The Near Death Ensemble at Magia Roja – a deeply satisfying trip

Marc Curcio – guitar
Jordan Menossi – drums
Santiago Arteaga – electric bass
Andrea Turbo Barbiero – synths, vox, fx
Giuliano Gius Cobelli – synths, trumpet
(and various other musical toys)

If you fancy a big bowl of alternative-free jazz-electronic-funk-psychedelic rock-world soup, look no further than Barcelona’s Near Death Ensemble. I’ve had a warm and soft spot for them ever since stumbling across their recording, “Live at Mutuo Art Center” a few years back.
*(Warning: other ingredients almost certainly will be included.)

TNDE are a loose and evolving collective, being – in their own words – a post-jazz free-rock conspiracy of sound. Which is as good a description as any, really. But the more pressing question here is, what did they sound like on a Saturday night at Magia Roja?

Initial impressions include muezzin-like calls blending with theremin whine-drones… snare & cymbal setting a metronome-steady pace… while bass and guitar combine in hypnotic, tran(s)ce(ndental) figures… distant trumpet floats high above it all… Imagine a Middle Eastern Doors-esque improvisation, a 21st century Grateful Dead jam and, if nothing else, you’ll have reached the limits of this listener’s descriptive powers.

Ensemble founder Curcio’s rhythm guitar – riffs, power chords, harmonics, muted thunks – is usually to the fore, full of spacey reverb, repeating and mutating, interspersed with solos of Beefheartian abstraction and angularity that just drive the experience even further out.

TNDE will put you in that blue tunnel and shine a light at the end of it to guide you along. If you get the chance, go, float, experience, dream… before slowly waking, blinking and blissful.

The Near Death Ensemble – on a Facebook near you…