Hubert Dupont

October 10, 2022

Ultrabolic No #

José Lencastre + Hernâni Faustino + Vasco Furtado
Forces in Motion
Phonogram Unit PU9 CD

Building a mostly acoustic trio around an electric bassist calls for adjustments from all concerned. The amplified thrust of a plugged-in instrument means that the player must be aware that its traits shouldn’t overpower the others’ sounds. Similar accommodation must come from the other players to blend bass textures into the exposition.

On Forces in Motion’s six selections electric bassist Hernâni Faustino, alto saxophonist José Lencastre and drummer Vasco Furtado use the low-pitched pumps and vibrations of the four-string electric as novel textures for new adaptations. All are accomplished participants in Portugal’s creative music scene with Faustino himself  working, usually on acoustic bass, with the likes of Agustí Fernández and John Butcher. Meanwhile, performed live with dancer Smaïl Kanouté and mostly composed by veteran French bassist Hubert Dupont, Sirocco takes makes full use of the rhythmic function of the electric bass. But Dupont, who has recorded with everyone from Naïssam Jalal to Benoît Delbecq doesn’t just rely on the instrument’s steady pulse. In this multi-geographic kaleidoscope, he also brings out his acoustic bass, bass guitar and FX. His associates are Christophe Monniot on sopranino, alto and baritone saxophones, Lyricon, synthesizer and FX, and in the place of percussion the live electronics and treatments of Théo Fischer.

Projecting the beat, Dupont initially creates the horizontal  continuum which anchors Monniot’s clarion fluttering which projects the theme, and the meld of vibes-like plinks, bongo-like raps and guiro-like scrapes overlaid with electronic fluctuations which fragment it. Throughout these high-pitched oscillated whizzes affiliate and break away from shrill reed twitters and double bass strums. Distance is emphasized by the time “Space” is reached at mid point. Rather than dissolving into the galaxy, terrestrial beats come forward with a rock solid Motown-like bass guitar line and the percussion equivalent from Fischer. Every time  Monniot’s trembling sopranino or baritone reed trills and treatment wiggles and slides threaten to undermine the suite’s terpsichorean rhythm, arco double bass lines re-establish the linear flow. The results not only push the piece forward, but allow the bassist and saxophonist to create and mirror the same thrust, which is as circularly connective as it is powerfully staccato. Before the theme can fade, a collection of faux handclaps, intermittent reed squeaks and syncopated bass thump re-establish the flow. Reaching the penultimate and concluding “Nation dauphine” and “Larsen Bottleneck” the three confirm both the aggressive measured pulse for the dancer and the intense improvisations reflected in string thumb pops and reed vibrations.

Moving from freer movement to free improvisation, the Portuguese trio express its innovative command with swizzle-stock-like percussion patterning, accented bass thrusts and an upsurge in vibrating, irregular reed accents. Each of the six selections is titled, but except for the brief intro and even briefer coda, Forces in Motion are presented in two extended improvisations. Early on “ Points Of Departure” /”Cascade” is identified as much by the pops and ruffs from Furtado’s kit as Faustino’s chunky but fluid string pulsations. As they interact to preserve the themes’ momentum, Lencastre distends it with spetrofluctuation that borders on Reveille as well as with snorting scoops. Sweeping through the murky curtain of affiliated timbres, the saxophonist eventually torques the exposition with searing altissimo intensity layered on top of drum rumbles, cowbell accents and churning electrified bass work. Slower paced and lower pitched, “Lava Flow”/ “Jellyfish Sea” initially creates a similar triangular improvisation with sour sax peeps, bass string strums and drum top rubs. When the tempo double midway through the first tune however, the legato result is characterized by almost human-sounding reed cries. Halving the tempo again by the following “Jellyfish Sea”, Faustino’s low-key commentary is the closest he comes to a bass solo on the disc. As the final sequence becomes more pressurized, it’s prevented from sinking into thick murk by the saxist’s separated and intermittent single peeps. A final string strum and drum pop confirms the tale’s conclusion.

Confirming the electric bass’ place in time-stretching creativity either of these sets is what connects these distinctive sets.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Sirocco: 1. Géante rouge 2. Sable 3. Alto mare 4. Shehili 5. Space 6. Oguélé 7. Huriya 8. Dribble 9. Naine blanche 10. 300 11. Nation dauphine 12. Larsen Bottleneck

Personnel: Sirocco: Christophe Monniot (sopranino, alto and baritone saxophones, FX, Lyricon, synthesizer);  Hubert Dupont (bass, electric bass, bass guitar, FX); Théo Fischer (live (electronics and treatments) and Smaïl Kanouté (dance)

Track Listing: Forces: 1. Dust 2. Points Of Departure 3. Cascade 4. Lava Flow 5. Jellyfish Sea 6. End Song

Personnel: Forces: José Lencastre (alto saxophone);  Hernâni Faustino (electric bass) and  Vasco Furtado (drums)