At a time of decreasing bird populations throughout the world—one in four birds has perished since the 1970s—comes this beautiful tribute to composer Olivier Messiaen, who loved birdsong and notated and used it throughout his music. (The album’s cover art is a bird collage, of sorts.) Portuguese pianist Daniel Bernardes leads a trio including double bassist António Augusto Aguiar and drummer Mário Costa, abetted by Portugal’s Drumming GP: Miquel Bernat on marimba and percussion; Jeff Davis on vibraphone and percussion; João Dias on glockenspiel and percussion; and Pedro Góis on vibraphone and percussion.
Great skill is obviously required to make these many threads mesh, and Bernardes is up to the task, transforming the trio’s underlying lushness with bracing percussion voices that dart over the arrangements in broad, zigzagging shapes. The disc’s five songs are alternately beautiful and invigorating; they race and collide, caress and shock, like a whip made of cotton and ice.
On “19,” ambient chords are offset by chunky rhythms executed on wood blocks, marimba, and drum set, followed by Bernardes’ piano comping and further glock/vibraphone embellishment. “Bolero” oozes the dance rhythm in slow motion, before an abrupt percussion break intrudes and the dance continues. Interlocking rhythms and modulations pulsate freely in “Globular Clusters,” a call and response of hammered sections amid tranquil space. The simple chords of “Sobre Kieslowski I” form a bed over which circular percussion lines dance and spin like a mad chandelier. “Ostinato, Interlúdio e Canção V” closes the album in hypnotic Reichian mode, chattering percussion beating off-time counterpoint scenarios.
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