Saturday, July 17, 2021

Luís Lopes Lisbon Berlin Quartet - Sinister Hypnotization (Clean Feed Records, 2021)

Guitarist and composer Luis Lopes' Berlin Quartet is a forward thinking powerhouse of a band that takes no prisoners in terms of group interplay and adventurous presentation. The ensemble is rounded out with Rodrigo Pinheiro on fender rhodes electric piano, Robert Landfermann on bass with effects and Christian Lillinger on drums. The band exercises their music with fast power, scalding guitar lines which meets up with tight bass, bowed and amplified through pedals, along with kaleidoscopic keyboards and dynamic drumming. The opening track “Identification” uses bowed bass to build abstract sounds which provide a base for swirling guitar feedback and drumming that grows in volume, creating a fantasia of hypnotic sounds. A hot free sounding full band improvisation takes place on “O Andróide que Sonhava Ser Humano,” with knotty electric guitar playing and crisp drumming, as the music sizzles and pops like a grill on a hot summer day. Charged particles of electric sound burst forth from the group in an exciting manner. Amped bass and heavy drum beats push the group closer to the conclusion as Lopes guitar issues sparks and flares that keep the music going all the way to the end. “Sinister Hypnotization” uses eerily twisting electronics and percussion, while electric piano and skittish drumming improvising together causes the music to get more spacious and pointillistic. The bass adds bowed accents, before turning to a super fast plucked style as Lopes’ guitar enters with stark, piercing tones. This builds to a tightly wound collective improvisation for the band, stretching out, and led by some storming guitar playing. Wild squalls of amplified bow in overdrive open “Berlin Line (Picture of Berlin in Three Movements)” with spirals of sound, waves of guitar, and insistent bass. Choppy relentlessness of motion and great full group interplay work well as the group is kneading the sounds into constantly interesting colors and shapes. This album worked quite well overall, with each of the musicians creating and sharing within the full band structure, ebbing and flowing dynamically as the improvisations develops. The Berlin Quartet is another excellent Luis Lopes project that deserves a chance for further development both live and on disc. Sinister Hypnotization -

Send comments to Tim.