The Selva is an improvisation unit featuring Lisbon-based Ricardo Jacinto and Nuno Morão on cello and drums, and Rotterdam-based Gonçalo Almeida on double bass.Formed in 2016, their music explores the intersections among its member´s wide musical spectrums, proposing a synthesis based on a live narrative construction introducing multi-idiomatic approaches.
Ricardo Jacinto : cello + electronics
Gonçalo Almeida : doublebass
Nuno Morão : drums
THE SELVA has played in different venues in Portugal and Europe:
Irreal, Lisboa PT
O´culto da Ajuda, Lisboa PT
Grémio Caldense, Caldas da Rainha PT
SMUP, Parede PT
Oficinas do Convento, Montemor-o-Novo PT
Het Bos (Orstoof) Antwerpen, BE
Tiefgarage, Köln, DE
Makroscope, Mulheim, DE
MS Stubnitz, Hamburg, DE
Koffie & Ambacht, Rotterdam, NL
Sabotage, Lisboa PT
Sonoscopia, Porto PT
Liceo Mutante, Pontevedra ES
Bétun, Tui ES
Gnration, Braga PT
Carmo 81, Viseu PT
Cantinho da Tuna, Sintra PT
DAMAS, Lisboa PT
26 mars 2018
Ricardo Jacinto (cello), Gonçalo Almeida (b), Nuno Morão (dms)
Label / Distribution : Clean Feed
Il existe des musiciens dont la réputation au-delà des frontières de leur pays n’est pas forcément immense, mais lorsque la scène est florissante comme celle de Lisbonne, on se rend compte qu’ils ont une position centrale, qu’ils font de nombreuses rencontres, voire qu’ils essaiment leur musique dans d’autres pays, avec d’autres scènes. C’est le cas du violoncelliste Ricardo Jacinto, qu’on a pu entendre avec Luis Lopes mais aussi avec le tromboniste et électronicien britannique Tullis Rennie. On pourrait même étendre l’image à l’ensemble du trio The Selva, puisque le contrebassiste Gonçalo Almeida, qu’on a pu entendre récemment avec Rodrigo Amado dans The Attic, est installé à Amsterdam et que le batteur Nuno Morão, membre de l’ensemble Instable, est très investi dans la musique électronique, notamment avec son compatriote lusitanien Travassos.
Ne nous y trompons pas : The Selva n’est pas l’union de trois outsiders. C’est la construction patiente, charnelle et organique d’une recherche de mimétisme entre les cordes et les peaux dans une suite improvisée en neuf parties, comme autant de clairières plus ou moins dégagées dans une forêt dense et foncièrement hostile. En témoigne la lumière éclatante de « V » en opposition aux ténèbres perçues dans « VIII », tout en sifflements brumeux et inquiétants. La métaphore végétale n’est pas fortuite ; l’album de Jacinto avec Luis Lopes s’appelait Gardens. Selva en portugais signifie jungle. Un postulat plus touffu qui s’accommode à merveille des échanges parfois tendus entre violoncelle et contrebasse.
Les morceaux sont courts, comme pour mieux encore illustrer le bras de fer, mais deux morceaux d’une dizaine de minutes permettent d’approfondir la plongée dans un bosquet de ronces : « VII » le titre le plus sombre, est l’occasion de se perdre totalement, entre les pizzicati et les frappes qui viennent les souligner dans une belle progression collective. The Selva est avant tout une histoire d’équilibre. Il est parfois ténu entre les cordes, notamment lorsque les archets prennent le dessus (« VIII »). Il peut être remis en cause lorsque Jacinto prend l’initiative de manière très aventureuse à l’archet (« II »). Mais globalement, le trio s’appuie sur le travail discret de Morão, véritable centre physique d’un orchestre à l’entropie galopante qui nous propose, sur le label Clean Feed, une exploration très intense.
THE SQUID´S EAR
review by Paul Serralheiro
The Selva (Jacinto / Almeida / Morao): (Clean Feed)
The Selva’s debut album is nothing if not enigmatic, in which lies much of its charm. It’s a multipart journey, a suite really, in which the music is as diverse as the recording is impeccable. The trio consists of cellist Ricardo Jacinto, double bassist Goncalo Almeida and drummer Nuno Morao, and much more than that is difficult to render with consistent clarity as the disc progresses.
The first track throws the listener headlong into a world of vague pan-geographic reference as string players slide, glide and duck amidst sharp percussion staccato. By the starkest contrast, the second part sounds as if it could be a chamber music composition by Arvo Part with a little Krzysztov Penderecke thrown in for good measure. At times, the group demonstrates the rhetorical devices traditionally associated with improvisation, namely in much of the third section. More often though, it can be difficult to tell exactly which instrument plays which role and to what ends. In the eighth part, stereo placement informs me that bass is on the left and cello on the right, or at least that is how it has been throughout the disc, but only that bit of remembrance can be relied upon to assign sound to player. What actually emerges conjures memories of a particularly poignant Vision Festival moment, when Hamiet Bluiett and Kidd Jordan hit the stage playing “Cherokee” in the highest register possible, to the point that instrument type became irrelevant. The Selva take a page out of that book, as high-register supplications and exhortations evolve and devolve across a soundstage in which only percussion is readily identifiable.
One of the strangest and most fascinating things about the disc is the subtlety with which environment seems to change. Nothing radical occurs, but the sense of reverberation seems somewhat malleable as the performers change roles, adding a layer of intrigue to an already absorbing set of pieces. This is not a disc of solos; rather, group unity seems to be the order of the day, and anyone interested in an exemplary model of the way spontaneous interaction breeds unity need look no further.
by Józef Paprocki
“Portuguese trio’s debut album is mainly an unusual number of references, but also absolutely unusual in multi threaded improvised music homogeneity. Resonate here because references to the music of the Far East, Africa, sometimes deconstructed blues echoes, sometimes even long music of Renaissance Europe. But all this is as if covered by two curtains like a photograph taken with a filter. The first filter is a jagged texture of improvised music, so great for creating performative sound spaces. The second filter is more unusual – it is a certain formula of building music in the space of melancholy, longing; No rappelling, pastel rather than expressive, strong colors. And what is interesting is the melancholy is completely different from the well-known even from northern Scandinavian recordings. Cellist Ricardo Jacinto Nuno Morao and drummer – the only known me earlier musician – esteemed bassist Gonçalo Almeida create the world quite unusual and previously unknown to me, using the traditions of world music, jazz, European classical music and the third stream. They do all this using only with acoustic instruments, and in addition to using them in a very traditional way, without distortions or preparation. The result is a remarkable and inspirational recording that you just have to get acquainted with”.
SPONTANEOUS MUSIC TRIBUNE
Album studio recording, made in Lisbon at the end of last year and at the beginning of the current, is filled with a 47-minute uncut album which we provide to Clean Feed Records. Under the name of the disc and at the same time the formation of Selva hides three musicians – Gonçalo Almeida on double bass, Ricardo Jacinto on cello and Nuno Morão on drums. Nine episodes marked with digits.
The intro has only percussive attributes, although a large part of the cello involved significantly stimulated from the first second. The drummer is a strong jazz drive, while the bass player is silent. (II) The strings have a remarkably intimate flow. The drum is again feisty. Cello passage – for the variety – very quiet, even dignified and the sound of the instrument exceptional. (III) The first of the two long, seemingly essential fragments of Selva . Silence, made on the side sonorous whisper of double bass, violin cello chord in a chord, like a guitar. The sound of both instruments is baroque, but intriguingly dirty. The narrative rolls out with a thick stitch, while the cello is slightly crowded . Quickly change the direction of the journey ( all music by the musicians, adds reviewer) – contrabass falls into the amok improvisation, drums brush the swing and the cello plays clean, crystal beautiful passages in the spirit of ancient chamber music. The latter, despite frequent changes in narrative mode, rules and distributes cards. In the finale, which lasts nearly a quarter of a century, the stringers share similar inner monologues, and the drummer dries consummately (from the Reviewer’s Crew: the latter, albeit active, at the level of the creation giving way to the operators of stringed objects.) It tastes delicate trance, mantric singing. (IV) Sonorist Cello Equinox, at the rear of the energetic rhythm section. (V) Jacinto, the modus operandi of this trio, again in search of new means of expression. Almeida is looping around a large double bass, and Morão drumming on a large reverb. Acoustic burrs on both string sets. Chords, stains, special characters. Narration tastes with engaged rock. The quality melting pot lasts at best! From the reviewer’s kibble: maybe a little bit of drumming, in place of drumsticks. Cello again in brilliantly acoustical style, escaping into the meta-abyss, into the abyss of non-sense, “adds the reviewer – poet. It departs like a ship without a destination port, a cosmically beautiful sound . (VII) The second key phrase – agile fingers on the strings, plate and snare in resonance, focus, oniric phase of abandonment and constructive unhappiness (truly Portuguese … we have all the time ). No one in the head of the escalation in the head, although musicians do not avoid small dynamics (or perhaps sono bite?) Asked the reviewer, because he does not know what exactly to note in his kitchen. Cello in mig corresponds to the needs of the reviewer! Double bass polishes strings and drums … drums. (VIII) Strings with nozzle, whistle and spruce , how cute! Beautiful dances of two swollen smilies. (IX) Dronne passages of heavily soiled string instruments. The drums tremble, resonate, shudder. The power of acoustic distortion (the most expressive, in truth, the best moment of this very good disc!). And again it smells of sophisticated psychedelia. Instrumental voices from the off , groaning, grunts. Let the climate of the finale of this story determine only the right direction of the musical development of The Selva trio!
By Philip Coombs / July 03, 2017
The Free Jazz Collective
The Selva (Clean Feed) 2017 ****
There is something instantly appealing to The Selva. I also find a pure joy in listening to a trio of musicians that I’ve never heard of before. This, obviously, stifles any perceptions that I may bring with history. To add to the mystery, it’s a self-titled album, The Selva, that’s it. And to go even one step further, no song titles, just roman numerals from 1 to 9.
Track I and II, gave me little taste of what was to come, a prologue if you will. These 2 tracks blend the familiar with the unknown, a theme that occurs several times over the course of the record. It is track III, where Ricardo Jacinto (cello) Gonçalo Almeida (double bass) and Nuno Morão (drums) take a nugget and expand on it to its fullest. It’s like Track 1 is Red and Track 2 is Blue but Track 3 is the Purple. By the time it is over, III is pounding and swirling and headed for a heart pumping conclusion that doesn’t disappoint.
The Selva go straight back to three short tracks again giving us some more structured music to ponder before heading into dark free jazz territory on Track VII.
As much as the cello and double bass can alternately be called melancholy and sadness, The Selva, does stray away from such obvious emotions giving us both extended technique and power at the same time without falling into any lower register traps. The drumming of Morão help in this endeavour and it won’t happen on his watch. He really gets the spotlight on track VII as he rumbles his way in and around the cello and bass entanglement.
I do like the structure of the record. There is just enough free vs. composition to store these three Portuguese musicians in my head and see where they go with this.
By Gert Derkx June 23, 2017
Witness who has released releases from Portugal in recent years has a very lively jazz and free impro scene that is populated by some fantastic musicians. Three of the musicians bundle the forces under the denominator The Selva, bringing them a kind of chamber jazz. There is conscious “kind of” because the trio weaves influences from different parts of the globe and genres through their music, so the term ‘kamerjazz’ does not cover the load completely. Considering the trio experimental drive, you could label the music as an experimental camera jazz. It does not matter as long as quality is paramount. That is certainly the case with The Selva .
The Selva consists of Ricardo Jacinto (cello), Gonçalo Almeida (double bass) and Nuno Morão (drums and percussion). It is a non-everyday combination of instruments, which makes the titular debut interesting. However, the record offers much more remarkable. Without the music that radiates ambition, the trio extends the boundaries of jazz and improvised music by referring to, for example, Asian and African music and blues. This does not happen with great gesture, but subtly, as if that music always exists in this way.
Almeida, operating from Rotterdam, is a productive bassist who is familiar with the heavy jazz trio Albatre, from the trio LAMA, from ROJI and from The Attic , which featured earlier this year, where Almeida works with saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and drummer Marco Franco . Jacinto is also a visual artist in addition to musician. With Joana Gama (piano) and Luís Fernandes (electronics) he recently released the Harmonies album, inspired by Erik Satie’s music. Morão is a member of the major IKB ensemble and the even bigger experimental big band Variable Geometry Orchestra, which last year showed Maat Mons .
Morão feels like a fish in the water in this much smaller company. You would expect the two string instruments to be the dominant factor on The Selva , but this is considered outside the tasteful, clever and inventive game of drummer / percussionist. Where the boundary between cello and bass sometimes fades, it is Morão which represents the distinguishing element.
The album contains nine pieces, all titled ‘The Selva’ and numbered from I through IX. In length, the tracks vary from one and a half minutes to fifteen minutes. The first piece is the shortest and is characterized by percussion play and a clearly-heard influence from the far east, naturally embedded in Western improvisation. ‘The Selva II’ is almost the opposite: no percussive sounds of string instruments, but thoughtful sounds and a beautiful melody, somewhat disregarded by the percussion.
Much more free sound the two long tracks that can be found on The Selva . Different game techniques are tested (without a pull-on box being pulled open), while playing in a gorgeous manner. Particularly, the Japanese influence that is heard in the second part of ‘The Selva III’ is self-evident in an Afrikaans tinted section, in which cello and bass play the repetitive motive and the percussion of Morão moves around and between them. The seventh piece is slightly darker and rhythmically intriguing, long time without a real pace. At the end, a powerful rhythmic pattern is created.
‘The Selva IV’ sounds fragmentary, creating suspense by Jacinto. Much playful is the fifth piece, with Almeida’s fast rhythmic game, a few fierce tunes of Morão and short-pleading sounds of Jacinto. The sixth track is somewhat loom and blues oriented, which makes the piece a lot more conventional than the rest of the record. Particularly beautiful is the moving cellular game in the background. Some sounds describe the experimental eighth piece, after which the tone is very heavy on the closing ‘The Selva IX’, but the game is as unorthodox as on the piece before.
Jacinto, Almeida and Morão know how to convince The Selva on all fronts: rhythmically and melodically, but also when it comes to exploring possibilities and moving musical boundaries. The music sounds controlled and imaginative at the same time. The Selva is a unique and amazingly fascinating album.
By Stewart Smith , June 21st, 2017
The Selva is a new trio featuring cellist Ricardo Jacinto, bassist Gonçalo Almeida, and drummer Nuno Murão. The Rotterdam-based Almeida has already appeared on one of the year’s finest albums – The Attic with saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and drummer Marco Franco – and The Selva’s self-titled debut is another contender, sounding strikingly new. Its sees all three players deploying a range of extended and conventional techniques to explore unusual textures and shapes. The shorter tracks, which range from under two minutes to five, zoom in on particular idea: sighing whale song cello over tentative bass steps, brooding post-rock in a Spanish key, whistling harmonics over ritualistic hand drumming, revving motorbikes and slumbering dragons. The two extended tracks extend the language of free improvisation with Japanese and African influences, all atmospheric gagaku and abstracted pygmy dances. There’s a beautiful clarity and light to this music, with Murão’s drumming providing a subtle rhythmic pull. A fascinating and highly affecting listen.
Todd McComb’s Jazz Thoughts
By Todd McComb’s , 13 June 2017
The Selva, an album from the latest batch on Clean Feed. It features Portuguese cellist Ricardo Jacinto (b.1975), and while I’ve heard a few things by Jacinto, including some albums featuring electronics, I see that I’d yet to mention him in this space. The Selva also includes Gonçalo Almeida (double bass) & Nuno Morão (drums), with whom I was not otherwise familiar — such that the trio has the same constitution as the recently discussed (in April) Spinning Jenny. Although the latter features echoes of rock & jazz per se, it is also more fractured overall than The Selva, which generally maintains continuity on each of its nine tracks. Of these, two are longer, and travel through different scenes or styles, while also maintaining e.g. pulse, but most are shorter & quite gestural. The album also has a distinctive “world” vibe, with not only the expected “jungle” hubbub of mysterious creatures, but some explicitly East Asian evocations as well, especially qin music in the second part of the long track #3. (So it’s not the typical, rhythm-oriented world vibe sort of production.) Compared to other recent albums interrogating continuity, The Selva uses track breaks to restart with different sounds, influences or ideas — so that’s one approach. The result is a rather concentrated listening experience, but never of overwhelming density… mini-worlds are projected, one might even say studies of texture, rhythm & resonance, including melodic or legato moments, harmonics, etc. Sometimes the instruments sound as one, but more often, Jacinto is the clear front line player in what is basically a “cello trio” in the bebop sense (and the album does involve ostinato forms). Many of the “studies” seem to involve fusing a couple of basic, yet culturally divergent, musical ideas in novel ways. So we’ll see what’s next from this trio in the broad arena of (Portuguese) contemporary violin-family, world music-tinged improvisation.
by Rui Eduardo Paes
CONTRA OS MUROS
Ricardo Jacinto, Gonçalo Almeida e Nuno Morão deram início na SMUP, dia 8 de Outubro, a um trio que não poderia ter um nome mais político, pois alude ao acampamento de refugiados em Calais e à vergonha que é construir-se mais um muro na Europa. Em termos musicais, o que fazem é deitar muros abaixo, tocando uma música improvisada que soa a outras músicas que foram escritas, assim desobedecendo ao fundamentalismo “não-idiomático”.
A não ser pela adopção da linguagem da improvisação, os músicos que constituem o novo projecto The Selva não são particularmente políticos, no sentido de que habitualmente não passam qualquer mensagem específica de carácter intervencionista – e inclusive num caso como o dos Albatre de Gonçalo Almeida, nascido no “underground” holandês e partilhando algumas características “punk-okupa” deste. Só a música propriamente dita explicita o seu posicionamento, tendo em conta a filosofia que desde a origem está por detrás da opção musical de improvisar em contexto igualitário, sem quaisquer funções hierárquicas, e de liberdade da expressão, seguindo apenas as determinações do momento.
Acontece, porém, que o nome escolhido para este trio de Ricardo Jacinto, o já referido Gonçalo Almeida e Nuno Morão tem uma carga imensa: The Jungle é a designação que foi dada ao acampamento que se instalou em Calais, na França, por refugiados que tentam atravessar o Canal da Mancha para iniciarem uma nova vida no Reino Unido. Nesse mesmo local, de modo a serem impedidos de tal objectivo, está a ser erigido um muro nas margens da auto-estrada, mais uma vedação numa Europa que se esqueceu da vergonha que era o Muro de Berlim e está a cair pelo precipício.
Ou seja, se o significado implícito da música improvisada se foi desvanecendo ao longo do tempo, perdendo as conotações libertárias e esquerdistas que tinha nas décadas de 1960 e 70, com este recém-estreado grupo da cena nacional esse alcance volta para o primeiro plano. Mas fica por aí: incluir na música, por exemplo, elementos “étnicos” da Síria, do Iraque, do Afeganistão, da Somália ou do Sudão (apenas cinco dos países de onde fugiram as pessoas que ficaram retidas em Calais) seria não só panfletário, coisa que a livre-improvisação sempre procurou não ser, como também uma tentativa algo ridícula de teatralização de uma condição existencial que não é propriamente a destes três portugueses.
Em vez disso, The Selva propõe-se fazer outra coisa, e esta sim, bem mais interessante: tocar uma música improvisada que não soa tipologicamente como a generalidade daquilo a que assim chamamos, tão cifrada estilisticamente é essa tal de “música improvisada” quanto o são todas as outras músicas idiomáticas, apesar da classificação de “não-idiomatismo” que lhe foi dada. O que se ouviu no concerto de apresentação na SMUP, a 8 de Outubro, funcionou como se os músicos em causa estivessem a escapar-se de uma outra Selva, a do condicionamento da criação musical ao tipo de conteúdos que foram predefinidos para esta área. Sim, mesmo a música que se apresenta como livre deixou de o ser, e este trio vem afirmar esse triste desfecho e, melhor ainda, está a contrariá-lo de forma muito inteligente.
Como? Improvisando algo que agora pode parecer Bach ou qualquer outro autor de música antiga que se tenha apaixonado pelo particular timbre do violoncelo e mais tarde tocar o refrão do que poderia ser um tema dos Soft Machine ou de alguma banda de rock progressivo, com a substancial diferença de que é um contrabaixo, com o seu som profundo e acústico, que define os pilares de sustentação. A proposta que The Selva nos faz é, pois, levar os procedimentos da improvisação para outros léxicos, confundindo a sua característica abordagem com toda uma série de factores que vamos reconhecendo ou julgando reconhecer, vindos da pop, da folk, da música erudita, do jazz e mais ainda. Sem nunca temer o tonalismo e a melodia, os padrões rítmicos definidos, os conceitos clássicos de beleza inerentes a um certo entendimento de lirismo e poesia, o “groove” ou o “swing”, os fraseados “cantabile” e tudo aquilo que se proibiu na música “livremente” improvisada.
Só por si, um programa assim seria algo de extraordinário, mas Jacinto, Almeida e Morão executam-no de um modo ainda mais entusiasmante: há alturas em que parece que estão a seguir partituras, incorporando passagens escritas nas improvisações, mas deixando-nos na dúvida sobre se assim é ou não. O que este par de ouvidos acha é que esses momentos são mimetizações improvisadas das músicas notadas existentes, mas foi propositadamente que não quisemos confirmar isso com o grupo no final do concerto na Parede. Não conhecer qual é realmente o “modus operandi” da fórmula The Selva, não desvendar o mistério, resulta particularmente delicioso. Não é, afinal, a improvisação simplesmente uma outra maneira de compor, escrevendo no ar? Quem não quer que se construam muros tem uma boa solução: não vá buscar tijolos…
_Condenser microphone ( ex.o: Shure SM81, AKG C 415, Neumann KM 184)
_Condenser microphone ( ex.o: Shure SM81, AKG C 415, Neumann KM 184)
_ direct output from amplifier (balanceado-XLR)
_ Microphone for Drum kit: 2 x Overheads, 1 x Bass drum e 1 x Snare drum (ex: Shure, Audix, AKG)