Album Appreciation: Unconscious Death Wishes by Paisiel

When I wrote about Paisiel’s previous, self-titled, album (here) I was particularly struck by its easy eclecticism. I enjoyed how the Portuguese-based duo (João Pais Filipe & Julius Gabriel) moved seamlessly between musical styles in a way that was just so deep and fulfilling. Indeed, I thought so much of that album that it made it onto my ‘Essential’ list for last year.

Since that release Filipe has put out an excellent record with Manchester experimentalists GNOD (Rocket Recordings, here); and Gabriel a superb, more jazz-oriented, album on Creative Sources Recordings (here). But it’s when they come together that I find them to be at their most captivating.

The two apparently met back in 2014, following a chance encounter in a record shop where they found that they shared musical ideas, and while drums (Filipe) and Saxophone (Gabriel) are perhaps not the most natural of starting points for experimental music… they have certainly managed to produce something again here that fells very accomplished and organic.

This is essentially one long improvised track, and I’m commenting here on the uninterrupted digital version rather than the slightly edited one that will appear on the vinyl release. It begins with a long drone and seagulls, adds a rather marvellous and soporific organ after around four minutes before going stepping up into some crazy fragmented fiesta a few minutes later. Once again I am struck by the eclecticism on display… and how it works so well together.

After this relatively lively start the track settles into something of a long glacial drone which offers change over time… but that, as you would expect, is not the full story… and while the transitions are slow and gradual I find it fascinating how the duo shift the atmospherics of the track in a way that makes you feel very invested and sonically immersed.

The clarity and focus of Filipe’s percussion helps you to focus in on the sound… which does really take over your very being, while… especially in the long mid-section… Gabriel’s sax lets you take the security of that foundation to really soar through a varied topology of the mind… this is a track which just lets your imagination fly… at times becoming so intricate that you feel like you are simultaneously experiencing an aural panorama, while at the same time observing a foreground of delicate lattice-work… extraordinary.

Such is the nature of this that it is difficult to provide a full explanation of what is going on here, neither can any snippet of the music really prove representative of the whole work (although one is available – see below)…

Rather this is a piece of music that simply requires forty minutes of your time to sit with and experience… it is both an escape from/ and reflection of/ our own reality… but also a golden opportunity to bring those two together to seek stability and balance. Far from bringing up the ‘Unconscious Death Wishes’ of the title, after listening to this I somehow feel lighter and more rooted, and in the current circumstances that can only be a good thing.

‘Unconscious Death Wishes’ is available to pre-order from Rocket Recordings here.



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