Aires ‘Chains of Silver, Chains of Gold’ ⟡ Helena Espvall

Galeria Zé dos Bois

© Pedro Jafuno
© Derek Moench


Chains of Silver, Chains of Gold launch

A kind of omnipresent figure on the Lisbon music circuit, Aires is on a journey that deserves attention. Besides being a musician, he is a water-sweller, having co-founded Colectivo Casa Amarela, a publishing entity with a frankly promising collection of vision. He is also part of the duo Peak Bleak, side by side with Sal Grosso. This constancy of energy in flux is now materialized in a new album, another key piece to better understand Bruno Pereira’s sonic quests as an Aires.

Chains of Silver, Chains of Gold starts from a hypothetical set of questions: “How many different shades of red are there? How many different drones can one extract from a single melody? Or from a single note? How many colors can one remember from a single memory? How long can a feeling last? All natural inquietudes of who operates on capsulated moments in himself, finding filigrees and sculpting the sound in several scales and expressions. And Aires has shown that this path is not only surprising, but also seemingly infinite – or, at least, whose limit expands each time one takes another step forward.

It is by the hand of the small but valuable Finnish label World Canvas that this record takes shape. Comprising two long pieces, and two respective remixes, Chains of Silver, Chains of Gold, offers us the feeling of a slow release, as one who leaves behind the weight and voracious speed of everyday life. There is a real dynamic in the apparent static light that illuminates the rock landscapes of this music. The reinterpretations of Vanity Productions (from the equally important Posh Isolation) and Romance Relic (precisely from World Canvas), intertwine in a familiar harmony, making one almost forget that these are external signatures of what we have heard before. A complete picture of encounter and commitment, capable of jumping inside its own canvas. NA

Helena Espvall

An unavoidable name in the freer folk that emerged in the first decade of the millennium, Espers was one of its most celebrated incarnations. With one foot in Sweden and the other in the United States, we heard her on many records that at the time were certainly formative for music lovers who saw in this generation of artists an incredible new world. Together with Fursaxa she formed Anahita and was present in the unforgettable records of the Charalambides. Espvall also accompanied Vashti Bunyan, Marissa Nadler or Bert Jansch in the studio and on stage. A career that extends to other collaborations in the areas of improvisation and international experimentalism, not forgetting her solo work, always pertinent and magnetic – or simply magical, if you prefer.

Resident in Lisbon for the last few years, it has been an absolute pleasure to see her present in various spaces in the city, maintaining a fervent participation in the local community (including outside the musical sphere). Between the cello and the electric guitar, we find echoes of other universes and eras, making use of a mixed language; a language that acknowledges references to eastern and western culture, but also to acoustic explorations and drone mantras. In essence, a kind of immaterialized musical geography in constant movement. It may sound solemn without meaning to be, but the truth is that Helena Espvall is, without a doubt, a piece of contemporary history before us. A talented creator and a figure with a keen curiosity and inevitable humility, which otherwise distinguishes the greatest. NA

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