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by Manuel Mota

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folha 18 08:09
folha 7 07:07
folha 19 09:46
folha 38 09:19


On XIX, master improvisational guitarist Manuel Mota lays out a map into the interiority of his contoured sound worlds. Like all of his music, this is a work of muted shapes, hovering in a mirage-like aura that suggests distance, landscape and a deep appreciation for the horizontal.

This appreciation extends towards the oceanic at times. Dwelling in a sea of lower mid-band frequency, much of XIX shifts like waves. The tones of the guitar waver and wash ashore with a kind of irregular pulse. They reflect a very human sensing of time, a willingness to appreciate the possibilities of interaction between the musician and the instrument. They are patient pieces.

It is with this idea of patience that Mota truly excels. His works collected here seem to invite a resting, within the sounds. At no stage does he seem to push forward into the sound, rather he coaxes it out of the strings, a quiet and modest approach that yields a sense of richness and fullness that seems antithetical to his actual playing.
As each improvisation unfolds, there’s a sense of the horizon expanding, and just when you feel as those its edge has been realised, a new and unexpected terrain seems to open, inward. This gentle reveal is at the very heart of Mota’s mode of operation for the past decade or more.

Reflecting on the lead up to this recording, Mota comments “Before I started to make this work, I found myself resting with certain visions and images. They were from mixed times and locations, but they all shared a kind of presence or feeling.

“I remembered abandoned coastal chapels I had visited. Perhaps what I was remember was their sound, or lack there of. The kind of sound they suggest. I also remembered an old mouldy book, its text all deteriorated. My mind also was captured by the feeling of listening to classic records as a child. These memories were all reflecting on distance, place and time.”

In much the same way XIX does just that - a sonic etching of distance, place and time - traced through the strings of Mota’s guitar.


released April 21, 2023

Mastered by Lawrence English at Negative Space


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