Luis Lopes (guitar) Luis Lopes (guitar)
Live in Madison (Ayler Records; 2013) Noise Solo (lpz Records; 2013)
Stefan Gonzalez (drums)
Aaron Gonzalez (bass)
Rodrigo Amado (sax)
This year we get treated with two distinct and very inspiring documents from guitarist, Luis Lopes.
Live in Madison features material from Lopes' Humanization Quartet and their two studio albums (Electricity and Humanization 4tet). The live dates as usual brings out more from an already improvisational group of musicians. But this time you can really feel the urgency in the music. In addition the attention to direct and fun in which the musicians would exude throughout the night.
One of the tracks from the original studio albums, "Big Love" has raw and fierce quality in this live setting. Amado and S. Gonzalez riff and explode with notes flying all over the place. Drawing counter to the subdue and quietly quick chords both Lopes and A. Gonzalez are illuminating in the background. While all improvised, they come together in a beautiful crash sound that steadies itself nicely in the closing minutes.
"Dehumanization Blues" has become the bedrock piece of their live performances. And here at the Madison show it's no different. Amado's long staccato notes in the beginning announce the forcefulness of the piece. This plays out well with each demonstration on grand scale how enormous this piece can get. I imagine this could almost be a twenty minute piece on its own. With varying improvised moment of its own.
Look for a new construction of sound, Luis Lopes tends to deliver every time. The intensity of the mid-section of "Dehumanization Blues" is a perfect jumping off point for Luis Lopes second release this year a completely solo project, Noise Solo.
Noise Solo is an experiment in the directions and deconstructions of sound, genre and perception. The vinyl only release is intriguing at its heart. And reflective upon conclusion. While based on the idea of noise, the album keeps a serene calm throughout the evening.
The opening movement is like a broken smoke detector being thrown down a well. There's static. There's chord changes. There's passages that are portraits in rock extreme and finally there's the element of adventure. In a similar notation that you have no idea what will come next, Luis Lopes delivers the unconventional solo album filled with found sounds and passage in progress.
But in the end--Noise Solo is something for the listener to determine on their own. It's an idea but also a free expression which will have a different effect on each listener. Not for the faint and heart. But rewarding for those who take the ride.
With Live In Madison and Noise Solo, Luis Lopes has demonstrated two aspects of his arsenal that I've always enjoyed. The sense of creative musical thought and excellent collaboration. Two exciting new records well worth your investment. Get out there and pick them up.