Friday, August 16, 2019

Cat in a Bag - Cat in a Bag (Clean Feed, 2019)

Cat in a Bag is an exciting new group consisting of Bruno Figueira on saxophones and effects, Duarte Fonseca on drums, João Clemente on guitar and magnets and João Lucas and bass and effects. They are not afraid to take liberties with their music, melding free jazz, fusion, progressive and experimental rock to their crucible. Much of their work turns out to deal in texture and hues, allowing the music to develop through exploration and improvisation. Often a track will begin in one direction and then shape shift and morph into an new beast entirely. The group works very well together, weaving their own instruments and individual approaches into a collective whole and then patiently allowing the music to percolate as it does in the opening track, "Smiling as a Rite of Exorcism" where the band develops a distinctive flow that leads them to a stinging payoff several minutes into the track that is surprising to the listener but also very exciting as they lash out and use forward moving dynamics to drastically move their sound ahead. "Obscure Objects" heads in the same direction, with guitar and percussion achieving an ominous clanking and ghostly rhythmic scratching, dragging chains like a specter across the sound of the track while the saxophone alternatively offers savage wails or pained asides. Starting with a thoughtful and pleasant melody, "Beauty Melted in Secret" builds to a more savage mid-section with stellar electric guitar playing ripping at the scenery and crisp but subtly played percussion keeping a chugging rhythmic line going throughout the performance. There are interjections of saxophone that add to the unnerving nature of the piece and tangled webs of melded instruments as if it were all some kind of collective dreamscape. "The Decay of Manners" is the lengthiest track of on the album, beginning with interesting juxtaposition between snarls of electric guitar and high pitched saxophone playing with active drumming making sure everything is on the move. They double down and really start to dig deep creating a very compelling collective improvisation of scalding guitar, bright saxophone reaching out for long wails and tones and stoic heavy drumming. Slowing down to an open experimental section of electronic tones weaving all around then blasting right into the following tune "The Blind Art Collector." Manic free jazz at it's most thrilling in interspersed with sections of open eerie electronic growling feedback. The electric guitar is clearly the focal pint here as the other instruments weave in and out of the sound stage, framing and engaging with this snarling beast. This album worked quite well, and this group has a unique sound and approach to the music they are building. Hopefully they will be able to stay together as a unit and produce more music soon. Cat in a Bag -

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