Renato Diz: piano; Sergio Tavares: double bass; Jorge Queijo: drums, percussion.
ARS Trio is a darkly twisted experimental Portuguese project composed of Renato Diz on piano, Sergio Tavares on double bass, and Jorge Queijo on drums and percussion.
Despite the plans regarding this project had started in 2009, only recently the band members have reunited in Portugal to record their debut album, Poetics of Sight, strongly influenced by film and released on the W&J Productions, a new record label from New York.
Using imaginative techniques and resorting to unconventional sounds, the trio breaks the barriers of jazz music and steps on cinematic territories, illustrating sceneries that are simultaneously frightening, hypnotic, and curious.
“In The Beginning It Wasn't Just The Word...”, a slow-cooked 20-minute piece enveloped in mystic auras, uncovers the empirical strategy adopted for the album. An imperturbable melodic idea is considered as a point of departure and everything keeps revolving around it. Repetitive piano notes, whose main purpose is to build tension, together with an excellent interactive posture between bass and drums, enrich the concept. The beautiful minimalism resultant from this teamwork may speak louder than the chord progression of a Gershwin’s rhythm changes.
Tunes such as “Oneiric”, “Continuous Exhale”, and “Jumped Lamb” throw in unbent piano melodies and textures, passing a sensation of movement despite the minimal changes they are subjected to.
The first minutes of “The Mechanic of Things” can be quite disturbing due to the ominous sounds retrieved from the next big horror movie. The nature of such noises made me think of a freaky puppet show that gradually evolves into an unflinching danceable ritual where Diz’s attacks get prompt responses from Queijo.
A similar practice of elevated fluency can be enjoyed in the last section of “Unrequited Limbo”, an outlandish piece that drastically becomes brilliantly percussive. Different from all the other pieces, the short “Moorish” feels like an organic conjunction between a distorted Portuguese fado and Middle Eastern throbs.
ARS Trio reveals mastery in shaping sonic contortions that draw mystery and uneasiness. Only open-minded creators are capable of feeling so comfortable within these atmospheres, where everything is strange and yet nothing is out of place.
01 – In The Beginning It Wasn't Just The Word ► 03 – The Mechanic of Things ► 07 – Moorish