Carlos Costa – Door of No Return

(Aural Terrains)

Coming all the way from the Canary Islands, Carlos Costa (not to be confused with Italian percussionist Carlo Costa) is a double bassist operating through multiple categories and assignments. In Door Of No Return he attempted to calibrate the theoretical idiosyncrasies of his instrument in a solo context; this unceremonious set fits quite nicely in the recent wake of releases by lonesome bassists. The material is divided in nine “Doors”, each track revealing a tactic to elicit sounds from the big box. Processes and practices are relatively typical for this sort of setting: disconnected plucking, reposeful whispering, nervous stubbornness, barely audible harmonics born from light scraping, splintered percussiveness, frequent visits to the areas beyond the bridge and other inhospitable regions. The whole is brilliantly delivered, though you won’t be startled to the point of crying miracle.

However, Costa shows us his inside-and-out knowledge of the deep-toned qualities of wood, handling the consequences of his tests without flinching. This is exactly what makes the album worthy of respect. The music is healthily unspectacular, deprived as it is of useless frills and idiotic prestidigitation. The effort of locating different nuclei of vibrational substance, both within the resonating chambers and across the apparently less useful parts of the body, is rewarded time and again. The trademark crudeness of audiences calling “noise” such a kind of performance derives from the inability of accepting the diversification of resonant phenomena in an instrumental microcosm. Accordingly, Costa appears as an instructor exposing the “warts and all” essence of a complex subject, determined to make us appreciate previously undisclosed details and not-so-dead spots in a state of polite austerity.