Reviews Hippocampus Guttulatus

One of the most amazing Lisboa’s specialties are extended ensembles such as IKB Ensemble that made the first release of Creative Sources in 2012, and until the Covid19 era recorded 9 albums. Unfortunately, the seven early ones are missing in my collection, but I report here on the last two, including “Hippocampus Guttulatus”, released just before the Covid19 lockout in February 2020.
The titles of all albums correspond to Latin names of “exotic” and strange animals. Quoting the short description of their first record from the Soundhom web page: “Portugal’s IKB Ensemble is an electro-acoustic improvising ensemble with a strong string and wind section, balanced with electric guitar, electronics, and percussion. This is a beautiful example of communal playing allowing textures and unique voices to surface and submerge, where no voice subsumes the other, but work together to create a unique and intriguing tapestry of sound.”
[…] “Hippocampus Guttulatus”, lasting 31 minutes, is very different, but even better. It is also an example of free improvised minimal music, but more intense and expressive. It is also a live recording by Miguel Azguime from November 2019, realized during the CreativeFest XIII at O’Culto da Ajuda, Lisbon. In contrast to “Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus”, “Hippocampus Guttulatus” contains very little “fake” sounds: most of the instruments generate “normal” sounds that are recorded in such a way that they can be recognized: strings together and solo, double bass, bass clarinet, tuba, marimba, percussion, piano, guitars, reeds, trumpet and electronics. The track builds the tension and the mood up and down, and different instruments and groups of instruments enter and pass, return and pass again. This music is absolutely fascinating and totally innovative, novel, cutting-edge, ground breaking, seminal, revelatory, you name it. Marimba parts drive me crazy. Maciej Lewenstein