Santos Silva, Nebbia, Alonso, Bergman Quartet “Ritual para acercarse”

What a line-up. Susana Santos Silva, Camila Nebbia, Hara Alonso, and Else Bergman have all been lighting it up, and together that potent force grows. Ritual para acercarse covers almost every emotion imaginable, from wistful horror to whimsical excitement and whatever is in between. There isn’t a singular driving force here but a collective thrust and exploratory spirit that pushes all four musicians into new zones. 

Opener “On Self Respect” sparks into action from the first roiling threads. Silva and Nebbia weave introspective horn motifs into spiraling shapes, twisting and turning in the controlled chaotic froth Alonso and Bergman weave with piano and bass, respectively. It’s a gut punch to start and corral our attention inward before Alonso sends star fragment tones into the night air as though the notes are enchanted by Bergman’s scratched-out messages. It showcases strange, enticing textures and how to imbue them with cryptic meaning. 

The piece continues unabated, striking pointillist rhythms and singing horns running together to see what churns out the other side. Nebbia and Silva have an innate understanding, fusing their sonic wails together into sharp, emotive phrases. There’s an almost lyrical quality to the shapes the two breathe into life. The same feeling flows like a subterranean stream on “Ritual,” but the pace quickens, and the fireworks burst brighter. 

Moments strike hot and pull away. Bergman rolls solo at one point, plucking away with urgency and catharsis before Nebbia and Silva grind the edges off with pointed bursts. So much of Ritual para acercarse is alive in the present and the anticipation of which way the path will turn next. It’s an exemplary exhibition of using structured elements to dive into the freest, deepest space. Outstanding.


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