I know Hallkvist's work from his album 'Return To Centre' and through his collaboration with Yazz Ahmed...he is singular. This trio is high calibre and clued in; interesting combination - twin guitars/sax & flute...they all come at it from differing standpoints, I think, but meet up and centre with great regard for each other...
It begins with a lone saxophone sketching a gentle, cyclical pattern. Soon its delicate sound is blurred by distant, noisy, guitars. Suddenly, for a brief second, one guitar plays a riff that brings to mind Jimmy Page’s killer one from ‘Black Dog’, and then this dense mix of sounds evaporate in a sweet atmospheric haze.
Portuguese saxophone and flute player Paulo Chagas, Swedish, Denmark-based guitarist Samuel Hällkvist and Danish guitarist Stephan Sieben are coming from different schools of improvisation. Chagas experiments with non-idiomatic free improvisation, Hällkvist focuses on the post-rock, post-fusion formats and Sieben explores noisy terrains. The essence of this improvising trio meeting is the search for a common, expansive sonic ground. The explorative search itself, with its inevitable difficulties, tension, frictions and much needed leaps of faith.
It demands trust, great sensitivity to sound and detail and obviously, healthy doses of creativity. These are necessary tools but more is needed to turn such an emphatic, improvising meeting of strong individuals into an exceptional, poetic one. Chagas, Hällkvist and Sieben know what it takes They have an urgent need to trespass their sonic envelope again and again, a desire to experience with the unknown, to express their immediate instincts. Their shared musical language is not shy from elements of danger, even violence.
As the pieces develop, you realize that this trio has formed its own identity - strong, rough and edgy. Its improvisations offer nuanced layers of sounds, incorporate eclectic elements of many genres and styles. But these immediate pieces never subscribe to any conventions. Tension is built and released but never in a linear manner. Still, these pieces rock with intense energy, its colorful topographic textures shine.
Hällkvist was the one who envisioned this trio. Chagas invited him to his MIA (Encontro de Música Improvisada) Festival in Atouguia da Baleia, Portugal in May 2014. Hällkvist suggested that that they will meet again, few months later, this time with Sieben. The three began to play in Chagas hometown Peniche and continued in a performances in Lisbon. These encounters were recorded, and later was mixed by David Torn, an exceptional guitarist in his own right, proving that some days are more than other days.
released December 9, 2016
Paulo Chagas, alto saxophone, flute
Samuel Hällkvist, guitar
Stephan Sieben, guitar
mixed & produced by David Torn, cell labs east, NY
all music by Chagas/Hällkvist/Sieben
recorded at TubeAmpSpot, Peniche, Portugal october 2014 by Mauro Madeira, assisted by Pedro Rico
mastered by Paulo Curado
Wild West banjo players and square dancers just retired from a tour with the latter incarnation of King Crimson and moved to the countryside outskirts of post-modern Denmark after a short trip to Mars Samuel Hällkvist