Aug 26 2013
Quartetto Minimo – “Pomelö”
One of the more positively addictive albums I’ve been listening to lately is Pomelö, the newest by Quartetto Minimo. Four young musicians from the Madrid jazz scene, they bring a dual guitar attack to their modernized voicing of Flamenco Jazz. An album with a breezy disposition, it keeps a fluid motion that lets melodies coast on its surface like ducks floating down a lively stream.
And while its rhythmic textures are what carries the day on this album, the quartet’s craftsmanship of strong, catchy melodies cinch this recording into place as one that can be counted on for repeated, enjoyable listening.
Your album personnel: Nico Arzimanoglou (guitar), Sébastien Spang (guitar), Eliaz Hercelin (double bass), and Ilan Hercelin (drums).
Tracks like album-opener “Pacifico” and follow-up “Salammbo” are upbeat and chipper. Melodies are light and infectious, and their easy nature counterbalances the song’s rhythmic gallop.
A track like “Emma” gets to the heart of the quartet’s unconcern with how its music is categorized. Shading things closer to the guitar-driven lullabies of alternative-pop bands like Mojave 3 or Mark Lanegan, the quartet blends in guitar twang and dreamy infusions of arco bass, which both go a long way toward putting a shine on the song’s melodic diamond.
Melodies are stated right out of the gate and returned to frequently. Sometimes the quartet stays close to the melodic home base, other times, like on thrilling “Amilcar,” the quartet develops the melody far out onto the horizon.
Generous servings of bass arco throughout the recording… a wise decision considering the brisk nature of many of the album’s songs. It gives the sense of reigning in the tempo without actually breaking the rhythm’s pace.
The cymbal-heavy attack on “Le Maitre et Marguerite” provides a fuzzy edge to the dual guitar’s sharp, twisting motion, whereas the bursts of ascensions and declinations on the speedy “Azazello” offer up a direct linearity that is just as thrilling as its predecessor’s circuitous path.
“Yiririmun” begins with the solemnity of a waltz and the warmth of a lullaby, but all thoughts of formality and sleep are discarded when it breaks into a wild dash to the finish line, ending with a rare electric burn.
“Behemoth” is light on its feet and catchy as hell, epitomizing so much of what’s right about this quartet’s genre-mashing formula. Different influences can be discerned from the whole, but never so great a quantity of one over the others as to allow itself to be nailed down for the sake of categorization. This demonstrative gesture of genre-border indifference is a big reason why the music remains so fluid, sounding not like a composite of separate parts, but an individualistic expression that stands by itself.
The album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from the Madrid, Spain scene.
Available at eMusic. Available at Amazon: MP3
It would appear that the Quartet are offering a free album track from their official Soundcloud page. I’ve got the song (“Behemoth”) embedded above, so feel free to go for it. It downloads as a .wav file.
August 28, 2013 @ 9:32 pm
I am really digging this record – thanks for the tip. I’ve read this is their fourth record but can only find two of the previous three (Quartetto Minimo and Quartetto Minimo featuring Doro Offermann)- both are available on Amazon and iTunes. Any idea what the third prior release is and where I may be able to get my hands on a copy?
August 29, 2013 @ 7:01 am
Glad you’re liking Pomelo. I’m having a hard time putting it down, myself.
As far as their first album, any information on it does appear pretty obscure. It appears to be self-titled, and I think this is what the album cover looks like…
… but that’s all I know at this point. I’ll shoot a message to the Quartet, let them know that there is interest in that first recording. Maybe they’ll get that up on some retail spots.
I know that in the interval of time between when I made Pomelo one of my eMusic Jazz Picks and when I posted my review on this site, they added one of their older albums to eMusic, so clearly they’re paying attention to retail options. Hopefully the same will happen with their debut.
Thanks for stopping by the site. Cheers.
September 2, 2013 @ 11:39 pm
I just got an email from the Quartetto gang, and they saw your post. Basically, the reason that they no longer offer their debut album for sale is that, in their opinion, it doesn’t measure up to their later work.
This isn’t an unusual position for any artist to adopt. For myself, even though I was very proud of my first novel, I no longer let anybody read it just because my later work was much stronger. However, the more time that passes, the more critical the artist is on those early, first works, and doesn’t necessarily reflect how the audience will receive it.
The Quartet mentioned, also, that they are in the process of reconsidering their position on retailing that first album. My guess (and that’s all it is) is that if they think enough people would be interesting in hearing that recording, they’d make it available. So, keep checking in on their site. And if I hear anything myself, I’ll post something on Twitter and Facebook.
September 3, 2013 @ 7:14 am
Dave – thanks for the update. Makes sense to me. For now I’ll just keep enjoying the three releases that are available. I keep finding new things when I listen to the latest one.
July 6, 2018 @ 1:09 pm
Hi Dave and Chip,
It is never too late, our first album is now available on the internet.
It is called “El Jugo” and was recorded back in 2010.
Thank you very much for your interest,