Big Bold Back Bone – Emerge


Marco von Orelli trumpet
Luìs Lopes electric guitar
Travassos analog electronics
Sheldon Suter drums

All compositions by Big Bold Back Bone (SUISA)
Recorded: November 29th & 30th 2015 at Studio Namouche, Lisbon by Joaquim Monte

Mastered by Hannes Kumke | Design and artwork by Travassos
Released January 2018 by Wide Ear Records (WER 028)



Emerge! Wynurzanie! – Big Bold Back Bone by spontaneous music tribune (29. nov. 18)

Czas na wynurzenie! Tu, czynione w siedmiu odcinkach. Sceneria startu jest następująca – niskie drony, mała trąbka z czystym brzmieniem, szumy, stopa perkusji, spokojny, nieinwazyjny flow narracji. Wyższy dron, tuż potem, rodzi się na gryfie gitary. Dźwięki sączą się, niczym ciepła krew z jeszcze żywego trupa. Urocze, konsekwentne, masywne. Akt drugi – gitarowe, metaliczne, molekularne intro. Wsparcie idzie wprost z kabli, meta zachowania trąbki i perkusji. Milknące syczenie, dotyk werbla. Stylowa narracja in extenso. Trzeci fragment wzbudza dubowo brzmiąca gitara. Trąbka nieśmiało spogląda w kierunku historii jazzu. Szorstkie, lepkie szumy tuż pod nią. Choć drummer nie daje rytmicznej bazy, cała narracja toczy się nad wyraz dynamicznie, zapalczywie i namiętnie. W dalszej części perkusja włącza się jednak do gry i rysuje narrację, oliwi tryby maszyny. Trąbka nadal czyści przestrzeń studia. Czwarty epizod – mały industrial na dobry początek. Trąbka snuje małe drony, reszta drży, stoi w miejscu i złorzeczy. Gitara wydobywa się na front, perkusja preparuje na werblu. Ta pierwsza budzi moc psychodelii, podczas gdy tło skwierczy na przypalonych kablach. Na finał trąbka jęczy niczym kot, ale nie napotyka na zrozumienie. Co innego perkusja… Piąty akt – gitara sprzęga się sama ze sobą, trąbka szuka brudu w brzmieniu (nareszcie!), drummer kreuje dynamiczną sytuację sceniczną – dobry free improve z jazzowym drive’em. Świetny moment! Szósty – gitara brnie bardziej konwencjonalnie, sporo elektroakustyki w powietrzu, preparacje trąbki i perkusjonalii. Drobny dysonans estetyczny – zdaje się, że ciekawiej dzieje się w obszarze elektroniki, niż akustyki. Ostatni epizod startuje w poziomu werbla i talerzy. Niebanalna trąbka, trochę mantry i rockowego szlifu ze strony gitary. Pogłos zza światów. Muzycy zdają się porzucać elektroniczne inkrustacje, ale to nie jest chyba najtrafniejszy wybór. Płyta kończy się w nieco zbyt oczywisty sposób, jakby Travassos dostał przedwcześnie wolne. Na wybrzmieniu trąbka czyni jednak samo dobro.

Big Bold Back Bone – Emerge (Wide Ear Records, 2018)

By Derek Stone

Last year, Big Bold Back Bone released the perplexing and astonishing In Search of the Emerging Species. In that recording, the quartet scraped away the melodic and tonal associations of their respective instruments, often with unrecognizable results – Marco von Orelli’s trumpet became a sputtering tubule, a brassy extension of the lungs. Sheldon Suter’s prepared drums were a degraded pulse. Luis Lopes’s electric guitar crackled and fizzed. Travassos applied electronic noise in subtle strokes. That album revealed a group that was eager to tap into the raw physicality of the instrumentation they possessed; trumpets, guitars, drums, and analog electronics became alien artifacts that the players seemed to approach with equal parts curiosity and hesitation.
Emerge, the group’s newest outing, finds them taking a similar, if more expansive, approach. One of the biggest changes lies in the presentation itself; instead of releasing one long track, they have split the album into several shorter ones. In Search of the Emerging Species (and it’s single track “Immerge”) was definitely not the most varied outing – nor did it need to be. With Emerge, on the other hand, the group have wisely decided to take a different approach, with the result that now they have given themselves the freedom to draw from different tonal palettes. While “Immerge” was a long-form exploration, with all the detours and circular movements that that implies, Emerge seems to be driven along by a more narrative flow.
As before, the players often seem to treat their instruments as bodily appendices, to be manipulated, fumbled with, and, at times, forced into odd contortions and tonal shapes. There are some surprises this time around, however. On “Tidings,” for instance, over an ominous wash of electronic scrapes and muffled percussion, von Orelli undertakes a brisk bebop solo. It’s jarring, like finding some decayed trace of human culture (a statue overgrown with moss, perhaps) in an otherwise barren wasteland. On the final piece, “Ground Found,” he takes a similar tack, darting minnow-like through the clouds of ink stirred up by Suter’s thunderous percussion, Lopes’s siren calls, and Travassos’s muted whirls.
On other pieces, Big Bold Back Bone embrace the throbbing and minimal physicality that they utilized so well on their first release. “Silent Stream,” the opener, stays true to its title. Beneath von Orelli’s searching lines, Travassos’s electronics and Lopes’s guitar churn together, a pitch-black morass. “Sealust” cuts through this frothing mix of tones and textures and allows for the individual elements to be better discerned: Suter’s arrhythmic and clattering percussion, for instance, sounds like seashells being strewn along a rocky shore, while Von Orelli avoids full-throated phrasings entirely, opting instead for quiet gasps and spurts.
Compared to the quiet intensity of the aforementioned pieces, the brief “Tentaculita” sounds absolutely gargantuan. Jagged shards of guitar and nervy, stop-start percussion propel the track forward; Travassos’s electronics shift tectonically underneath, while von Orelli veers between caustic expulsions and jittery cries. If the other pieces on Emerge came from trenches and geysers, “Tentaculita” is the sound of approaching the surface – predators and prey locked in a brutish dance. In its wake, “Mergulhador” (Portuguese for “diver”) is almost sublime. Lopes takes on a more skeletal and laconic approach, allowing Suter to fill up the empty space with loose clacks and peals that, despite how sparse they are, conjure up a great deal of tension. Von Orelli, meanwhile, offers up lines that are (for this recording, anyway) uncharacteristically melodious – they bob along in buoyant repose, belying the immense pressures underneath.

Emerge is sure to entrance fans of Big Bold Back Bone’s previous album, and it’s likely to win new fans as well. While it is by no means a turn towards accessibility, it is more digestible – perhaps due to the choice by the band to tackle shorter, more concise movements. Despite these “bite-sized” pieces, however, there is a sense of cohesion underlying the individual tracks, along with a sensation that you are being propelled forward by some ineluctable current. At the end, you may not feel that you’ve reached any destination at all – but you’re likely to find that the ride was well worth it.

par Franpi Barriaux // publié le 13 mai 18

Big Bold Back Bone – Emerge

Avec Cloud Clues, le précédent album de Big Bold Back Bone (BBBB), nous découvrions dans la rencontre de deux scènes radicales de la musique improvisée européenne (la Suisse et le Portugal) une expression aride et ultra-sensible : des paysages aériens où la guitare de Luis Lopes rivalisait avec les trompettes de Marco Von Orelli, l’instigateur de ce quartet. On connaît le premier pour ses interventions écorchées et sa maîtrise de l’influx électrique  ; quant au second, on se rappelle son souffle fertile au sein du Marco von Orelli 5. Ici, même si « Tentaculita  » permet de retrouver leur marque de fabrique dans un morceau très nerveux où le batteur Sheldon Sutter vient ajouter de la pierraille, c’est un paysage plus sombre qui est investi par l’orchestre. Ce n’est pas forcément pour de funestes raisons : le tintinnabulis de « Sealust  », tout autant produit de la batterie que des inventions des machineries de Travassos, est plutôt empli de quiétude. Si la lumière est absente de Emerge, c’est parce que le biotope de BBBB se niche dans les abysses.

Les créatures croisées, dont chaque plage pourrait être un portrait, font preuve d’un sacré instinct de survie dans un milieu si hostile et désertique. « Tidings  » illustre ainsi la vivacité d’une trompette insaisissable dans le remous turbide des crissements et des étincelles. On ignore, sauf à se concentrer beaucoup, si les griffures du son, léger comme l’onde, sont le propre de Lopes ou de Travassos, qui signe également l’illustration [1] de pochette de cet album sorti sur le label Wide Ear Records. Peu importe, d’ailleurs, puisque c’est l’alchimie collective qui alimente cette expérience organique très brute. En témoigne le presque immobile « Facing Extinction  », où la trompette à coulisse semble avancer à tâtons dans un brouillard indéfinissable et aux allures parfois post-apocalyptiques.

Comme pour poursuivre l’expérience dans l’agitation permanente de l’infiniment petit, BBBB sort simultanément sur le même label In Search Of Emerging Species, composé d’une seule improvisation de près de 45 minutes sur le même thème. Paradoxalement, alors que le temps n’est plus compté, comme un passage soudain à l’infiniment grand, le jeu de von Orelli se dilue, ne revenant qu’à la toute fin à un souffle plus chatoyant. Le propos se fait inquiétant, laissant davantage de place à Sutter et s’offrant un relief supplémentaire. Il ne s’agit pas d’en trouver un supérieur à l’autre : les disques sont complémentaires. Deux faces d’une exploration intense des chimères imaginées par des artistes qui savent les rendre palpables et formidablement réelles.

Jazz’n’More  Nr. 03/2018

Percorsi Musicali
Pensieri sulla musica contemporanea / Thoughts on contemporary music

domenica 13 maggio 2018 by Ettore Garzia

Sono plurimi i motivi d’interesse utili per sondare la musica del batterista svizzero Sheldon Suter. Il primo è strettamente strumentale e riguarda la specialità dei rapporti con i partners: Suter ha costituito un suo progetto, il quartetto di Big Bold Back Bone, in cui ha sistemato l’operato di altri tre musicisti che hanno già una loro storia conclamata alle spalle; il trombettista Marco Von Orelli viene sfruttato nella parte più sperimentale del suo strumento, all’elettronica sintetica Sheldon si avvale di Travassos, musicista e design grafico riconoscibile per essere il creatore delle copertine di buona parte dei cds della Clean Feed, mentre l’altro portoghese è Luis Lopes, chitarrista anomalo, conosciuto per le sue collaborazioni con la crema dell’improvvisazione portoghese (Rodrigo Amado, Sei Miguel, etc.).

Le modalità con cui scoprire Suter e i Big Bold Back Bone sono contenute nell’ascolto di due cds recentemente pubblicati dalla sussidiara della Clean Feed, l’etichetta shhpuma; si tratta di In search of the emerging species e di Emerge. La peculiarità di Suter sta nella cattura di una sorta di iper realismo surrettizio ricavabile dalle conformazioni musicali prodotte, in cui il ruolo del batterista perde peso a favore di una svolta verso specifici lidi dell’aggregato sonoro.

In Search of the emerging species, le parti metalliche e percussive fanno sentire tutto il loro ardore, contribuendo alla creazione di suoni poltiglia, che potrebbero simulare molte cose; un’unica e lunga improvvisazione libera di 42 minuti, dal titolo programmatico (Immerge), vi trasporta in addensamenti neurali che l’immaginazione potrebbe classificare come ambasciatori di una realtà trasfigurata, dove ciò che si intuisce potrebbe essere una parte di un tutto (è un’analisi che può essere fatta seguendo un canone di riconoscimento per suoni che proiettano il cinguettio degli uccelli oppure ferri a vapore che vengono fatti scaricare). C’è una confluenza della parte attribuita a ciascun musicista, una ricerca di suoni organizzata per imporre condensazioni sonore sugli oggetti e nei contatti, dove la tecnica estensiva la fa da padrona e la movimentazione, con dinamiche più o meno fascinose, regge costantemente in tensione. Si potrebbe dire che la visione musicale è portata ad un confine incredibilmente non netto tra propensione naturalistica e concretezza.
In Emerge le percussioni rivelano un suono granitico e la progressione ritmica è acusticamente vicina all’effetto di un chiudersi di porte, una pluralità che si accompagna ad una sorta di sfasamento implicito dell’impianto libero profuso dai quattro musicisti. Lopes (con distorsioni e linee singole), Travassos (con il compattamento dell’ambiente sonoro) e Von Orelli (quasi sempre in accento deformativo) lavorano su una sorta di surrealismo sonoro che ha le sue connotazioni e le sue attitudini. E’ così che la lezione di Varese non è la sola presente in Facing extinction, dove un climax disturbato accoglie una selva di suoni sodomizzati effettuati su corda o su percussioni, di contro ad una tromba che strepita, polemizza o denuncia. Il rapporto di vicinanza a Miles Davis è confuso, così come sorprendenti sono l’impianto ritmico di Tentaculita, che nasconde un’aderenza quasi punk o il drumming giocato da Sheldon su tamburo o rullante in Ground Found, un “su di giri” che sembra fare brutte previsioni e dove la tromba di Von Orelli segnala pazzia ed acidità.

Non è causale fare un riferimento ai disegni di Travassos, che da più parti vengono considerati slegati dal contenuto musicale; in realtà l’aspetto kafkiano delle copertine, che ritraggono disegni di animali o uomini fantasticamente ricomposti, accetta la prospettiva naturalistica di Sheldon e dei suoi musicisti, una forma di coesistenza tra il reale e il visionario, che è un misto di semplicità, irrazionalità, banalità o ritorno al ricordo fanciullesco, che in molti vedono come il vero insegnamento dell’umanità. Trovare un’equilibrio di pensiero e di comportamento nelle varie combinazioni degli aspetti complessi o semplici della vita.

3/5/2018 –

Big Bold Back Bone: si tratta di un quartetto misto svizzero (il batterista Sheldon Suter e il trombettista Marco von Orelli) portoghese (il chitarrista Luis Lopes e il manipolatore elettroacustico Jorge Trindade, in arte Travassos, quest’ultimo è anche il grafico della Clean Feed. “Emerge” è il terzo disco dell’ensemble e fa seguito a un altro CD su Wide Ear Records e a un lavoro gemello pubblicato su Shhpuma (sussidiaria della Clean Feed). La musica è un eccelso connubio fra improvvisazioni jazz ed elettroacustiche.
Mi fermo qui, anche perché ho dato una serie di punti di riferimento fondamentali a partire dai quali ognuno può effettuare ulteriori ricerche (a partire dal vituperato, ma purtroppo essenziale, you tube dove si possono visualizzare esibizioni concertistiche di tutte e tre le formazioni trattate in questa recensione).

April 18th 2018 / –> Chain D.L.K.

The idea that a record can be the anti-epos of another one is quite fascinating and interesting. According to the description by the artists-run Wide Ear label, “Emerge” could be considered so against its musical twin “In Search Of The Emerging Species” (released by Portuguese label Shhpuma). Both of them got recorded in the same studio session in Lisbon and they last the same time (approximately 43 minutes), even if the latter featured only one immersive track (titled “Immerse”), while “Emerge”‘s length has been split into seven shorter tracks. I only listened to some parts of “In Search Of The Emerging Species”, and to be honest, the approach to the sound of “Emerge” sounds quite similar to me, in spite of the above mentioned differences. Both of them have been filled by drone-like sonic streams, roughly structured and performed in a way that could let you think the four members of Big Bold Back Bone (Marco von Orelli on trumpet and slide trumpet, Sheldon Suter on prepared drums, Luis Lopes on electric guitar and other objects, and Travassos on electronics) never played their instruments before, as if they were mysterious artifacts they found on the bottom of the depths they explored during their search for emerging species. The amalgamation they made often sounds like an easy debriding of fibrous tissues, where just some instrumental elements seem to have been completely resurfaced (Marco’s trumpet on “Silent Stream” or “Tidings” or some shell-like percussions on “Sealust”). Electronics and percussions sometimes evoke the removal of water or air infiltration of some submarine vehicle after an immersion and can mirror other mysterious technical maintenance following an immersion and any related issue. If you consider this record in this way, you can also explain the reason why the last track “Ground Found” is the one which sounds more vaguely musical of this gradual surfacing.

Bad Alchemy 98 by Rigobert Dittmann, April 6th 18
JazzFlits Nr. 295 / 2. April 2018 / Herman te Loo
26.2.18   Gin & Platonic

Big Bold Back Bone – Emerge

Jaké to asi je, ocitnout se na jiné planetě a najít předměty, jejichž účel je vám naprosto neznámý? Nejspíš takové artefakty ohmatáte, zkusíte s nimi manipulovat, ale jejich funkční mechanismus vám pravděpodobně zůstane navždy utajen. Přesto se však můžete dobrat zajímavého výsledku. Asi takhle přistupují Big Bold Black Bone ke svým nástrojům.

Emerge je vlastně dvojčetem loňské skvělé a radikální desky In Search of the Emerging Species. Obě nahrávky vznikly během lisabonské session v listopadu 2015. Na obou hrají čtyři muzikanti – Marco von Orelli (trubka), Luis Lopes (kytara a objekty), Travassos (elektronika), Sheldon Suter (preparované bicí) – kteří prozkoumávají hranice toho, jak ještě lze hudební nástroj použít. Povědomé zvuky se objeví jen párkrát, o to silněji však zarezonují. Jako když někde tam daleko ve vesmíru zahlédnete známou tvář. V okamžiku je ale pryč a vy zas musíte putovat neznámou krajinou.

Nějak tak by zřejmě zněly i field recordings z podobného místa. „Přírodní a industriální“ zvuky a textury do sebe prosakují, reagují spolu a tvoří stále novou sonickou hmotu – jen se jí poddat a nechat se pohltit.

Letošní Emerge je oproti předchůdci přístupnější. Pokud lze v tomto případě užívat tyto pojmy, je daleko melodičtější a rytmičtější, mnohem méně pracuje s tichem a také má jasně oddělené části. Zkrátka popík jak vyšitý… teda, pokud jste stále na té cizí planetě. ©siderorea