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CD Feature/ Marcos Fernandes & Mike Pride: "A Mountain is a Mammal"

img  Tobias

You probably know the story about the chimpansee who was given ink and a pen and who re-wrote Beethoven’s nineth. Well, this album is something like that. Not that it sounds like Beethoven or that any of its participants ever intended it to. Nor would I want to compare Marcos Fernandes and Mike Pride to monkeys. And yet, at its heart lies a smilar process of using the infinite potential of an open mind to create an art free of any kind of pretentiousness.

This in itself is nothing new. For decades, musicians have tried to bring their trade back to life from a coma of pompous artificality. Marcos Fernandes might not be the most obvious example of how John Cage’s philosophy can work in practise (and quite probably the influence of the latter on the former can be neglected), but we’re pretty sure he could agree with Cage’s thirst for “realness”, his strife for an art which sought its inspiration in the events that immediately surround us, as well as with his famous bonmot: “You don’t have to call it music, if the term offends you”. Of course, only fools would mistake this for a total laisser-faire attitude. For last few years, Marcos has become ever more precise in formulating his distinct style on his own accretions label, mostly in conjunction with others. Depending on the constellation, the results were breathtakingly energetic (“Reverberations from Spring Past”) or totally out.of-this-world (“Haco Hans Jakob Marcos”). But the brief meeting he shared with Mike Pride in 2005 must have come closest to his ideal of freely flowing energies. For one night, they improvised and recorded, then reworked the material in a process of constant exchange and what has found its way to this disc is cannily tangible, stormily spontaneous and jumps from one corner of the room to next like a kangaroo inside a cardboard box. Electronics and Fernandes’ famous phonographies, which made for an important part of his recent jams, are now reduced to the background and merely reappear for the atmospheric finale “Is anything more than everything”, in which Pride counters the sizzling and frizzling frequencies with gurgling vocals. In the 27 minutes of the album’s core track, “A little more than dangerous”, all kinds of rhythmical instruments, metal plates and a glockenspiel stream from disentangled states into razorsharp grooves, frenzied battles and moments of bliss. It’s a daring enterprise and its nerve-wrecking intensity and defiance of any rules besides its own will make this a hard nut to crack for any genre-jugglers. We would like to meet the free jazz band which will allow only five minutes of this into their set.

Of course, neither producing senseless racket nor creating pumping beats are part of the intention. Please note: These two gentlemen are percussionists, not drummers and their art involves just as much physical sound treatment and gauging the sound potentials of their instruments as it does “being rhythmical”. Maybe they wouldn’t even mind if you thought that “A Mountain is a Mammal” sounded like two monkey beating their drumsticks at random. But much more than that, it sounds like a fresh wind blowing through a stuffy room, like not caring about what others may think. And like friendship.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Marcos Fernandes
Homepage: Mike Pride
Homepage: Accretions Records

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