Sa, Joana & Luis Jose Martins – “Almost a Song” – [Clean Feed]
A not quite love poem, an open-ended daydream, a spontaneous idea that flutters away and falls apart right at its moment of realization. This narrative guides us through this collaboration between Portuguese artists Sa and Martins. Most notably on our “Rock” song; frantically scurrying to grasp a fleeting notion, they dizzy themselves trying to find common ground and collapse in fits of desperation. Martins’ guitar really injects a distinctly Iberian flavor here and on the first track, where his hypnotic 5/4 loops and serene fingerpicked sweeps act as an anchor for Sa to dreamily toss and turn around the keys in this tragic and ephemeral love song. The reprise on “partindo-se” settles into a more contemplative light, pondering its desolation and finding solace in isolation until tremors creep up the spine and fear sets in. Here the cavernous echo reveals the electro-acoustic presence on the album as on track 4 (translates as The Insane Trout), where the electronics really stand out, warping the toy piano and percussive plonks into surrealist delusions; Martins’ fingersweeps are all that keep us from drifting into the ether. The final track goes almost catatonic, resting precariously on the outer edge of consciousness, trying to keep hold of its last traces of slipping sanity. The musical lucidity here may be abstract in form, but it couldn’t be more concrete in emotion. Beauty in melancholy, bliss blossoms torment.