buoyant bass and jabs of drums gradually build a deeper collective improvisation. Crisp cymbal play with leaping saxophone and deep anchoring bass set the pace for the performance. Amado lays out briefly allowing for a brief bass solo framed by drums before re-entering and coalescing the group into a spare and delicate improvisation.
The group then shifts the dynamics of the performance, allowing the speed and tone of the music to increase, with upper register squeals from the saxophone adding sparkles of color to the proceedings, leading to squalls of raw sound building to a roaring climax and a drum fueled conclusion. The trio goes on a deep journey on “Free For All” as the bowed bass builds a compelling soundstage, meeting long tones of saxophone calling out into the void, buzzing in vivid color as the percussion stealthily glides in. They work with drones and extreme sounds of raw and rending saxophone and grinding bass that invokes feelings of dread but also a sense that there are no boundaries and anything is possible.
The wonderfully played bowed bass continues to swirl as the drums and saxophone orbit, growing louder and more forceful, leading to a spirited free improvisation that concludes the piece. “Aimless at the Beach” is the final track, with slow and spare saxophone opening low and quiet, soon accompanied by ghostly percussive textures that allows the air to flow smoothly around their instruments. Thick and bulbous sounding bass completes the scene, soon moving to dexterous bowing as the drums pick up pace and drive the trio into a higher gear.
Free range saxophone, with quicksilver bass and dynamic percussion make for a potent unit, pushing into faster and freer territory with scalding saxophone leading the three way blowout and summing up and excellent recording with power and dexterity. The dynamic range of the group's music and possibilities inherent in the textures that each member of the group can achieve are very impressive and lead to a very successful album.
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