There's a philosophical framing often used in the 8-bit music world, a suggestion that by altering and rewiring household electronic devices to produce new sounds the creators of the hacked audio art are simply releasing sounds that were already contained within the clock, toy or whatever other implement a person is able to squeeze sound from.
It's an appealing notion, that the sounds (or the potential for particular sounds) were already housed within the circuits and casing, waiting to be discovered. And it's one that would seem to be reserved for the electronics world. But viewed from a slightly wider vantage, we can see that the preparers of pianos, for example, and the alligator-clippers of guitars and the batterers of saxophones have also found ways of releasing sounds which were, at least potentially, there all along.
The duo of Joana Sá & Luís José Martins seems able to discover and release unheard sound potentialities with only the benefit of quality microphones in close proximity to their array of instruments. The sounds they produce are always recognizable and always surprising. At the core is Sá's keyboards (piano, toy piano and celesta) and Martin's nylon string guitar, although they each also use percussion and make sparing use of electronic effects as well. What's more important to their vivid sound world, though, is a rich, shared imagination. The five pieces on Almost a Song seem sometimes magnified, sometimes grandiose, and are generally full almost to the point of splitting open — not just with sonic density but with a surfeit of emotion as well. They music can be almost maudlin, and very nearly exhausting, melodiously abstract and consistently enticing.
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