Recommended: Jose Lencastre Nau Quartet – “Fragments of Always”


This album builds a momentum that obliterates any melody that steps in its path.  Fragments of Always is separated into tracks and given separate song titles, but this is one long extended exhalation from the José Lencastre Nau Quartet, and as it picks up speed, it starts to come from all directions.  It opens with a stated melody, but the rhythmic vortex, wild and free, tears it apart, sending out fragments from time to time, more as guideposts for the path than something to hold onto and embrace.

The six-part “Aphorism” sets the tone and frames the temper.  The range runs from contemplative to chaotic, and it hits most stops in between.  It is captivating even at its most ferocious.  There is a slight pause for breath before the 17-minute title-track bubbles to life.  It hits many of the same locales as the “Aphorism” suite, but charts a vastly different course.  The result is music that keeps a consistent character, but reveals its personality in an entirely different fashion.

The album’s second half features five tracks that sound like reworkings of pieces sitting square in the quartet’s rear view mirror.  The peaks and valleys of “Visible Wind” recall the more dissonant moments of the “Aphorism” suite, as well as the opening moments of the title-track, whereas the calm “Axis Mundi” is a reminiscence of where it all began, with a vague memory of a melody once envisioned so long ago.

A seriously compelling album.

Your album personnel:  José Lencastre (alto sax), Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano), Hernâni Faustino (bass) and João Lencastre (drums).

Released on FMR Records.

Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Lisbon, Portugal.

Available at:  Bandcamp