Review of After Silence, Vol.1 by Jose Dias, Clean Feed, 2019
“Rarely such organic kind of music is also so elegant, showing us that the sound of electricity can express a classical feeling of Beauty.”-Clean Feed
Listening to this excellent work by the Portuguese guitar player Jose Dias brought me back several years ago, when I read a phrase on an Italian guitar magazine that said more like this: “the era of Jim Hall and Tall Farlow is over, the era of Pat Metheny and John Scotfield has begun.”. I think it happend more than thirty years ago, and it took me a while to understand why this record had brought it back to me so easily.
I already see you smiling and you’re right. That statement, so banal in its contents, betrayed an evolutionary concept in the field of music, as if each new generation of guitarists had to stand on the shoulders of the previous one, cancel the work they performed and create something dutifully new, a schematic, generalized and modernist vision. I think it came back to me because one of the first things I noticed in the first listening was Jose Dias’s musical closeness with Bill Frisell, especially in the use of delay and guitar effects. But this is certainly not the record played by a Frisell’s clone, “After Silence Vol.1” is something much more complex, which instead reflects the curriculum of his author, Jose Dias, an expert into improvisation but also author of music for theater, contemporary dance and animated film. This record certainly expresses respect for the giants of jazz but it seems more a concentration of styles, of different elements almost in a post-modern key, held together by a coherent narrative and by a total attention to the Shape and soundscaping.
Rock, like jazz and ambient, are cited genres, thanks to the distorted sounds and the typical rock’s sustain, but every song here seems to live more by virtue of a sense of narration inherent in itself, which demonstrates the existence of an elegant and complex structure. Attention is in the details. The cd is defined in every aspect with an obsessive care that however leaves space for a sense of unexpected and unusual that emerges and disappears with each listening. And this is a record that calls for prolonged and careful listening. Clean Feed confirms itself as one of the most interesting independent European labels in the world of contemporary guitar. “After Silence Vol.1” is the tenth chapter of the “Guitar Series”, a series of CDs that I strongly suggest you to collect.