Friday, August 31, 2012


Pao (trio)
Pao (Shhpuma Records/Clean Feed; 2012)
Travassos (electronics)
Pedro Sousa (sax)
Tiago Sousa (keyboards, percussion)

A very interesting debut for Portuguese trio, Pao. This is a dark, experimental and at times almost spiritual session, that is more than the sum of its parts. Structured by three long pieces, Pao demonstrates an ability to both calm and intrigue through a series of improvised pieces that still remain distinct and linear.

Opening quietly with gentle chimes and eerie electronic scratches/manipulation and one tone sax chords, "Gods Wait To Do Delight In You" establishes the path in which you are about to take. There are drones and effects that are dense yet mystical. The slow climb is similar in vein to The Necks or even more recently DMP Trio. Closing out "Gods..." is P. Sousa's haunting sax and Travassos' undulating electronics which are weirdly soothing.

"Dyson Tree" for me, had an almost Sunday morning church call to it. The effects of T. Sousa's keyboard provides an organ like operatic sound. While Pedro and Travassos inject an Eastern element into the mix as the tune moves towards it's middle lyrics. Rich and creative soundscapes happen throughout.

The closing number is my favourite. "It Was All Downhill After The Sling" is rough, gritty and beauty all at once, containing improvised lines that make you feel like your listening to session with Sonic Youth. The patterns never get overly loud. Pao manages to find a way to deconstruct and reorganize in a way that resonates long after the piece is over.

Pao is an exciting and highly creative trio from the new and continually adventurous Portuguese scene that is well worth your investigation. Sometimes you like to use the phrase "this won't be everyone's cup of tea"--but every once in a while I think everyone needs to be jarred out of their seat. Go buy this record! Highly Recommended!

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