Sara Serpa and André Matos
Night Birds is the third record from the husband and wife duo of guitarist André Matos and vocalist Sara Serpa. They round out their ensemble with an international cast of acclaimed improvisers. These collaborators include Korean-born cellist Okkyung Less, pianist Don Manski, Ethiopian-Swedish experimental vocalist Sofia Jernberg, and Portuguese drummer João Pereira. The compositions on Night Birds are studies in nuance and restraint. The instrumental accompaniment is almost fragile, while Serpa’s voice is otherworldly.
It may be giving away my nerdish tendencies, but the opening track, “From a Distance,” sounds like the sort of ethereal music found on Doctor Who to signify a moment of grand revelation. Elsewhere, the compositions make me imagine what the Cirque Du Soliel band would come up with if they had a chillout lounge for the performers after the show. The songs are quiet, soothing, and a just weird enough to keep them interesting. Who says avant garde music can’t be beautiful?