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Tortuga Alada — Cuadernos de Viaje n°2
(Dur et Doux DD-060, 2022, CD / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2022-11-25

Cuadernos de Viaje n°2 Cover art

Tortuga Alada is Spanish for “winged turtle,” an imaginary animal, and is also the name of the musical project created in 2017 by Colombian saxophonist and clarinetist Maria Valencia and Argentine cellist Violeta Garcia. Together they explore the outer limits of jazz and chamber music where they sometimes torture their instruments to produce avant-garde, free-form, and risky improvised music that may only appeal to a very limited audience. They recorded their first album, Cuadernos de viaje n°1, in Bogotá, Colombia on January 26, 2018. Between 2018 and 2020, Tortuga Alada traveled around South America, performing in two centers of Latin American experimental music: Roseti (Buenos Aires) and Matik-Matik (Bogotá), where they recorded their second album Cuadernos de viaje n°2. Their second album continues their exploration of spontaneous music that ranges from the melancholic to tortured frenetic vignettes. In point of fact, some of their compositions sound composed and orchestrated, like “Parientes” where the duo plays in unison with their respective instruments indistinguishable from one another. Then on other tracks such as “Cra 11, Quinta Camacho,” the Roseti venue, and “Av. Córdoba 5283, Palermo,” the Matik-Matik venue, Tortuga Alada explores dissonance through squeaks, squawks, scrapes, and taps for aimless noodling, causing the listener to question how do they keep their head in the music without totally disintegrating into their individual musical worlds. The final track, “Sinalefa hacia el sur,” is the duo joined by four other avant garde musicians:  Ana Ruiz Valencia (violin), Juliana Gaona (oboe), Camila Nebbia (saxophone), and ívia Mattos (accordion). This final improv is the longest track on the album, clocking in at 8:26, and is a slow, meandering piece where all six musicians appear to be the sonic equivalent of Brownian motion, exploring different ideas within the context of a single chord, with individual instruments popping their heads out of the chord and taking ownership of note sequences. Make no mistake, Cuadernos de viaje n°2 is difficult music and may not be for everyone.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Tortuga Alada

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