Transition Zone is a fitting title for the music offered by Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello & electronics), Abdul Moimême (a pair of electric guitars played simultaneously, plus nonspecific “objects”) and Carlos Santos (computer & synthesizer). This is a live performance in Lisbon dating back to May 2018, the musicians repeatedly reaching heights of radical poetry by combining inmost responsiveness with a somewhat utopian inclination.
The interplay suggests an attempt to outstretch the instrumental possibilities to a point at which the human factor becomes virtually unnoticeable. Nonetheless the sounds are unquestionably organic, loaded with noisy pneuma, driven by a kind of self-determination. Their concrete beauty is best expressed by fleeting instants of profound connection, despite the manifest destabilization of familiar methodologies.
Selected pitches emitted by Lonberg-Holm’s treated cello are genuinely painful, heading straight for the primary core of receptiveness. He has for many years now been a renowned specialist in dissecting the acoustic fiber of his instrument, whose molecular structure we can sometimes nearly glimpse. Moimême’s guitars move across untrodden resonant paths, vibrant shapelessness and imposing clangors reminding us of certain Elliott Sharp-esque principles. Santos further contributes to the dismissal of harmonic tyranny by breaking up conventional frameworks, inserting electronic ear-openers, essentially converting the electroacoustic image into a room of warped mirrors.
There are instances, such as “Hushed” and “Ring”, when one senses a meditative stasis behind the incessant movement of sonic particles, as if the trio’s quest were directed toward an invisible light. It’s a common ground of radiance, accommodating within itself even the most dynamically charged happenings. Elsewhere, mechanisms of unsystematic repetition soften the brutality of some combinations. Aesthetic laws are rewritten to meet needs that go far beyond the mere acceptance and assimilation of a given sound. Tracks like “Whirr” and “Tumultuous” express the agitational proclivity boiling inside the artists’ collective soul. Still, they remain in complete control of their machines at all times. An improvisational logic defined by intellectual boldness is thus prevented from becoming sheer discordance, whose constituents would appear indivisible to the internal microscope of an ill-equipped audience.