Nocturna Discordia #55 at Soda – 13th Jan ’16

11224833_1711144719119097_6178275166830238133_oThis week at Soda, a double or even triple bill for the latest Discordian ritual in the (dark?) heart of Gràcia.

First up:

Piotr Melech (clarinet)
Jacek Mazurkiewicz (bass)
Vasco Trilla (drums)

This trio was an interesting confluence of influences. As usual for a Nocturna Discordia, everything is spontaneously improvised and this trio brought some disparate influences to the mix (at least to my tin ears, they did). Vasco Trilla is immersed in a non-idiomatic approach, a precision blur, each resulting sound exactly as intended, conjuring the widest possible variety of percussive sound. It seemed to me that Piotr Melech and Jacek Mazurkiewicz were coming from a more ‘jazz’ improv angle, mixing in a degree of structure to create an alloy that was at once experimental and accessible. As Melech maintained elements of fragmented melodies, Mazurkiewicz often provided simple yet powerful timekeeping, allowing Trilla to become impressively abstract.

There was also a degree of manipulation from the desk with deliberate speaker crackle and rhythmic rumble (courtesy, I think, of El Pricto) – it was an edgy addition although being too close to a speaker, the feedback and white noise did drown out the musicians a couple of times; that’ll teach me to sit closer to the stage…

Then after a short interval in which drinks were ordered to the accompaniment of Zappa’s “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” (follow that!) we were treated to a change of pace with:

Marcel·lí Bayer (tenor saxophone and clarinets)
Adriano Galante (electric guitar)
El Pricto (alto saxophone and clarinet)

Time for a little avant-garde… A gentle start combined harmonica with a degree of processing, looping the mournful tones into an ongoing backdrop to Pricto and Bayer’s truncated interjections and Galante’s (initially) unamplified strings. We soon progress to saxophonic gurgling and muted subtlety, occasionally shattered by the now overloaded guitar, smearing dashes of noise across the delicacy.

Mellifluous phrases are combined with grunts, lungs are threatened by circular breathing, and the guitar is a machine of often brutal texture. All in all, an engaging mixture of harshness and fragility.

Finally, as I left to catch the last Metro, there was an impromptu jam inspired by the presence of a total of five clarinettists (the aforementioned Melech, Bayer and El Pricto, joined by Naná Rovira and Luiz Rocha on bass clarinet) in the venue. I couldn’t stay, but as I headed out the door, a snippet of instant melody imprinted and stayed with me all the way home – nice.