born 1977, Lisbon.


Margarida Garcia - electric upright bass
Antwerp 2020

Manuel Mota - electric guitar
Margarida Garcia - electric bass
CD; headlights recordings; Lisbon 2020

Solo 100 misere copie invece per “OARS”, opera di due vecchie conoscenze dell’impor portoghese
Come Manuel Mota (chitarra) e Margarida Garcua (basso e contrabbasso), se nono erro qui alla prima prova insieme. Anche il dialogo dei loro strumenti è estremamente dilatado e quieto ma non suona mai vago o immotivato, non ci sono pause e silenzi, i due stanno parlando e quello che dicono sono carezze e sussurri, intensissimi sguardi (in qualche momento parosistici e addirittura distantemente rumorosi, intese silenti, comunicazioni d’ore e ore raggrumate in echo di corde sospese su chilometri d’aria e nulla. Non fate caso al numero delle tracce: data la forma, qui è un cuore solo che batte senza pause né stacchi che non siano impliciti. Ascoltatelo di notte in cuffia ma fate molta attenzione: v’innamorerete instantaneamente di chiunque sia al vostro fianco e pretenderete di farci qualunque comunione.

Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow Up magazine

(...) which one could also say of nine pieces by Margarida Garcia on bass and Manuel Mota on guitar; not specified if they are acoustic or electric. The total length of these pieces is thirty-two minutes so they are not very long, even when one is just over six minutes. Garcia and Mota worked together before (see Vital Weekly 1003) and back then it was all quiet music, introspective and highly atmospheric and it still is. This is what Mota is best known for. Playing sparsely orchestrated notes. One here and one there, rather than playing chords or progressions and such like. I am not sure if either player uses a lot of sound effects in combination with their instruments; sometimes I think they do, such as in 'Black Oars', a particular dark rumble, but then sometimes not at all. The mood they paint in all of these pieces is one of darkness. This is achieved by some sort of method of recording that creates a distance between the players and the recording device, like in a massive surrounding such as a church or cave. The dark rumble of especially the bass guitar creates a feeling of desolation that runs through all these pieces. The whole release may be short, but it is all a heavyweight upon the listener; I doubt if more of this would have been a great idea, but so did the musicians, I guess. A wonderful release.

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Here They Rest Immobile
Marcia Bassett - guitar
Margarida Garcia - bass
Manuel Mota - guitar
Yew Recordings, New York 2019
listen here

Time Regained - An Warburg Atlas for Early Music
Bjorn Schmelzer & Margarida Garcia
Book, 528 pages
MER, Ghent

This publication it is not a music history, nor is it a technical, musicological book. It is rather a book about materials – musical materials and their relation to other artistic materials. It is not a book for professionals or specialists but for those who like to explore the capacities and possibilities of artistic materials. However, it never talks about them in a technical way. This book is instead about love and desire for old repertoires, and especially for polyphony, attempting to retrace its shape: the initial desire that makes one want to perform this music.

Der Bau
Margarida Garcia, solo electric upright bass
Headlights Recordings, CDH27
Lisboa 2018

Per Margarida Garcia, valgono considerazioni equivalenti dal lato dell'oscurità prodotta: questa specialista del basso elettrico (con estensione su upright bass e double bass) è in grado di formare delle vere e proprie zone di condensazione dei suoni, dei tumulti a latere che lasciano esterreffatti nei loro risultati concreti; qualcosa tra il mistico, il bucolico e una sindrome di potenza. Una veloce ripassata della sua musica può essere fatta sul sitobandcamp dell'artista (dove troverete una splendida collaborazione con Marcia Bassett ed una con sua maestà Thurston Moore), ma il suo recente programmatico solo all'upright bass, registrato a Lisbona lo scorso ottobre, dal titolo Der Bau, non lascia spazio a ripensamenti; continua su una linea iniziata con Mota e Alfredo Costa Monteiro parecchi anni fa e portata avanti con dedizione oggi come musica che indaga gli smarrimenti della coscienza, attraverso gli ampi spazi indotti dall'improvvisazione e dalle attrazioni del momento performativo; sono intuizioni che si notano anche attraverso le ambientazioni delle sue copertine (immagini al limite della luminosità o totalmente annerite con emersione di particolari grigiastri di contrasto).

Ettore Garzia, Percorsi Musicali

Manuel Mota uses his label Headlights Recordings mostly to release music of his own making or duets he records with others. Here he has two releases by others, of which Margarida Garcia is no stranger to this label, having already released with Thurston Moore and Marcia Bassett, and now has a new solo recording of 'electric upright bass'. It is not easy to recognize this instrument in these seven pieces here. I am sure Garcia adds some sort of effects to the instrument, maybe some kind of reverb (unless that comes from this being recorded in a big cavernous space) and some sort of delay machine that adds a water colour like quality to the bass sound. She plays the bass with a bow, or maybe two, to generate a deep low sound, but due to the various filters and other sound effects it all sounds quite alien. Each of these pieces is a careful, minimal exploration of a few sound movements, extending and sustaining for a longitude. It all seems to be just a few masterful strokes on the bass, some rightfully chosen effects to expand the sound and its not always as quiet as my description may sound. There are some louder movements to be spotted in this, even when the overall atmosphere stays rather solemn and introspective and never reaches the shores of noise. This is a most impressive release. (FdW)

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Manuel Mota ist dabei kein Isolationist, vielmehr gehört er zu einer im Fingerspitzengefühlvereinten Bruderschaft mit Noël Akchoté, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Rafael Toral, David Grubbs...Die ihm wohl vertrauteste Spielgefährtin ist jedoch seit 20 Jahren die Bassistin und Graphik-künstlerin Margarine Garcia, wie zuletzt bei "Crypt" und "Earth Rundown". Der Bau(cdh27) ist nun, nach "So I Put on My Coat and Walked Downstreet", einem Livemitschnittaus dem Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin 2002, und dem in Brooklyn entstandenen "The LeadenEcho" (2012), wieder eine Demonstration ihres Solospiels mit E-Kontrabass. Mit aucheigenhändig der Schwärze abgerungenem hellem Gewölk auf dem Cover und KafkasErzählung ist eine Perspektive suggeriert, die das 'The Mole in Its Burrow'-Kapitel in PeterSzendys "All Ears: The Aesthetics of Espionage" zu reflektieren scheint. Mit der Prämisse,dass das, was den Bewohner des Baus als belauschten Lauscher umtreibt, ein Geräusch ist.Garcia erzeugt mit Bogenstrichen ein stöhnendes Dröhnen, das unaufhörlich changiert undeinen in ein Gewölbe versetzt. Darin kostet Garcia alle Nuancen eines chiaroscurenKnurrens aus. Die teerzähe Düsternis scheint fast selber zu singen und zu raunen mit einemdie Schwärze kauenden kryptischen Riesenkarpfenmaul. Die Saiten surren und grollen,seufzen und ächzen in quallender Licht- und Bodenlosigkeit, sich verzehrend (in derDoppelbedeutung von autophag und to pine away, to chafe, to eat one's heart out). Wonach?Nach Stille, nach Geborgenheit, nach Einklang?

Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy

Earth Rundown
Manuel Mota, Guitar
Margarida Garcia, Guitar
Sloow Tapes, CS40 Cassette
Brussels, Belgium 2017

Slowly evolving daydreams of electric guitar shrouded in lo-fi reverb by Margarida Garcia and Manuel Mota. Dark, quiet and mysterious superimpositions floating and spiraling further and deeper in the distant hollow spaces of the void. Artwork by Margarida Garcia. Edition of 70 copies.

Cai Bem
David Maranha, Drums
Manuel Mota, Bass
Margarida Garcia, Organ
Miguel Abras, 4 track tape recorder, Sruti box and voice
Tanuki Records #28 LP
Brussels, Belgium 2017

Interesting this album is titled Cai-Bem. The Portuguese to English translation loosely means goes good or sits well. David Maranha's new full length on Tanuki Records steers far from ambient float and spiritual fluff. These sounds do not sit well and the going is in another direction from good. So Cai-Bem? A smile when it came time to name this or some knowledge yet to be understood by the listening world. Theses musicians have created, or opened is a better term, a small dimensional valve. Noise is elongated and pulled from our reality. A droning epic slipping through a spacial gap too small for so much talent. This creates a sonic environment that is slightly uncomfortable. Like sound is being pulled out of you rather than flowing into your thoughts. Cai-Bem is an oddity with twisted beauty so askew, music scholars will need to investigate.
David Maranha gathered multiple hands in the composition of the album. His fellow creators moved in new directions, all playing unaccustomed instruments. This group includes Margarida Garcia, Miguel Abras, Manuel Mota, and of course David Maranha. With organ, bass, shruti box, drums, vocals, and tape manipulation, Cai-Bem is a slow sonic upheaval. High pitched droning mixed with deep cyclic resonating bass. Out of phase percussion keeps the lid from screwing on tight. Like a high pressure leak, the entire listen is in the dangerous red zone of exploding. Thanks to this experienced bomb disposal unit, these sounds let off tremendous energy, with no harm to consciousnesses in close proximity. Aural breath just behind your shoulder, the sound sending shivers, the source shrouded in obscurity. A truly haunting escapade through a black and white negative of Cai-Bem.
This is the first full length vinyl release for the Belgium label Tanuki Records. Number twenty eight in the Tanuki catalog. The going will be difficult for future vinyl label releases to equal this metaphysical debut. A completely unique sonic experience. Available from the labels bandcamp page.

Lost in a Sea of Sound

“Cai-Bem” is a splendid addition to the already extensive discography of David Maranha. It is also the first full-length vinyl LP on Tanuki Records’catalogue.
There is a story behind this new album, although you would not guess what it is, unless told. Recorded with his ensemble after a concert they did in Barreiro, a town on the south side of Tagus River, near Lisbon, it is an experiment of sorts. Keen to explore new ways of playing, as he has done during his whole career since he began playing with his band Osso Exotico in the 1980’s, Maranha suggested that they should all play other instruments that their regular ones. He himself switched his organ for the drums, Manuel Mota is on bass, Margarida Garcia on the organ and Miguel Abras on a fostex 4 track tape recorder and voice.
From the Berlin‘s Geniale Diletante to the Portsmouth Symphonia of Gavin Bryars, the idea of regaining a fresh relationship with your art by going back to the beginning, to your own starting point as a player, has produced astonishing results. Here, instead of delivering a kind of cute clumsiness or some back-to-basics minimalism, the process seems to have provided them with an expanded concentration, a deepened immersion into the act of playing. All four musicians share a textural approach to their sound, which is here extremely consistent with having to discover a new, unfamiliar instrument. Learning new gestures, replacing the physical memory of movements they were accustomed to perform, enabled them to go beyond technique and skill, and engage music with a new intensity.
Crafting their music as acoustic drone compositions, at times shamanistic rituals and at others eternal music in the style of La Monte Young, Maranha and his ensemble play primarily with time. Their compositions are not about inventing new structures every time, but about the paradoxical challenge of building a stasis retaining the forcefulness of a forward motion. In this case the unusual and eerie sounds they coaxed from their newfound instruments adds new layers to the psychedelic power of this great record.

For the first time Tanuki Records from Brussels release a full length LP and for this they have one or two new pieces by David Maranha; it depends if you think of a record as two sides of one piece split in two. With this one it is no doubt the latter. He’s best known as an organ player with some exciting loud minimal music, but I first heard him with the more delicate Portuguese group Osso Exotico. For this new album Maranha takes note of Gavin Bryars who said it is good to refresh what you are doing and go back to the beginning, and switch roles. So the organ player Maranha plays drums here, Margarida Garcia organ (normally bass), Manuel Mota on bass (guitar) and Miguel Abras on ‘multi-track magnetic cassette tape deck, voice and shruti box’ (I have no idea what his usual instrument is). I gather they convened together and tape was switched on and they started playing, on in a single day (but perhaps not in a single session). Maranha later spend a few days in mixing this material. There is throughout a sort of drone thing going on, maybe on the large stabs of the organ, whereas the other instruments,bass and drums foremost, are in a free improvised music, going about, whereas the role of Abras is freer than that; he provides some of the weirdo sounds (high pitched, slowed down voices) that float as in free space through these two sides. The drums sound a bit far away and I am not sure if that is an intentional decision from Maranha or not. The mood is quite dark and obscured; like rolling thunder sounded in the distance at night. It is also a bit noisy I guess with that piercing tone lingering on somewhere, and it made me wonder if noise is the original background of Maranha. If so, I didn’t know.
This is not really music to aim and please, I think, but something of a well-orchestrated nightmare.
Like musicians, music lovers should also be willing to refresh and rethink and embrace something new. This is good place to do that if you want to hear Maranha doing something out of the ordinary and yet fitting perfectly. (FdW)

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Having a set of players tackling tools they’re not accustomed to is a somewhat unsafe proposal. However, Cai-Bem – the newest release by minor legend David Maranha, of Osso Exotico renown – eschews the disasters of disorderly improvisation more or less completely.
The duration is that of a classic vinyl LP, around twenty minutes per side. The instrumentation – comprising organ, bass, drums, shruti box and voice – is improved by an object this writer is particularly affectioned to: a Fostex 4-tape cassette recorder, namely the very first means through which he attempted his own “creative” pastiches as a youngster. Needless to say, the old machine is exercised much better here by Miguel Abras, who – conjointly with the leader, Margarida Garcia and Manuel Mota – brings forth a whole cosmos of ectoplasmic sonorities especially typified by noticeable oscillations, persistent acute frequencies and heavy-footed pseudo rhythms.
In general, the work contains a high percentage of ritualism. Firm gestural patterns emerge from a gathering of scarcely palpable textures; a valuable recipe for rendering our system of reclusive defense a little unsteady. The muddy mix must not be perceived as a factor decreasing the overall efficiency; on the contrary, the sense of occlusion experienced while listening to the music via headphones was helpful in transforming the current pessimistic visions into pliable substances for an unidentified typology of so-called comfort.
We can’t be sure about what’s heard in a given moment; unquestionably, a copious dose of processing and filtering – in addition to a (presumed) manipulation of the speed controls – contribute to an unusual “lucid numbness” that never ceases to shield the listener from external influences. Think Pink Floyd circa Ummagumma covered by Faust, and you’re halfway there.
Interesting record. Not one for the ages, but gripping enough to justify several replays.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

Filipe Felizardo, Guitar
Margarida Garcia, Double Bass
DeadVox, DVX020 Cassette
Lausanne, Switzerland, 2016

Każdy kończący się rok sprzyja wszelkim muzycznym podsumowaniom i bardzo często pozwala także dotrzeć do albumów, z różnych przyczyn pominiętych lub odłożonych na potem. Kiedy dwa lata temu, pochodząca z Lisbony  Margarida Garcia, dała upust swojej wyobraźni we wspólnych gitarowych eksperymentach z Thurstonem Moorem, obiecałem sobie śledzić jej dalsze artystyczne kroki z uwagą. Ubiegły rok przyniósł bardzo interesującą kolaborację z Manuelem Mota, a kończący się zaskoczył jeszcze bardziej, choć niewiele brakowało a o „Limbo” zupełnie bym zapomniał.
Wydawnictwo, którego zawartość chciałbym przybliżyć, miało swoją premierę na początku bieżącego roku w szwajcarskim Dead Vox. Czarna matowa kaseta i tak samo ciemna okładka z białym szkicem autorstwa Margaridy, zdradzają posępną zawartość niespełna czterdziestominutowej taśmy. Przy bliższym poznaniu obu stron kasety, noc wydaje się nie tylko ciemniejsza niż zwykle ale i wyjątkowo pochmurna. „Limbo_A” rozpoczyna się od partii bardzo nisko osadzonych, basowych dronów, które po kilku chwilach zaczyna przeszywać wyżej strojona gitara Felizardo. Instrumenty przetwarzane są na różnorodne sposoby, brzmienia gitar łamią się, ogłuszają nagłym zgiełkiem lub basową otchłanią. Szarpnięcia strun wyraźnie pozwalają dominować gitarom pomiędzy sobą, po to tylko, aby po krótkiej chwili nastąpiła kolejna zmiana ról. Nieustająca walka o wyższość gitary elektrycznej nad basem przenika także na stronę B. Zasadniczy trzon zarówno pierwszej jak i drugiej kompozycji, tylko z pozoru wydaje się statycznie basowym i ociężałym wnętrzem potężnego dźwiękowego masywu. Kolejnych przeobrażeń o subtelnym ale konsekwentnym charakterze, jest tu całe mnóstwo. Gitarowy zgiełk roztacza potężne, transowe kręgi i absorbuje uwagę słuchacza w stu procentach.
Z pozoru trudno uwierzyć, że funkcjonujące z dala od melodii i rytmu, improwizowane, mroczne kompozycje zawarte na „Limbo”, powstały w słonecznej Lizbonie. Dla wtajemniczonych, to tylko potwierdzenie faktu, że na Półwysep Iberyjski warto mieć oko, muzyka improwizowana ma się tam bowiem wyjątkowo dobrze. Potwierdzeniem tych słów, niech będzie artystyczny dorobek – wciąż aktywnego i nieustannie poszukującego akordeonisty – Alfredo Costa Monteiro, który w przeszłości nagrywał także ze współautorką opisywanego albumu. Można powiedzieć, że jedna z wielu artystycznych współpracy na drodze Margaridy Garcii dopełniła się. Przypuszczam, że studyjne spotkanie z Felipe Felizardo ma charakter jednorazowy, bez większych szans na kontynuację, czy wcielenie koncertowe. Uczciwie przyznać trzeba, że starcie dwóch, doświadczonych osobowości przyniosło w tym wypadku wyjątkowo przyswajalny rezultat.

Adam Mańkowski, Nowamuzyka

Limbo de Filipe Felizardo e Margarida Garcia foi editado em k7 (a melhor música nos dias de hoje é editada em k7 sabe-se-lá-porquê) pela suiça Dead Vox (a melhor música portuguesa nos dias de hoje é lançada lá fora sabe-se-lá-porquê). Guitarra e baixo definem esse espaço escatológico chamado de "limbo" onde vão parar os inocentes que não foram baptizados - este sítio foi entretanto "cancelado" pelo "Papa Rato" em 2007. O duo em forma de improvisação eléctrica consegue dimensionar esse mito religioso com feedback controlado, Blues estragado e sujidade sonora. Lento e físico, o trabalho é etéreo ou infernal? Qual o valor maniqueísta do Limbo? Aqui é bom...

Blogzine da Chili com Carne

"Limbo" begins with static and guitar darkness.   It's somewhere between Nine Inch Nails and something off of "The Crow" soundtrack.   It has this vibe to it like something wicked is lurking on the horizon and while that might not be defined there is a certain sense of deep cello bass and abrupt surprise to the music that might suggest anything from an Alfred Hitchcock movie to Godzilla.  
In some ways the music can sound so low, so deep into the bass that it feels as if it is too late.   The monster is no longer approaching but it has struck without your knowing.    The monster has pulled you to the bottom of the ocean and there is no escape.    These sounds are eerie and haunting, the things which nightmares are made of and even I am not brave enough to listen to this one while I sleep.   (Though in all fairness, I don't have terrible demons in my nightmares, mostly just aspects other people would consider to be silly)
The notes seem to drop off at times, into the deepest, darkest of places and otherwise there is some whirrs and just other manipulation of sound within here- like Transformers even- but if this is the soundtrack to some movie I haven't seen then, believe me, I certainly do want to see it.   
On the flip side we start with some footsteps in the basement.   It just sounds dark and dank.   A ringing grows, it grows so loudly that it almost becomes uneasy to hear.   Whether it be that terror creeping up on you in the night or the sound of your screams it's certainly not one of the noises which you will relate with something happy.    Guitar notes drop like brimstone.    It begins to tick-tock back and forth like Willy Wonka as other distorted notes are seemingly smashed out.    I imagine this being as some story of a possessed guitar, bent on evil and killing but I'm pretty sure that happened when they remade "The Twilight Zone" and this is far more disturbing.
It's just that I've heard some pretty dark music in my time- the type of things which would send the toughest of goth kids home crying to their mommies- but I'm just not sure I've ever heard a guitar used as such an instrument of destruction as it is here.   And the sounds which accompany the guitar (which I've read are made by bass) only serve to enhance that experience.   As we draw nearer to the end, the music begins to fight itself and as we all know there is no greater monster out there than the one willing to hurt itself because if this monster will cut off its own face imagine what unthinkable acts it has in store for you.
Through the end you'll find yourself in the darkest of places with the deep, dark drone of the bass.   It's got this feeling like you're watching a horror movie but one which hasn't been invented yet.   I will admit that when I watched "Saw" I liked it, but I liked "Hostel" a lot more, mainly because of that scene where the guy is tied to the chair and cut at the ankles but tries to stand up and walk.   Anyway, this feels like a movie that would go above and beyond that and, yes, in a real and actual way not just because it's something attached to a sticker on the packaging.    As ominous as it feels, up to that last second which sounds like a droplet of water (or blood), there is still beauty in it and of course large amounts of talent.   I do suggest listening to this but only with the lights on.

Joshua Macala, Raised by Gypsies

Manuel Mota, Guitar
Margarida Garcia, Double Bass
YEW Records YEW006 CD
Brooklyn, NY 2015

She's the stand-up bassist; he's the guitarist. On Crypt (Yew Recordings), this Portuguese duo scare up what's easily the most fried, disorienting album I've come across this year so far. Each player occupies a very specific lane: Margarida Garcia sllllllllowly coaxes deep, robust growls from her bass with a bow, while Manuel Mota traipses through the stratosphere, idly attempting to imitate invoke a celestial sprawl via an electric guitar. Their storm fronts are separate as often as they intersect, but when they do come together, the result is like watching grainy videos of two different slo-mo chemical reactions simultaneously projected on the same wall. Those moments are viscerally uncomfortable in a pleasantly surprising way, as though the improv waltzes preceding were preludes you didn't quite recognize as such. Every gesture arrives shrouded in dry echo; the incidental chatter and background noise crowd Crypt when it goes nuclear and when it is pretending to catch its breath or daydream. Because of this, there's never really a point where the listener can truly find her or his bearing: every sound is roar toil, trouble, cough, whisper, or a ear-singing snarl that's unceasing or balloons out to a brief, unbearable decibel level just before collapsing in on itself. That's the blues, folks. Who would want things any other way?

Raymond Cumings, Village Voice

Ah Manuel Mota, the man with his guitar and nothing much else. Well, and Margarida Garcia on bass - upright one, I think. In his solo music Mota is very quiet - see below - But also in his collaborations he is very quiet, but at times also seems to be using a bit more sound effects. Garcia has had a couple of releases on Headlights (Mota's label) before, some solo and one in collaboration with Thurston Moore. I am not sure if she uses any sound effects in her playing. With a title like 'Crypt' I expect it to be recorded in a hollow space, perhaps something such as a crypt. The music is very quiet, but never silent; it meanders about, without goal, without purpose but has an excellent mysterious character to it. It's hard to define what that mysterious character is. A kind of scraping sound, some reverb, something from a far (such as in 'The Candle Indoors'). There is something menacing about this release, something creepy. Maybe Mota uses a bit more sound effects here, mild doses of distortion here and there. Unlike his solo work, in duet with Garcia there is a fine sense of drama, maybe it's even possible to say this is kind of painful, heartfelt blues music? Six pieces here, possibly all recorded in cavernous situations, all live obviously with no overdubs or editing and at thirty minutes a bit too short for my taste; that perhaps was the only downside to an otherwise great release. 

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Intrigante álbum do duo formado por Margarida Garcia (baixo eletrificado) e Manuel Mota (guitarra), Crypt apresenta seis temas de desconcertante morosidade. A obscura sonoridade do duo se desenvolve de forma quase letárgica, com o baixo gestando densos tons, entrecortados pelas notas pinceladas por Mota, gerando uma atmosfera sufocante (muito diz a capa do disco!) e hipnótica. Margarida – que no ano passado lançou outro disco em duo com guitarra, daquela vez com Thurston Moore – apresenta uma forma muito particular de lidar com o baixo, tirando com o arco sons por vezes guturais, rosnados sedutoramente sombrios e nebulosos – em “The Candle Indoors”, que fecha o álbum, encontramos esse processo em sua plenitude. Os seis temas se desenvolvem como partes de uma suíte, fazendo mais sentido ouvi-los em sequência. E há, nesse percurso, unidades internas, marcadas pelos pares “Moonless I” / “Moonless II” e “Crypt I” / “Crypt II”.  A breve duração do álbum, com cerca de 30 minutos, nos convida a escutá-lo seguidamente, movidos pela expectativa de captar algo que parece oculto: talvez apenas presenciando essa música ao vivo, em um ambiente como uma igreja iluminada apenas por velas, seja possível decifrar essa criação por completo.

Fabricio Vieira, Free Form, Free Jazz

The Rust within Their Throats
Thurston Moore, Guitar
Margarida Garcia, Double Bass
Headlights Recordings HLP21
Lisboa 2014

Stunning new limited edition LP on Portuguese avant guitarist Manuel Mota’s private imprint in an edition of only 299 copies that pitches the mile-deep bass stylings of Portuguese bassist Margarida Garcia against Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth’s electric guitar: this is one of the most radically styling of free improvised face-offs from Thurston in an age, with Garcia’s incredible earth-shuddering electric bass stylings evacuating all sorts of doomy sonic sub-spectra that opens up a weird vortex that is part classic guitar-smashing EVOL-style improv, part avant cosmo gobbling ala the tactile string work of Dumitrescu or the early music sawing of a Third Ear Band and part the kinda naked on the lip of the void free jazz drone of the classic Barefoot In The Head side cut with Sauter and Dietrich. Thurston plays in a textural style but with a whole lot of actual bite, drumming up venomous string combinations and hovering over halos of electricity while Garcia sounds like she is burrowing her bass straight through the floor, creating the kinda polmorphously perverse shapes that suggest deep, organic activity. But really this one feels like the between song jams of the EVOL years extended to the point of full free compositional motherlode, with a psychedelic depth that could almost be Tokyo. Love this, beautifully packaged, very highly recommended!

David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue

Double bassist Margarida Garcia has worked with heavyweights like Chris Corsano, Loren Connors, Marcia Bassett, Alan Licht, Otomo Yoshihide and Oren Ambarchi. As that list suggests, she tends to operate at the psychedelic end of the free music spectrum, making her an ideal accomplice for an experimental rock veteran like Thurston Moore. Listening to the record, the deep bowed, sub-aquatic moans and guttural grunts that Garcia coaxes from her instrument set the atmosphere of mysterious dread that dominates the disc. This elicits some exquisitely haunted guitar playing from Moore, who employs some serious tremolo arm abuse to make screaming notes cascade and trail off into wailing harmonics. Even when Moore is at his most textural and abstract, Garcia keeps things dark and foreboding, pushing this until her amp becomes a portal to some tentacled Cthuluesque abomination when things get heated. (...) for those who enjoy the darker, more exploratory end of underground music, there’s plenty of thrills and spills to be had here.

Norman Records

Thurston Moore isn’t backwards in coming forwards when it comes to releasing records. As a die-hard Sonic Youth fan, I do what I can to keep up with the ever-expanding circle of music that surrounds both the band and its members’ diverse array of side projects and current activities; but it can be a time-consuming, confusing process. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, particularly, enjoy a seemingly never-ending schedule of record releases, across a range of labels, formats and – for want of a better word – genres.
The Rust Within Their Throats was released earlier this year, and is Moore in ‘abstract guitar experiment’ mode. In a duo with Margarida Garcia – a Lisbon-based sound artist who has also worked with Chris Corsano, Loren Connors, Alan Licht and many more – his work on this LP takes the form of two side-long pieces. Moore (on electric guitar) and Garcia (on electric double bass) create yawning, claustrophobic caverns of sound, the original instrumentation only partially recognisable beneath hefty waves of echo, feedback and stretched, detuned stringwork. It’s at time reminiscent of some of the pieces included in the SYR series of Sonic Youth records, but it feels more confident and focussed. I became aware of this album while doing something else on the internet – as is so often the case – and it led me to Headlights Recordings, one of countless shadowy experimental record labels that have a lot of product, and that seem to always have existed as something completely outside of any semblance of a mainstream music industry.
The artwork here is not credited to a designer. It includes two black-and-white etchings (source unknown, to me at least), portraying stormy, troubled waters. These are remarkably right for the music on the record, which often sounds like the creaks and cries of a distressed ship, and the typography on the sleeve and the record’s label provides a sense of classic maturity, with centred, carefully kerned letters providing information with no small amount of understated elegance.

Vinyl Destination

Daqui a alguns anos, muitos, talvez poucos, ninguém sabe, vamos todos olhar para trás e comentar aquele determinado período na vida da nossa capital onde Thurston Moore viveu e deixou a sua marca. Nunca chegou a ser um residente, mas o tempo que passou, e ainda passa, em Lisboa, tem resultado em concertos e, claro, nos seus directos testemunhos. Depois de há umas semanas termos falado no trio com Ferrandini e Sousa, eis que Moore reaparece nas nossas editoras – o que prova que andam todos atentos aqui – com mais um LP. Desta vez com a Margarida Garcia, fruto de um concerto na ZDB em 2013, no âmbito de “Uma Coisa Muito Séria”, que juntou ainda Manuel Mota, Wolf Eyes, Rodrigo Amado, entre outros. Foi a Headlights a ter a agilidade para podermos ouvir agora este duo espontâneo e extraordinário, longe dos paradigmas do free, com ambos os músicos a tecerem ambientes negros feitos de uma carga eléctrica – tenebrosa e profunda, no caso da Margarida; generosa e sinuosa, no caso de Thurston – que daria para alimentar uma cidade de tamanho médio. Se o caminhar lânguido do lado A deixa-nos sem fôlego e oxigênio, o lado B parece querer sair dessa gravidade e, à medida que se extingue, vai-nos dando luz, como se pudéssemos finalmente ver a manhã – a sério: o final deste disco é de uma beleza quase indescritível. Música poderosa na forma e nas intenções, com uma capa lindíssima, uma edição única com 299 exemplares/oportunidades. Não cheguem tarde porque depois resta-nos aqueles sensaborões ficheiros digitais sem paternidade assegurada. E isto merece o pacote todo



The Leaden Echo
Margarida Garcia, Double Bass
Limited Edition to 200 copies, one side LP 
Headlights Recordings HLP18
Lisboa 2012

Bassiste, contrebassiste et guitariste qui œuvre principalement dans les musiques improvisées depuis plus de dix ans maintenant, Margarida Garcia est une musicienne que je connais peu et dont on ne parle pas beaucoup malgré ses collaborations avec des artistes de renom (Mattin, Alfredo Costa Monteiro, Andrew Lafkas, Ernesto Rodrigues, Ferran Fages et même Thurston Moore tout récement). C'est Manuel Mota, sur son label Headlights, qui publiait le premier solo de cette musicienne en 2012, une seule face d'un LP intitulé The Leaden Echo.

Pour cette suite de deux pièces d'environ dix minutes chacune, Margarida Garcia utilise une contrebasse électrique seule, sans effets ni techniques étendues. Il pourrait s'agir de réductionnisme, mais ce serait réducteur d'en parler ainsi. Margarida Garcia a développé ici un langage simple, mélodieux, lancinant, et mélancolique. A l'archet sur la première pièce ou en pizzicato sur la seconde, Garcia développe un chant d'une beauté ensorcelante. Des notes simples, espacées, distantes, et surtout intenses se suivent les unes les autres dans un timbre proche de ce que beaucoup d'entre nous imaginent en pensant au chant d'une baleine. De longues notes résonantes, graves, profondes, des cris doux qui envoutent, bercent, émerveillent. Margarida Garcia propose une suite de deux pièces où la contrebasse se fait le médium d'un chant unique, un chant primitif et animal 'une certaine manière, mais également subtilement poétique et raffiné.

Solo de longues notes qui se répondent, d'harmoniques qui résonnent et forment un espace imaginaire et poétique, d'une femme et d'un instrument qui chantent la poésie du monde, d'un espace, et d'une espèce. Le chant lancinant d'une femme qui fait de la poésie subtile avec son instrument. Le chant d'une artiste qui veut chanter le monde, la contrebasse, et soi-même. Un travail très original sur la contrebasse, un travail voluptueux et poétique, subtil et profond, mais surtout beau et envoutant. Vivement conseillé.

Julien Héraud, Improv Sphere

Of a totally different nature is this little gem by Portugues bassist Margarida Garcia, a 200 copies one-sided LP of seventeen minutes. The sound of her bass resonates like I've rarely heard a bass resonate, filling the space completely, with long bowed tones that make every nerve in your body vibrate in harmony, whether very deep or very high, it is sad, eery moaning and terrifying at the same time, hard to capture in words (luckily!). The second piece is played pizzi, but with the same calm and sober power, creating a desolate sonic universe that is compelling and unique.
I really and truly wish this album was longer, yet at the same time it creates a great sense of anticipation for more


Contrebassiste soucieuse du son, du silence et de l'amplification, Margarida Garcia nous livre ici un solo d'une seule face où la distance de la prise de son crée une sensation de flou, l'impression d'écouter l'enregistrement d'un phénomène autre que celui issu de l'instrument, le développement d'une matière informe sombre et distante, gluante et malsaine. Limité à 200 exemplaires. Recommandé.


Interview with Nöel Akchoté for Skug:

Margarida Garcia lives in Lisbon, plays bass and draws, always on the edge and looking for next. She describes her latest solo release,“The Leaden Echo”, as “Not Conceptual. Not Experimental. Not Technical. Not Clean. Not Cold.” - Let's talk together.

                          « Everywhere march your head » William S. Burroughs

Outdoors and insights : “I recorded while living in Brooklyn. The apartment was in Brighton Beach, and I mean right on it. Each time the sound of the waves were very present (something that is mirrored only by the hiss of the tape deck onto which I usually recorded everything). There was also fog, so that once in a while deep boat horns could be heard. Thinking back, that changed the way I played music then, for sure.” Each path is a line made of many other lines, “I did a lot of recordings both in New-York & Lisbon, but in the end, I found myself loosing track of the initial feeling that I was going for. I came back to the beginning, the first tapes I did with theses songs, it was short but it was all there and adding any other track seemed redundant. So I really had no choice but do it like this.” Repetitions & Differences,“I've always thought of the bass as being full of soloist possibilities and not just a support. I wanted to speak about the inner instrument, and what that would touch, involve, and reveal. With the background hiss, which was somewhat accidental, it gave me and it an outer frame, a room with a window to the outside. But a solo is a journey inside, immersing and closing, a self heart opening, while your ghosts are watching... Right now I am mainly interested in having the most expression with the simplest and most basic material but, I suspect there is not really such a thing as a basic material, there is just another scale of intrinsicness, complexness.” Some early hours too, “I began playing music in college, around 1996, starting with guitar... never had any lessons (well that's not exactly true). I learned with every musician I ever played with, and also with my favorite players and composers, listening again and again to their music, playing along with them, going to concerts, etc. In the beginning I was interested in all instruments or anything that made sound really, trying out different ways of approaching composition...but when I picked up the bass in 1998-99 or so that changed. I became more of an instrumentalist, I tried hard to give it full dedication, to learn the “proper way” to play it, hold it, and spent a lot of time with it everyday until I was able to hear something that sounded vaguely acceptable...” Daily thoughts, food for ears and hands, “I have been listening to the Dagar brothers. ZM Dagar just seems like he is singing his soul out. He plays a a Rudra Veena which is a sort of bass with huge frets for bending notes. It really strikes me how much meaning and weight there is in each note, is is like a whole thought or a whole picture. This is also present, the way I see it, in Loren Connors’ work, whom I was playing also by the time I recorded these tracks. His playing is so moving to me. Playing with him is like discovering another dimension in music, one that you feel only.” - Taking us back to “The Leaden Echo”, friends-home(s)-friends : “This LP was released on Headlights, a label from Lisbon owned by guitarist Manuel Mota. We met in 1996 and started playing together shortly after that. Since then he has been a huge inspiration as a musician and a human being, a solid foundation and a driving force for me, but mostly a great friend and an incredible supporter. He had asked me to do a solo for his label some years ago, but my urge to do it only came much later. So when the possibility to make the record came up, he produced it and helped the editing process. Barry Weisblat did the mastering. It is great to work with people that know you for years, that you trust...In this case two wonderful people that really understand what I wanted without any talking or explanation. Mutual respect and much kindness are main ingredients put in from these men, in cooking up this record”. Simply saying that “I play because it is my way of connecting and relating to other people and myself. Also it's my way of trying and wanting to give back what so many have gave to me, since always.” Oh Yes.  

Nöel Akchoté, Skug

I dischi per strumento solo sono sempre difficili da consigliare se non si è ben sintonizzati nel mood di chi li realizza; personalmente, uno dei (pochi) strumenti che non mi stancherei mai di ascoltare in ogni salsa è il basso molto meglio se acustico. La portoghese Margarida Garcia (incontrata spesso con Manuel Mota e i Curia) non sarà forse una virtuosa e neanche una rivoluzionaria ma il suo tocco è, se non altro, sensibile. Non suona note e accordi, emette droni e scie, filamenti scuri e tenebrosi, tocchi che si allungano a dismisura come flutuando in un mare di pece imperscutabile tra nebbie e silenzi profonsissimi, unica parvenza d'umanità scomposta e spalmata fino a diventare pura aria. Una musica che evoca annullamento e che nella sua non visibilità trova motivo di esistere. Non per tutti, anzi per pochissimi (200 copie stampate) e non esattamente sintonizzati con la realtà.

Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow Up

As the name of the label implies, the releases on Manuel Mota's imprint are beams of light emerging from the surrounding darkness. But at times only just. Bassist Margarida Garcia recently teamed up with another gaunt, spectral figure of new music, guitarist Loren Connors (Red Mars, Family Vineyard), and it was a perfect match. Here though she's all alone, ruck and wrinkle, drooping, dying, death's worst, winding sheets, tombs and worms and tumbling to decay. Arco on the title track, pizz on "Haunts", with Barry Weisblat's recording, which manages to sound muffled and reverberant at the same time, perfect for this discreet, at times painfully introspective music. What a shame it's just a single sided LP – perhaps there's another one (The Golden Echo?) on the way. Live in hope.

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

There are some of the qualities of a field recording to this one-sided LP of solo, electric arco work from Portuguese double bassist Margarida Garcia. The sounds seem to come from a distance, through a hum of charged, electrical atmosphere, as though the microphone has retreated to a safe distance in order to catch the slow, lumbering stirrings of some far-off leviathan. There’s a real conceptual depth at work here – the title piece is a study in mournful depression, perfectly capturing a leaden, disconsolate slothfulness. The shorter accompanying piece “Haunts” lines up monolithic single notes like menhirs receding across a barren landscape. It’s all done with a deep sense of immersion and a zoned-in patience for eternally unfolding reality that aligns this more closely to drone and underground noise making than any notion of jazz-derived improvisation.

Daniel Spicer, The Wire

Portugese bassist Margarida Garcia remains one of the most distinctive improvising voices on her instrument even as she moves well beyond contemporary improv praxis with an umbilical that runs deep into the contemporary psychedelic underground. This new LP, released in an edition of only 200 copies on guitarist Manuel Mota’s Headlights imprint, sees her exploring some darkly dramatic arco drone space with enough F/X to sink the Titanic. The territory is murky, sub-aqueous, giving the nod to her recent collaboration with Marcia Bassett (Zaimph et al) while moving into the kind of occult headspace previously occupied by Tokyo zonesters like Toho Sara, Keiji Haino’s Nijiumu et al. There’s a magisterial arc to the sonics that means it has as much to do with Conrad Schnitzler’s mile-high cello work on the first Tangerine Dream album as it does with William Parker and the way she bridges huge gulfs of silence with distant tectonic fragments and single weighted notes will have you lining this up next to Yasushi Ozawa’s Some Fragments Of Bass Performance for maximum drone dislocation. Recommended.

David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue

Built off of haunting, bass driven ambient drone, “The Leaden Echo” offers brittle gorgeous improvisation. Garcia’s cello-like tones give the drone a Romantic feel, and reminds one of similar such work by Simon Fisk, William Parker, and even some of the more rare work by Dave Holland. But Garcia’s playing does not seem experimental; it is organic and deeply emotional. 
Limited to 200 copies, “The Leaden Echo” is yet another of those limited releases that might get lost in the shuffle of too many releases and not enough time to find them all, a gem that could remain hidden. I hope this review does its little bit in making sure that doesn’t happen.

Mike Wood, Foxy Digitalis

This is the second release for Margarida Garcia for Headlights, following 'The Well', which she recorded with Marcia Bassett (see Vital Weekly 741). Here Garcia plays solo bass in two pieces, however filling only one side of the record. 'The Well' was a heavy type of improvisation, this is however something entirely different. The bass (upright) sounds exactly like it should sound, dark and menacing but its throughout very quiet music. Garcia plays her instrument with refined slowness and let's the bass 'sing' - creating a lot of space at the same time. Meditative music and one regrets, a lot actually, there is no b-side to this. Refined quietness.

Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 828

Tom Carter - guitar, piano, synthesizer, bass
Cristina Carter - guitar, piano, vocals
Helena Espvall - cello and Margarida Garcia - el. double bass 
on "before you go"
Kranky, Krank158, CD and 2LP, 2011
Chicago, IL

Exile is the new Charalambides album. Five years in the making, it was recorded between 2006 and 2010 in various locations in New Hampshire, western Massachusetts and New York City, mixed at Black Dirt Studios, and mastered at Sand with Paul Gold. The group remains the core duo of Christina and Tom Carter, with contributions on one track by the string section of Helena Espvall and Margarida Garcia. Deeply imbued with the full historical spectrum of American folk and blues song form, Exile is a tapestry of suppliant invocations directed at the heart of the unseen spiritual forces surrounding us. Dense arrangements and thickly-overdubbed tracks sit side-by-side with material that ranks among the sparest and most skeletal the group has recorded, giving Exile the psychic scope of their classic Market Square album while building on the refinements of the more recent Likeness and A Vintage Burden releases.

Red Mars
Loren Connors 

Loren Connors - electric guitar
Margarida Garcia - electric doublebass on "On our way"

Artwork by Loren Connors
Family Vineyard, FV69 CD 2011

Red Mars, Connors’ first solo album of new music since 2004, is decidedly more barebones, and in this sense it’s more in line with the bulk of his work. A five-song ode to the Red Planet, the album presents a sort of sonic landscape constructed out of nothing more than a few guitar tracks. Album opener “On Our Way” benefits from the fantastic interplay between Connors’s guitar and bass work by Margarida Garcia, creating the sensation of floating across the vast sea of space. “Red Mars I” and “Red Mars II” are barren, but breathtaking, portraits of the cold Martian landscape. These songs have a feeling of improvisation about them, but at the same time each quiet note from Connors’ guitar sounds fitting, if not preordained. As with Connors’s best work, Red Mars is evocative of a number of sensations, from awe to isolation and from radiance to desolation, making this album perfect for quiet nights.

Ron Wadlinger, Agit Reader

Red Mars is the first CD of new solo music by the New York City guitarist since 2004's The Deaparting of a Dream Vol III: Juliet (FV34). Since that time, Connors' unmistakable electric blues style presented on album has changed somewhat -- from multilayer tape-recorded pieces to spontaneous live performances. The five pieces here, a suite to the Red Planet, are filled of the cinematic pacing, lyricism and a palette of phantom tones that hoist Connors to a stunning new peak. Portuguese bassist Margarida Garcia joins Connors on the opening journey, introducing a dialogue unique in its ambiance as its entwined mystery and melodies. Features cover artwork by Connors.

Family Vineyard


Glimpses of the Inner Firmament


limited edition of 50 copies
36 pages, digital prints, 21x21cm
Signed and numbered
Headlights, BKH17, Lisbon, 2011


Exquisite Corpse
Mattin - vocals

Margarida Garcia - double bass
Kevin Failure - guitar
Loy Fankbonner - drums 
Recorded by Dougie Bowne and Ivan Julian at NYHED, New York
LP limited edition of 400 copies
w.m.o./r / azul discografica / ozono kids

/ New York / Barcelona, 2011

It’s hard to think of many artists that have made radical Marxist concerns and over-arching concepts seem even vaguely interesting in a rock-as-rock context, there’s uh.... well, there’s Mattin. Billy Bao were, for a while, the most amazing marriage of sociopathic rage and sociopathtic theory, perfectly marrying Mattin’s love for Lou with his love for Looting. And now comes this, a new solo album where he is joined by the always-amazing Margarida Garcia on electric double bass, Kevin Failure of Pink Reason on electric guitar and piano and Loy Fankbonner on drums, while he steps in on vocals and lyrics. Inspired by the Surrealist concept of The Exquisite Corpse, drawings or words written on folded paper where you must add the next contribution without any knowledge of what the other person has put down, Mattin handed out a set of lyrics and asked each player to lay down their part without any other guidance or any other instruments to play to. Each part was then mixed in as-is with Mattin’s vocals over the top. No two musicians were allowed in the studio at the same time, everything was one take and no playbacks were allowed. The results are jaw-dropping. The staggered rhythms and sudden speed-ups and stops/starts give the music an unpredictable/feral energy with Failure’s guitar sounding like something out of the first couple of Crass albums while Fankbonner moves from scattershot punctuation to sudden last-minute accelerations accompanied by Garcia’s cranking bass. Mattin’s vocals are amazing, possessed of the kind of hectoring/hysterical energy of The Afflicted Man or even Lydon circa Metal Box while the music feels like a spiritual cousin of the whole Oi/d-beat/post-punk UK aggro scene, albeit re-thunk by Japanese gods of thunder Kousokuya and with Tori Kudo on the mix. At other points, when the piano comes in, it could almost be Yoko Ono’s Fly only here peace gets no chances, beds are on fire and the time is right for fighting in the street. The absolute success of Mattin’s gamble only goes to underline how important chance, freedom and aleatoric strategies are to keeping rock music alive as any kind of expressive cultural force, something that has been internalised and re-stated again and again throughout its’ history, whether through punk’s deliberate refusal of ‘technique’, psychedelia’s inheritance of free improvisation as the keys to the kingdom or noise’s refusal of dialogue altogether. Left to chance, beyond any notions of exchange, beyond organisation, beyond entertainment or simple ‘communication’, beyond bullshit notions of ‘creating a space where dialogue can take place’ (perhaps the most tiresome apologia of contemporary art praxis) the best rock exists in a zone that’s unanswerable to technique, unassailable and incapable of assimilation and this new project from Mattin, well, it’s just like alla the best rock/roll, impossible to reproduce, offensive to any fixed artistic sensibility and drawing power by insisting on excess. Totally fantastic and highly recommended!

David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue

Nuevo material del vasco Mattin es siempre bien recibido por un servidor, un verdadero artista revolucionario, que acostumbra cambiarnos las reglas del juego con cada una de sus grabaciones, ya sea en plan live improv, en el noise, como Billy Bao, en colaboración con otros y bajo su propio nombre, un gusto tener a Mattin de vuelta.
Exquisite Corpse es como se ha denominado a una metodología de trabajo (principalmente en creación literaria ideada por los surrelistas), consistente en el trabajo de conjunto de varios participantes, en el cual uno inicia con una propuesta y en orden variado cada uno va partiendo de dónde termina el participante anterior (sin conocer que escribió este), dándole giros inesperados al trabajo y creando nuevas ideas que en la suma traen un trabajo interesante en una suma de todos los esfuerzos, a veces difícil, complejo y que exige bastante de cada participante, a veces sujeto a tiempo, a veces sujeto a la capacidad de improvisar de cada uno de los participantes, no es de sorprendernos porque Mattin eligió este concepto para su nueva grabación.

Querer entender Exquisite Corpse únicamente a través de la música, sin todo el concepto global, sería como tratar de explicarse lo “monumental” del Biophilia de Bjork sin todo el rollo de los apps y la creación en Ipad que redondeaban el concepto de ese disco, y es que es necesario saber el proceso creativo al que Mattin sometió a los participantes para la creación de esta interesante obra.

Para esta grabación Mattin reclutó a importantes participantes del underground mundial, la portuguesa Margarida García en el bajo, Kevin Failure del grupo Pink Reason en la guitarra y el piano, el baterista Lloyd Frackkbonner y el mismo Mattin en la voz, y bien ahora que conocemos a las fichas de este juego, podemos proceder a saber como se gestó, la idea es una agresión directa y buena sacudida a los paradigmas de las grabaciones modernas, dónde por lo general se graban las baterías, los bajos, las guitarras y las voces en ese orden, en primer lugar, el siempre listo Mattin invierte los factores, primera sacudida, la única base para la grabación son las letras de Mattin, las cuales son entregadas a cada uno de los participantes en papel, cada uno de ellos tiene exactamente tres minutos para improvisar en base a esas letras (segunda sacudida), una sola toma, sin re grabaciones (tercera sacudida), en base a eso Mattin se encargó de mezclar las grabaciones individuales agregándoles su voz de manera digital, el resultado, en primer lugar, sorprendentemente suena coherente, es decir, no suena a partes separadas, nos remite a esas grabaciones que desconocían tiempos y métricas formales que nos recetaban el buen Capitan Beefheart, dónde a pesar de lo disparatado de cada uno de los inputs, el todo final lograba sonar de una pieza, como una hidra de mil cabezas.
Mattin tiene éxito con su cometido, mucho del sonido remite a la no wave, con Mattin agregando las torturadas vocales con que nos ha acostumbrado, como si John Lydon, ese de los PIL hubiera sufrido una lobotomía (vaya cosa, como si Lydon la necesitase), con una Margarida brutal como siempre, omnipresente usando su bajo como un poderoso instrumento de percusión en lugar de ajustarse tímidamente a un ritmo, golpeándolo, raspándolo, exprimiéndole hasta la última gota de sonido, con un Kevin Failure que flota libremente con sus desgarradoras aportaciones en la guitarra que recuerdan en mucho a Arto Lindsay en su época con los DNA, con un total desprecio por las rítmicas tradicionales, y cuyas incursiones de piano resultan un respiro ante tan frenético paso de los participantes y bueno, no podemos hacer menos la aportación de Frackkbonner, quien en parte improvisa o colorea y en parte mantiene ritmos de rock sólidos, una obra que a pesar de su muy arriesgado concepto, termina sonado de una sola pieza, Mattin se apunta otro acierto en dónde concepto y música van de la mano formando un todo como una obra mayúscula, sirviendo de admirable ejemplo para los demás de cómo la música o el sonido si prefieren llamarle así, puede ser llevada a otros niveles, re escribiendo por completo las reglas del juego.  

You are a ghost blog

Northern Spy Clandestine Series
Compilation with:
Tom Carter
Loren Connors & Margarida Garcia 

Cassette, limited edition to 150 copies
Northern Spy, New York 2011

Hand-numbered edition of 150 copies cassette compiled by ex-ESP Disk employees now in charge of the new Northern Spy imprint. Four-way split from some of the brightest voices in the post-drone underground. Messages bring some extended tonal thunder to their post-Wada minimalism, Tom Carter levitates planetary atmospherics from his electric guitar, Zaimph aka Marcia Bassett contributes a haunting guitar/vocal séance while Loren Connors and Portuguese bassist Margarida Garcia navigate a deep field of single notes suspended in endless reverb with all of the otherworldly appeal of Keiji Haino’s most delicate constructions.
Highly recommended. 

David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue

The Well

Marcia Bassett (guitar)
Margarida Garcia (bass)

Recorded and Engineered by Barry Weisblat

in Brooklyn, NY

LP, limited edition of 200,
silkscreened cover.
Headlights LPH14, Lisbon 2010

Actualmente a residir em Nova Iorque, Margarida Garcia (Curia, entre muitas outras parcerias) junta-se a Marcia Bassett (dos míticos Double Leopards e Hototogisu) para um momento único. "The Well" é um disco rigorosamente escuro, onde a guitarra de Bassett relembra (que saudades) alguns ambientes dos Double Leopards. Todo o disco parece um acto único, cortado em faixas que soam a diferentes divisões de um espaço assombrado. Garcia localiza em diversos momentos a massa de som disforme, ajudando a ganhar consistência, e um sentido, à medida que a progressão se faz sentir, e o discurso se vai tornando mais leve na nossa cabeça. Mais um grande lançamento na Headlights, editora de Manuel Mota, limitado a 200 cópias numeradas e com uma capa lindíssima serigrafada.



Urban Disease
Billy Bao
Mattin (electronics)
Margarida Garcia (bass)
Tim Barnes (drums)
Barry weisblat (guitar)
Taku Unami (keyboards, mix)
limited edition, LP PAN 11, Berlin 2010

All right, a new Billy bao, a crazy expensive fancy pants lp, sorry about that, not sure why it's so expensive, it's super limited, imported from overseas, original artwork by HENRY FLYNT!, cool silkscreened plastic sleeves, all that stuff probably contributed to the crazy price, but for the noise obsessed, and specifically BB obsessed among you, it'll take more than $36 to keep you away from another slab of damaged, caustic noise punk weirdness from this demented noisenik.

And demented this stuff is, beginning with a loooooong stretch of barely there hushed crawl, voices, drones, all way down in the mix, played in the store it almost sounds silent, but don't crank the volume, cuz soon from the silence explodes a monstrous chunk of downtuned dirgery, wrapped in swirls of warped buzz and woozy layered crunch, a simple caveman beat pounding away, weirdly hypnotic, like some sort of kraut-noise-rock, which gives way to stuttery staticky stop and start rhythmic hiss, spitting out an almost martial sounding rhythm, underpinned by strange mumbled vox and peppered with shards of feedback and deep tectonic rumbles.
After still more near silence, BB and co. spew some seriously Merzbowian thud rock, all wrapped in jagged squalls of white noise and grinding feedback, stumbling rhythms, that sound like they were made out of distorted voices. Soon after comes maybe the coolest part of the record, a twisted bit of skipping stuttering skittery free jazz, almost like some drunk turntablist spinning dusty old Coltrane records, at the wrong speed, while some nervous footed punter continually kicks the plug out of the wall only to plug it right back in again, dizzying and almost carnivalesque.
After still more whispered drift, another bout of pounding feedback drenched noiserock, culminating in a final stretch of near silence, punctuated by sharp bursts of caustic blown out crunch and fucked up grinding howl, rhythmic and dementedly mesmerizing. Woah. Some serious outsider noiserock damage for sure. Definitely headphone listening, but headphones WITH earplugs!As mentioned above, super swank packaging, pressed on 140 gram vinyl, housed in a jacket with original artwork by Henry Flynt, in a cool hand screened sleeve, imported and limited, and thus the hefty price tag...

Aquarious Records (U.S.A)

Third album from this avant/anarcho garage punk project, here looking and sounding more like improvising conceptualists than hardcore minimalists. Mattin has talked of this album as the one that will alienate all previous Billy Bao fans (way to go!) and while the blueprint is essentially the same – challenging sonics given a radical political context and then edited to the point of Hyper – the line-up and the thrust of ideas is almost entirely upended. For Urban Disease Mattin and Bao are joined by Taku Unami, Tim Barnes, Margarida Garcia and Barry Weisblat and the sound is more attuned to the whole Industrial/communal improvisation style, albeit cut up with long silences, bowed strings and serrated drones. “It's important to remember that before Mattin and anarchism ruined his life, Billy Bao was a bit of a troubadour who accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and warbled wild songs of protest in his native Nigerian patois. This new album, his third on vinyl, finds Billy in a transitional phase toward the end of 2006, before the gaztetxes of Bilbao burrowed into his marrow, before Mattin became the Merle to his G.G., before Billy turned into herpes sore in the mouth of global capitalism. "Billy doesn't believe in hypnagogia," we're told, "because he always sleeps with one eye open, and when he dreams, all he sees is AIDS denialists, German shepherds, and soldiers disguised as UN peacekeepers." Before Taku Unami fucked it up, this session found Bao relaxed and in high spirits as he conducted a pickup band of itinerant improvisers through a song-by-song cover of Amon Düül's Psychedelic Underground. Margarida Garcia lent her astounding skill and highly personal idiom on the electric double-bass, in her hands an instrument with the tension of string on wood and the disruptive potential of a crackle box. Barry Weisblat, meanwhile, teased out a century of drone from a Cornell lunchbox of filament and circuitry. Who better to play drums and percussion than the sainted Tim Barnes? Mattin, thumb and forefinger compulsively pinching or stroking his Hitler mustache after every take, funneled Billy's malaise through laptop, percussion, and folk instrumentation. There was even, astonishingly, a women's choir on hand, eerily filling out the atmosphere with wordless vocals and incantations. But this is after, and the result is a fragmentary, extremely loud hippie jam session punctuated by stretches of uneasy silence and scrape. The Lp is mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, in a limited edition of 500 copies, pressed on 140g vinyl and comes in a poly-lined inner sleeve. It is packaged in a pro-press jacket which itself is housed in a silk screened pvc sleeve with original artwork by New York artist Henry Flynt.”

David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue


II - 15th of December
Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Margarida Garcia (electric guitar)
David Maranha (Hammond organ)

Afonso Simões (drums)
limited edition of 100, LP Headlights, Lisbon 2009

Beautiful new hand-numbered edition of 100 copies private press LP in black printed wraparound sleeves from a group that brings together the cream of the Portuguese underground, with both Manuel Mota and Margarida Garcia on electric guitars, David Maranha on organ and Afonso Simoes on drums. This is free music that draws inspiration equally from the gradual projection style of Masayuki Takayanagi’s New Direction Unit, the communal afro-futurism of the Sun Ra Arkestra, St Louis’ Black Artists Group and the AACM big bands, wastoid wah heavy psychedelic freeform and the keyboard and F/X funk swamp of the late Miles Davis groups, Love Cry Want et al. Mota’s recent experiments with wah-wah have launched his solo guitar thought into a whole new rock/jazz zone but until now there has been virtually nada in terms of audio documentation. The pairing with Garcia’s heavy bottom end bowing and sudden sputtering tone explosions is an absolute beauty, with Garcia providing a monstrous backbone from which Mota shoots spurts of quicksilver electricity that explode like fireworks all over Maranha’s gorgeous organ patterns. A fantastic release from a bunch of major thinkers who shoot holes in easy free music strategies. Highly recommended.

David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue

Afonso Simões, David Maranha, Margarida Garcia e Manuel Mota formam os Curia. É na editora deste último, a Headlights, que sai o seu segundo registo, depois da estreia muito bem sucedida na Fire Museum com “Curia”, em inícios de 2008. “II – 15th December 2007″ é um registo ao vivo, não editado (apenas com o corte para a troca de lado do vinil), de um projecto que une alguns dos melhores nomes da música improvisada – e não só – portuguesa. O que aqui se encontra é, de facto, o melhor destes mundos: a candura de Margarida, a voz única de Mota, o controlo, domínio e espaço de Afonso e os vôos contínuos no órgão de David Maranha. Como aqui é registado, há uma harmonia incrível quando os quatro se encontram na mesma sala. Uma espécie de compromisso próximo de Morton Feldman ou William Basinski, sem o objectivo de uma forma concreta, mas algo que se deixa respirar e deseja que respire. Algo espiritual sem as cenas new age. Edição limitada a 100 cópias.



Alfredo Costa Monteiro (accordeon)
Ferran Fages (oscillators, pick-ups)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Ruth Barberan (trumpet)
CD Another Timbre, Sheffield 2

Octante is the quartet of Ruth Barberán (trumpet, speaker, microphones), Alfredo Costa Monteiro (accordion and objects), Ferran Fages (oscillators and pick ups) and Margarida Garcia (electric double bass). Sophistication is not an option with these people, who have grown us used to a dispassionate deflowering of timbral certainties over the (y)ears, either in group or individually. At once cluttered with calmly delivered invectives and allowing lots of elbow-room for individual affirmation, this music copulates with the demons of an unlikely efficiency which transits across the most disgustingly exciting, remarkably abominable clash of instrumental deformations, projecting the collective result against a white wall that emphasizes the raw allure of the machination. Splintered capsules of drooling whispers get rebuilt and reutilized with a little help from undulating electronic discharges; percussive realism and painstaking dismemberment of drowsiness fit together perfectly, contributing to a cynic rationalism whose pale skin is entirely compatible with the concept of impartiality. Still, there are moments in which this soulless combination of parallel nihilisms reaches an ideal balance between mild perturbation and bad intention, and it’s exactly in those occasions that the whole sounds terrific in its total absence of useless frills. Divergence becomes harmonic comprehension, peril turns into temptation, inner animalism brings a weird clarification. The discerning aural sensibility of the musicians determines the exact moment where the experiment might become a hymn to vulgarity, always curbing the desire of going beyond that limit at a precisely right time. And when droning terror kicks in, a peculiar sense of ever-suspicious satisfaction puts a grip on the mind and does not let it go. If you need caresses and kisses this is anathema, but the cognoscenti who haven’t added this CD to their collection yet should act fast. Unquestionably great stuff.


Massimo Ricci, Temporary Vault 

Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Margarida Garcia (electric guitar)
David Maranha (Hammond organ)
Afonso Simões (drums)
CD Fire Museum, Philadelphia 2007

Curia could be one of those bands coined with that horrible definition of "supergroup".
Curia´s line-up consists of an all-star quartet of portugal best players in the fields of improvised and free music, including of Manuel Mota, David Maranha (also Osso Exótico and Organ Eye), Margarida Garcia and Afonso Simões (half of the free-rock group Fish & Sheep). Furthermore there´s Helena Espvall ( from the band Espers ) making a punctual apparition as a guest .
There´s not one linear definition of what this music might be : only a sense of urge and dialogue that transcends the mundane ground. Having not found a proper definition to describe this music one should focus on what really matters, and that is sound. It´s a music of ghosts, of evocation, constantly habited with a swirling and often perverse sense of crescendo, going from some really abrasive sonic explorations to atmospheric passages of pure psychedelia. The words "form" and "regularity" have new meanings in Curia´s lexical, still one can´t deny there´s a kind cohesion , a clearly noticeable guideline that runs trough all the music.
What could easily turn into a battles of egos is instead a statement of freedom, mutual respect and creativity.
Here as the cliché goes the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. No. Here the whole it´s something dazzling and new.

O Bom Garfo

Min kännedom om portugisisk musik har under lång tid inte sträckt sig mycket längre än till minimalisten Rafael Toral. Under senare år har dock en våg av underjordisk aktivitet fullkomligt sköljt ut över världen på såväl små inhemska bolag som utländska dito. Även om det här är Curias debutskiva är bandets medlemmar i allra högsta grad delaktiga i denna utveckling då de såväl solo som i andra konstellationer har bidragit till scenens vitalitet och goda renommé.
David Maranha, Manuel Mota, Margarida Garcia och Afonso Simões skapar som Curia en sorts genreöverskridande improvisationer som på det stora hela är lågmälda i sitt uttryck men som likväl är förhållandevis svårforcerade. Bearbetade gitarrljud, genomskärande övertoner och bisarra bakgrundsljud möter släpande orgelfigurer och fragmentarisk percussion i en helhet som är krävande men också synnerligen givande. Kanske inte på det där omedelbara sättet utan snarare en känsla som kommer smygande ju mer man tar sig tid att stanna upp och fascineras av alla detaljer och den komplexitet som karaktäriserar denna kvartetts musicerande.

Mats Gustafsson, Sound of Music

Tirando partido da imobilidade da sua plateia, alguém tentava convencer os especados diante de um televisor de que dado território era um deserto. Como quem ensaia um ritual de hipnose, esse alguém gesticulava e repetia sem, sem, sem emparelhando a palavra com cada um dos elementos (casas, hotéis, etc.) que deviam preencher tal área para que não fosse um ermo onde nada se passa. A crer que é longa a distância entre o suposto deserto e quem apenas ouvir falar acerca do mesmo, não será de todo surpreendente dar conta de que alguns receptores passivos da mensagem possam, na necessidade de ter uma qualquer opinião em vez de nenhuma, consentir que o lugar em questão era, de facto, um vácuo, e isto sem nunca o terem sequer farejado.

Não se conhece a mesma tendência manhosa e ludibriante ao colectivo Curia, cujos integrantes já vão dispensando apresentações, mas confirma-se que também este seu primeiro disco é feito sem evidentes crescendos ou decrescendos, sem aparente necessidade de virtuosismos, sem estruturas imediatamente reconhecíveis nos seus quatro movimentos (é livre, sem ser promíscuo). Conforme as perspectivas, dir-se-ia sobre o trabalho lançado pela Fire Museum que o mesmo obedece às premissas de um protótipo de deserto ou, a partir de um ângulo mais construtivo, à disciplina da música que faz categórico uso da elipse e silêncio. Acontece que, mesmo sem largar ao ar um espectáculo de pirotecnia, Curia consegue arrancar reacções de pasmo por meio do avultado número de fenómenos que produzem, por aproximação (na eminência da fricção), os quatro elementos armazenados em sarcófagos separados: a bateria e percussão de Afonso Simões, o calejado órgão Hammond de David Maranha, a guitarra eléctrica wah de Manuel Mota e a guitarra eléctrica tocada com arco por Margarida Garcia (sendo o violoncelo de Helena Espvall, parte dos Espers, o quinto elemento convidado para valiosa participação pontual).

Sendo também por si só um novo mundo paralelo, Curia, ergue-se naturalmente sobre estratos que frisam as capacidades dos executantes, em vez de anulá-las por batalha de sobrevivência entre egos. Em certa medida, é disco onde a peregrinação dos instrumentos favorece um acompanhamento igualmente peregrino de quem escuta (mais abençoado, se movido por uma fé cega). Singra também enquanto conjunto de testemunhos registados no epicentro exacto de um diversificado sismo conspirado por quatro células que simularam um adormecimento faquir, mas que sorrateiramente foram palmilhando toda a dimensão dos seus respectivos espectros sonoros e, por arrasto, a avultada quantidade de recursos que esses oferecem, mais nitidamente quando respeitada a peculiar logística Curia.

Afinal, a progressão dos Curia desenvolve-se um pouco como a que separava Indiana Jones do Santo Graal n’A Grande Cruzada: sucede-se atenta ao soletrar pedonal das coordenadas que os seus membros têm como religiosas (tal como Indy tentava a palavra Jeová/Iehova) e manifesta-se mais repleta de ideias espontâneas quando sente o seu equilíbrio ameaçado (um pouco como o aventureiro, quando pisava em falso). Curia é disco de revelações a ter por perto daqui em diante. A estagnação é a doença, eles são a Curia.

Miguel Arsénio, bodyspace 


Never Give Up On the Margins of Logic
Eddie Prévost (percussion)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Mattin (computer feedback)
Rhodri Davies (harp)
Mark Wastell (amplified textures)

3"CD, Antiopic, New York, 2006

For London's Freedom of the City Festival, Mattin's Sakada materializes in a big band incarnation. Unexpectedly, the larger the group, the smaller the sound. In contrast to Sakada's dense previous recordings as the trio of Mattin, Prévost and Rosy
"The careful selection and placement of sounds in the music are what matter most. Sonic events occur simultaneously, or overlap, and in the process the music thickens and thins and accumulates complexity."
Brian Marley, The Wire


Alfredo Costa Monteiro (accordeon)
Ferran Fages (oscillators, pick-ups)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Ruth Barberan (trumpet)

CDr L'innomable, Slovenia 2005

The last few years have seen a fairly large number of releases from the Iberian crew, generally of very high quality. It's getting to the point where, if one is so inclined, it's perhaps becoming possible to talk in terms of ''progress'' or, at least, change in the music that makes it to disc. This may or may not be meaningful, ultimately, as aspects like development might be absolutely beside the point, but there seems to be at least a little bit that's discernable on that front with the last few recordings that have come myway.
Most significant is the apparent spiraling away from quiet improv toward a fuller, richer and certainly louder exposition. While these musicians (and the four represented here are inarguably central to this scene) have always had something of a sand-in-the-plumbing feel to their work, an earthy, even grimy character that's been one of their most appealing attributes, it's brought to the fore on 'Octante'. The music seesaws between areas where the acoustic instruments hold sway and those where (presumably) Fages's mixing board and whatnot erupt into Lehn-worthy paroxysms of squeal 'n' splat. Three tracks, 22, 6 and 14 minutes long, the first quickly splitting seams, ratcheting into action like some steam-powered machine that hasn't seen oil in several decades, nosing through ill-lit corridors, emitting sensory blips to gauge distances. Barberan and Costa Monteiro engage in some wonderful byplay, their texturally different breath tones forming an enticing fabric, Garcia's bowed rumblings beneath, Fages piercing through. The lulls still appear though they're briefer, the space they occupy more cramped. There's a decided tendency toward the harsh.The relatively brief second track mixes bowed bass and trumpet that lend oddly alpenhorn-ish qualities with nervous patters and crinkles; less brash than the other two cuts but still pleasantly unsettling. The final piece opens in roughly similar territory rather soft, metallic washes of tones before a momentary descent into a bleak bed of static-infused subsonics. In olden times (well, by release standards anyway this was recorded in July, 2003), a stasis may have been reached at this point, the careful activity allowed to simmer for quite a while before the flame was turned off. Not now. The fuel is stoked and the flames start licking skyward. There are times when I'm reminded of a more intense, hyper-amplified variation on Xenakis's classic Concret PH, as pings and whangs ricochet across an increasingly confined space. It ends with a hellified, grating whine.'Octante' is yet another fine, fine disc from a bunch of musicians who have yet to encounter any discernable limit. For listeners already into their earlier work, it's a no-brainer. I'd be interested to hear the reactions to this from the No Fun crowd, especially if they've no previously heard from this neck of the woods, as some of the work contained here abuts their grounds. Good stuff.
Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen

''Damn, and here I was all ready to go with a super new term to describe a whole new genre of improvised music: "soft noise".. OK so I nicked it from Eric Cordier- it's how he described his duo with Tetuzi Akiyama- but it applied quite nicely to some of the stuff that was coming out about a couple of years of ago, including Tetuzi's Résophonie album on ABS, and the first few releases by Cremaster, the duo of Ferran Fages and Alfredo Costa Monteiro. Problem is, Octante,
which also features Fages and Costa Monteiro (on, respectively, feedback mixing board and pickups and accordion) along with trumpeter Ruth Barberán and electric bassist Margarida Garcia isn't soft. In fact it's pretty loud and decidedly nasty in places. The Iberian peninsular improvisers have now gone way beyond the old lowercase lingua franca puffs and spurts into the kind of abrasive noise that wouldn't be at all out of place at the No Fun festival. This quartet has more in common with Wolf Eyes and Femail than it does with Filament or Broken Consort. The only thing that identifies their work as "improv" as opposed to "noise" is that there remain patches of stillness, windows in the structure that still allow rays of light- aka extraneous sound- to penetrate. Octante, rather than the recent Creative Sources outing Istmo, is the real successor to last year's excellent Atolon on Rossbin- or rather precursor, as it was in fact recorded earlier, in July 2003. Come to think of it, Atolon wasn't exactly soft either. Time to rethink the lexicon, redraw the map. In the meantime, check this out.''

Dan Warburton, Paristransatlantic

Barry Weisblat (electronics)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Quakebasket, New York, 2004


Garcia is a diminuitive thinking bassist and one of the central cogs in Lisbon's increasingly vociferous New Music scene, while Weisblat is best know for his sub-radar activities with percussionist Tim Barnes and zoned cultists The Tower Recordings. Weisblat's approach is always extremely hermetic. Live, it's often difficult to work out what he's actually doing ot wether he's even doing anything at all. Here the diffculty lies more in working out who is doing what, as various slithers, lonesome codes, digital bursts and assorted domestic electronic activity combine in a subtly vibrating electroacoustic assemblage.
At points it sounds as if Garcia is slowly feeding the strings of her bass through a tinyshredding machine while Weisblat bobs for his mobile phone in a vat of quick setting jelly - and it's kind of massive sound/event dislocation that makes for a particularly hallucinatory ride.

David Keenan, The Wire

For Permitted Consumption
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Mattin (computer feedback)

CDr L’ Innomable, Slovenia 2003


Few musicians are as adept as Basque computer manipulator Mattin at maintaining a delicate balance between near-silent ethereality and abrasive, explosive textures. And this newest recording, with electric double bassist Margarida Garcia, is perhaps the best document yet of Mattin’s mastery of dynamics. The single piece of For Permitted Consumption flows in steady waves from periods of stillness to bursts of harsh, textured feedback, but regardless of the volume at any given point, the recording is anchored by its common depth and complexity. Within Mattin’s waves of crackling noise, there’s a sensitivity that belies their supposedly random genesis. The music has an industrial edge, a cranking ratcheting energy that sounds like raw sparks being generated, or the bare scraping of metal on metal.

The piece starts as a low rumbling, it could be the remnants of bass (though elsewhere Garcia’s contributions are more recognizable) or some signal extracted from Mattin’s machine. But even within this seemingly simple introduction, the rumble is changed, tweaked, and subtle swishes and high-register tweets are introduced until the original rumble is nearly forgotten. Soon, there’s a momentary silence, which hovers unmoving for... how long we can’t be sure. Because then the sound starts up again, so insidiously that it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint where silence ends and sound begins. The sizzle of static and the grind of Garcia’s bass (is she scraping the strings? the body of the instrument? tweaking out some quiet pokes of feedback?) rise up out of the silence and at first linger just on the edges of hearing, so soft that they could be figments of the imagination, residual echoes left over from the opening salvo, imagined traces rather than actual objective sound.

Coupled with this disquieting sensation is the expectancy, the sense of waiting that accompanies the disc’s softer moments, the knowledge that this tranquility can be broken at any moment. And that, perhaps, is an ingenious acknowledgement of the computer’s destructive potential in music, music whose very beauty depends on the uglier elements surrounding it. So when Mattin suspends tingling upper-register harmonics, and when that sterile perfection is almost immediately interrupted by glitchy static and howling noise, it’s a perfect juxtaposition of the harsh and the fragile. Garcia, for her part, provides another kind of juxtaposition, that of her mostly subtle, gentle sounds within the matrix of Mattin’s flowing, pulsating feedback. Her rich bass tones only take center-stage a few times in this piece’s half-hour. Despite this, she has a genuine capacity to surprise whenever some break in Mattin’s cascading waves of sound reveals that her warm, metallic playing has been providing an unnoticed but no less powerful undertow. Her playing is restrained, almost pretty, but the sounds she creates with her minimal style have the same industrial edge as Mattin’s digital din.

For Permitted Consumption is the kind of modern improv recording that Mattin (along with a handful of his electronically minded contemporaries) seems to have perfected: a computer-based album that sounds as gritty and organic as a tractor or a bass pluck. Each moment of this disc is richly textured, filled with layers of details and powered by a sense of dynamics that doesn’t leap from loud to soft so much as it unnoticeably and naturally just becomes one or the other (with whole swaths of territory in between). This is powerful, beautiful, and immensely engaging, a record that truly returns more and more on each listen.

Ed Howard, Stylus Magazine

In the past couple of years Basque sound artist Mattin has released a number of spectacular albums, including Gora on TwoThousandAnd, Vault (with Mark Wastell) on his own w.m.o. imprint and, on the same label, the recent magnificent Whitenoise with Radu Malfatti (about which I could wax lyrical again here but as I already did so in the July 2004 Wire I won't repeat myself any more than I already do). Mattin specialises in "computer feedback", which sounds more like market research jargon than instrumental resource, so I'm grateful to him for sending this brief email by way of explanation: "I am very interested in making the most of that which you are dealing with, in my case a computer. My computer has, like many others, an incorporated microphone. What I do is to set it up as a sound source, turn up the volume and feedback is there. Then I use simple EQ. I also use the computer as a simple contact mic, or even as a resonance box (without any short of amplification)". Not quite sure about using the computer as "a resonance box" actually means - though amusing images of him attacking his hardware with assorted sticks and mallets spring to mind - but never mind. What counts is that Mattin's music at its best, like that of those other venerable practitioners of feedback, Otomo Yoshihide and Toshimaru Nakamura, is like walking a tightrope stretched across an active volcano, and thrilling precisely because at any moment it can and often does fall off into the molten lava below.

With Radu Malfatti on Whitenoise, it took an almost superhuman effort on Mattin's part to rein the feedback in (though there is one notable explosion). With bassist Margarida Garcia, the beast is let loose from time to time, probably because the set subsequently entitled For Permitted Consumption was recorded live as part of London-based Resonance FM's Instant Music Radio Meeting series in May last year. Those familiar with the cellular minimalism of Garcia's electric bass work with Sei Miguel might be surprised to hear her growling and snarling like some crazed cross between Darin Gray and Fred Galiay, though she's equally fond of Taku Sugimoto-like twangs, which work surprisingly well with the variety pack of crunches, squeals, hums and yelps Mattin cooks up. With material as intense as this, a little goes a long way, and the 33-minute duration is perfect.

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic


Electric double bassist Garcia and computer feedback architect Mattin both share a whisper-to-a-scream aesthetic that makes this live Improv session for resonance FM a hair-raising listen. Moments of calm, poised beauty, such as gorgeous plucked passage from Garcia towards the end, vie with seconds where the fabric of the sound is ripped
apart by scything feedback ho
wls. The real power of the duo's approach, however, lies in the way the eschew all-or-nothing dynamics. There's a constant undertow of danger and instability during the more placid sections, with Mattin's noise squalls erupting from within the calm, and a corresponding sense of the ensuing chaos being reined in, sculpted and shaped into a more manageable form. Garcia's extended instrumental techniques become more prominent as the session progresses, but the drama of the album lies in the tangles and tussles between the pair as they struggle to achieve equilibrium.

Keith Moline, The Wire

Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Fala Mariam (alto trombone)
Margarida Garcia (upright bass)
César Burago (carillon)
CD Headlights, Lisbon 2003


Compared to some of his fellow improvisors and playing partners in the surprisingly fertile Portuguese free Improv scene, guitarist Manuel Mota can´t be described has overly prolific, but each of his releases since the intriguingly titled set of duos with Margarida Garcia, For Your Protection Why Don´t You Paint Yourself Real Good Like An Indian, has been a gem. Garcia also reappears here on electric upright bass, the other members of Mota´s quartet being Fala Mariam on alto trombone and César Burago on carillon (as in toy glockenspiel, not cathedral bells).
All four musicians perform with the enigmatic trumpeter and composer Sei Miguel, Portuguese New Music´s best kept secret, and Miguel is credited here as producer and arranger. His arrangement consists of "choosing timbres (from instruments, devices-mutes, to dynamics, equalization-amplification) and silences (metric possibilities written or not), and selecting a few motifs/ segments that could operate loosely during performance, clearing musicians´ minds and allowing an abstract unity to all tunes. Arrangement is more important than composition," Miguel notes, "because it deals with available timbres and rhythmic individuality, in other words the real action, the future sound object." Tracks like "Shield" and "Flame Street" recall the steady flow and fractured lyricism of Miguel´s own Still Alive in Bairro Alto and Showtime, with its elusive and significant dedication "to Chet and Cage".
Miguel´s Chet may be absent here, but there´s a touch of New York School in the plasticity of the arrangements (Wolff) and the instrumentation (Feldman). That said, the combination of Mota´s spacey, supple and pitch-sensitive picking (Derek Bailey´s admiration for the guitarist´s work is easy to understand), Garcia´s discreet but odd extended technique bass work, Mariam´s introspective, muted trombone and Burago´s tiny tinkling cells - two notes often suffice, three almost sound excessive - sounds unlike anything else in today´s music, improvised or otherwise. With the exception of "Good Eve", which uses cavernous reverb to haunting effect, the recording is close and dry, microscopic and probing rather than deep and intimate, and yet this strange, elusive music constantly draws you in closer to discover its delicate secrets.

Dan Warburton, The Wire, 2005

Lisbon-based guitarist Manuel Mota raised some interest a few years back with his solo release Leopardo on the Rossbin label. That recital on solid-body electric guitar revealed a young player searching out ways to personalize the vocabulary of solo guitar, with a particular nod to the area charted by Derek Bailey. This new release on Mota’s Headlights label finds him in the company of three other like-minded players for a set of nine concentrated collective improvisations: trombonist Fala Mariam, bassist Margarida Garcia, and percussionist César Burago.
Mota has chosen his collaborators wisely, matching his brittle, spiky lines with Mariam’s grumbling trombone smears, Garcia’s sparely placed resonant bass, and Burago’s chiming metallic counterpoint. (Though Burago is credited as playing carillon, it sounds more like a mallet instrument such as tubular bells or marimba.) The minimalist title and spare pencil drawing on the cover match the music perfectly. Here are four players well-versed in intimate improvisation built off of linear interplay, cross-cut textures, and the careful balance of sound and space.
This is music with roots firmly in the old-school spontaneous collective improvisation navigated by Bailey and company for the past four decades. Each of these players has honed their technique, concentrating on focused attack with little sustain. Jagged shard-like lines are scratched across the sound space with a clear sense of deliberation. There is always a careful placement of notes into the collective mix, with an ear toward densities and textures rather than propulsive movement or dynamic arc.
Mota’s precise finger-picked notes are sounded and damped. Garcia’s electric upright bass projects her plucked and bowed gestures stripped of any acoustic resonance. Mariam accentuates rounded smears, blats, and rumbles, judiciously using mutes to distance the aspects of breath from her horn. Burago is also careful to strike his instrument and then damp or mute the attack, placing the bell-like tones with a fastidious attention to timbre and decay of sound.
The recording balance picks up every gesture and nuance, switching a bit from cut to cut. Some of the pieces are close-miked, placing all the instruments up front in the mix. Others utilize a wetter, more spatial sound, which places the instruments a bit further back in the sonic plane, allowing the sound of the room to enter into the mix a bit more. Though there is a certain sameness that pervades the recording from piece to piece, the clarity of intent and vision is always evident and ultimately prevails.

Michael Rosenstein, One Final Note, 2005

It could be assumed that "Quartets" is the most mature and accomplished work by Manuel Mota, whose multipurpose fingers run after myriads of wrecked chords and whirlwind fragments; he does it without catching any of those strolling notes which would love transforming themselves into the ghost of whitebread "jazz". Fala Mariam's trombone gabbling enables the musicians to follow shadows, revealing a tendence to disobey conventions while bending air and natural reverberation to will. Fabulous punches and enigmatic caresses come from the upright bass of Margarida Garcia, one of the most interesting explorers of the lower range area in today's improvisation; finally, the carillon touches by Cesar Burago find their due place all around the pieces, creating their own graft of terminology and contributing to the release of some accumulated introversion. Together, these four players have conceived a most interesting conversation, sustaining 40 minutes brilliantly without any pyrotechnics.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 2005


Alfredo Costa Monteiro (accordeon)
Ernesto Rodrigues (viola)
Guilherme Rodrigues (cello)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)

CD Creative Sources, Lisbon 2003


The most daring experimental music is often met with great scepticism. This quartet marvelously represents the paradox of cutting-edge music: the trained ear almost immediately detects an incredible level of focus in the playing and an astounding resourcefulness in obliterating idiosyncratic clichés -- yet the common listener hears only scratches and grunts and will most likely call it a con or judge it as not being music at all. Viola player Ernesto Rodrigues, his son cellist Guilherme, bassist Margarida Garcia (playing an electric double bass, a rare choice among free improvisers) and accordionist Alfredo Costa Monteiro all focus their attention on the sound conceived as a material object, thrown into the tri-dimensional space comprised between the listener¹s ears. Their music carries the labor of having to make critical artistic choices every tenth of a second, the joy of succeeding in doing so, and the excitement of four artists communicating on a level that is both highly intellectual (in its abstraction) and deeply atavistic (in its coming back to an unregulated form of expression). What does all this rambling say about the music?, you may ask. It says that the music consists of softly screeching strings, of an accordion being scratched and tapped (a note is occasionally squeezed out, at the threshold of a vibrating reed), of a bass purring away -- music redefining itself while redefining your understanding of music, constantly sidestepping your expectations. The intersecting discourses are articulated in cut sequences, like alexandrine verses and their pauses ("cesura" in Portuguese). This is a stunning recording. 

François Couture


Life is O.K 
track 1: Margarida Garcia (double bass) Rhodri Davies (harp) Takehiro Nishihide (guitar) track 2: Rohan Thomas (drums) Mathew Hyland (guitar) Daniel Beeban (guitar)CDr MGM - MyGiantMum, London, 2003 

So I Put my Coat On and Walked Downstreet
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
CDr Thin Ice, Lisbon 2003 


Small Damage Under Appearance
Alfredo Costa Monteiro (Accordeon)
Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
CDr Thin Ice, Lisbon, 2003



Ra Clock
Sei Miguel (trumpet)
Cesar Burago (percussion)
Fala Mariam (trombone)
Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Margarida garcia (double bass)
CD Headlights, Lisbon 2003

More excellent stuff by Miguel. In this exciting release, Sei prefers avoiding the muted trumpet for most of the record's duration, instead opting for a clear, open tone that duets with a lot of perfectly matching voices, such as in the wonderful second track where clay drums, organ and trombone give life to a magic mixture, taking a dose of Jon Hassell's exotic twists and launching them in a nightmare made of oblique views and nocturnal noises. I also appreciated the melancholic piano piece coming right after, sort of a distant sigh by a forgotten soul. Miguel and his colleagues - among them an excellent female bass player named Margarida Garcia and a great trombone player, Fala Mariam - once again captured my attention, never exagerating, just sligthly opening a little window over themselves.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 2003


Ferran Fages (electronics)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
CDr Thin Ice, Lisbon 2002




(and birds sing sweeter than books tell how)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
CDr Thin Ice, Lisbon 2002 



For Your Protection Why Don’t You Just Paint Yourself Real Good Like an Indian
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Manuel Mota (electric guitar)

CD Headlights, Lisbon 2001


Manuel Mota is interested in melodic lines within a free jazz framework. He sounds as if he’s playing over-amplified and trying to be quiet, which is an interesting approach that can lead him into nice choices of articulation. Here as on his previous CD he’s working with excellent bassist Margarida Garcia. They share an aesthetic founded in conventional notes-playing but acutely aware of timbre. Her work is subtle, even secretive, but it makes a big impact, and helps sustain Mota’s soloistic approach. Above all of the guitarists he’s most like, he’s most like Joe Morris, but he has a much more risky tone which makes him much less impersonal than Morris can be. This is often quiet, understated free improvisation which retains links with jazz; Mota and Garcia as a duo certainly deserve wider recognition.

Richard Cochrane, Musings, 2001

Che l’amore sotterraneo di Manuel fosse il jazz s’intuiva gia all’epoca del primo album, lo splendido "I wish I’d never met you", uno dei dischi piu intriganti dello scorso anno. Per la sua seconda uscita il giovane chitarrista portoghese esce allo scoperto: acompagnato da Margarida Garcia al contrabasso elettrico, da sfogo alla saudade che gia s’avvertiva tra el righe piu scomposte del primo album e lascia le proprie mani libere di giocare al jazzy. E evidentemente un jazz del tutto asimettrico e spostato: silente in gran parte, impennato e claudicante eppure lieve, leggiadro, pacificato. Una chitarra che pizzica e accenna a se stessa, mai che faccia una scala o un accordo, solo note insidiose, aspre e quiete come un riccio che dorme; un contrabasso che essenziale e dir pouco, un lavoro alla perenne sottrazione.

Par di sentire Taku Sugimoto che coverizza gli Storm & Stress o vice versa, e non e poco. O un Bailey in versione brasileira. I pezzi si svolgono simili, vano avanti per magnifica inerzia destreggiandosi tra note e notarelle comme schizzi e tratteggi di un acquerello mai terminato. Non aggiungono e tolgono nulla a se, perfettamente conchiusi. Bello sul serio, e stranito. Da avere e ascoltare, ci torneremo sopra, che quest’uomo ha senz’altro cose da dire e fare.

Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow up, 2001

Manuel Mota performs here on electric guitar, and is accompanied by Margarida Garcia on electric upright bass. These five long, abstract jazz pieces are relatively light, casual improvisations, full of interesting textures and phrases on guitar and bass, from the soft and subtle to a more erratic and playful style. It offers a cool, intimate mood, and as I listened with my window open, a pair of birds perched outside whistled in answer to the timbres of Mota's strings. A nicely executed, understated work.
Headlights certainly makes a quiet yet unique mark in the world of experimental jazz. Be on the look out for future projects.

Richard di Santo, Incursion, 2002

Using a clean tone and abandoning any kind of stereotyped guitar technique is the main objective of Portuguese guitarist Mota during the almost 40 minutes of this nice timbral exploration. In some instances, he improvises in duo with the beautiful electric upright bass tone of Margarida Garcia; there's no big difference anyway as the whole record is a pleasure to listen to, expecially at low volume. I could not say anything about Manuel's influences as his playing is so free of cliches that quite often it borders on a primal approach. It's absolutely pure and on this basis you have to accept the results, without thinking about aesthetics but appreciating the seriousness of intents.

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 2003


Still Alive in Bairro Alto
Sei Miguel (trumpet)
César Burago (percussão)
Fala Mariam (trombone)
Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Margarida Garcia (double bass)
Tiago Brandão (electric guitar)

CD, Headlights, Lisbon 2001

Sei Miguel plays muted pocket trumpet, sounding at times not unlike Chet Baker, and the rest of his band consists of Fala Mariam on alto trombone, Manuel Mota and Tiago Brandão on guitars (Mota taking on more of a solo role), Margarida Garcia on twin (which on the photograph seems to be a two-string electric bass), and two percussionists, Monsieur Trinité and César Burago. Looks on paper like the line-up for a helluva salsa band, right? You couldn't be further from the mark: I am prepared to bet that trumpeter Miguel's music is unlike anything you've ever heard. Like his earlier earlier "Showtime" (Fabrica de Sons, FS 100.002, 1996), there's just one piece on "Still Alive..", a 40 minute track entitled "Favourite Places in Time". Miguel's working method, as described in a letter to Rui Eduardo Paes published in Revue & Corrigée in September 1999, is to work individually with his musicians to familiarise himself with their personal "micro-traditions" before incorporating their individual virtuosity into a "personal and transmittable" score. Although the instrumentation inevitably recalls jazz (which Miguel describes brilliantly as "a trans-idiomatic music with a cosmic vocation whose relatively mysterious origins lie in the explosion of various traditional musics, 'deported' and later 'magnetised' by the blues"), the structure of the music has more in common with Cage. There are no themes as such, no strong unifying pulse element, and never a sense of solo and accompaniment, since each musician effectively solos all the time. Players have their own material (quite restricted in nature for the bass and percussion) and their own space/time to articulate it in, and the piece as a whole admits the resulting polyphony without questioning, managing to sound both intelligently cool and emotionally sensitive at the same time. The fact that all the band members are photographed wearing cat masks may be significant: they all know how to purr contentedly while remaining inscrutable and fiercely independent.

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Magazine, 2002




I Wish I'd Never Met You
Manuel Mota (electric guitar)
Margarida Garcia (electric percussion)
CD Headlights, Lisbon 1999

Avevamo giá incontrato il chitarrista Manuel Mota in un momento dello splendido e osticissimo ‘Chasing Sonic Booms’ di Rafael Toral e adesso lo ritroviamo, tutto da solo, alle prese con solipsistiche pennellate e labirinche scale a chiocciola orami definibily ‘classicamente Drummiane’, tanto e difficile trovare altri paragoni plausibili a queste sincopi e a questi improvvisi scarti di lato e implosioni di sguincio. Mota dimostra di aver appreso in pieno quella che e stata la ‘lezione’ del primo album di Kevin Drumm e la applica, sommariamente, a una polpa di stampo jazz piuttosto che rumorista. Piu malleabile del chicagoano ma non meno provocatorio, Manuel appare come una specie di Bailey spiritato e in versione brasileira- spesso le note s’abbandonano a una vena di saudade prontamente smentita con scorie sintetico-rumoriste (ascoltate Let Me Bring You Down e vedrete). Bello e possible, eccitante, pericoloso ed eroticissimo (date un’occhiata alla copertina: un’operazione- qualunque essa sia- che s’ha de fare con molta delicatezza…), ‘I wish I’d never met you’ e una veria goduria per le orecchie e il suo autore un uomo di cui sentiremo ancora parlare. Scommenttiamo?

Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow up, 2000

Chi si aspetta dal caldo Portogallo di sentire solamente fado o i fastosi successi dei Madredeus, dovrà ricredersi in parte, perchè proprio da Lisbona, proviene il nostro Manuel Mota. Chitarrista e compositore emergente, ha preso parte a lavori con diversi connazionali, tra cui Rafael Toral figura più che mai affermata nella scena improvvisativa odierna. I Wish I'd Never Met You è sostanzialmente un lavoro per sola chitarra, tranne in sporadici momenti in cui compare in aiuto anche la percussionista "elettrica" Margarida Garcia. Elencare o cercare di descrivere, uno per uno, i pezzi che compongono il cd é cosa difficile, dal momento che nessun filo conduttore o schema è parte integrante dell'anima di Mota. Fruscii, ritmi graffiati, e un rapporto strettamente intimistico con lo strumento ci farà (spero) venire in mente non solo personaggi eclettici o legati principalmente al mondo dell'avanguardia, ma richiamerà alla mente anche particolari figure melodiche ed esotiche. Non dimentichiamo che recentemente Mota ha dichiarato in una intervista di amare anche la tromba di Chet Baker. Finalmente i suoi lavori sono diventati facilmente reperibili presso la 'FRINGES' di Giuseppe Ielasi e quindi non esitate piu' di tanto.

Sergio Eletto, Kathodik, 2001