Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Limbo Ensemble: Plebiscitu

The Limbo Ensemble
Plebiscitu (AudioTong; 2011)
Paulo Chagas (clarinet, field recording, electronics)
Karl Waugh (violin)
Fernado Simoes (trombone)
Bruno Duplant (bass)
Travis Johnson (cello)
Quincas Moreira (cello)
Paulo Durate (guitar)
Thomas Olsson (guitar)
Massimo Magee (trumpet)

Based on a series of individually recorded musicians combined with his own instrumentation, Paulo Chagas has constructed a unique and beautiful document in Plebiscitu. The music one hears lies on a different plane. In the same vein as recent minimalistic chamber music by Arszyn, Robert Kusiolek and even mid-period Kronos Quartet, Chagas probes and searches for sounds that have incongruity at heart but provide a sense of grey beauty.

The water atmospherics of "The Forgotten Echo" is wrapped and drenched in Chagas' clarinet and haunting string movements from Duplant and Waugh. "The Naked Ballerina" offers a small bit of Mideastern flavour while also exploring some interested soundscapes provided by Durate's guitar and Moreira's cello. There's a point very late in the piece where all the instruments rise in an extended crescendo that is just magnificent.

"Cherry Pits" sees Chagas taking up the oboe, with Duplant providing some very cool percussion. It's all improvised and has some humorous moments sprinkled across various sections. The double cello work on the closing number "The Book of Rejected Souls" is deep and powerful. Adding in Chagas' clarinet and field sounds sends the listener off with haunting after-effects.

I really loved taking the adventure with Plebiscitu. Paulo Chagas has done a terrific job of combining a mashup of sorts through various individual pieces put together into a harmonically dense chamber. Excellent stuff.

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