It had been almost ten years since I’d seen Rob Mazurek and Mauricio Takara. Back then in Barcelona, 2005, they stole the show at Sonar By Day. Back then, Mazurek was heavily associated with the Chicago scene collaborating with Tortoise and as part of Chicago Underground Duo/Trio with Chad Taylor – even though he was largely based in São Paulo at the time.
Many years and many albums later, Mazurek, Takara and Guilherme Granado are still making wonderful music as the São Paulo Underground Trio, endless solo projects, and in various other formations including tonight’s lineup with Thomas Rohrer to form Black Cube SP. Late last year Black Cube SP recorded an intense record Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost as a response to the death of Mazurek’s mother.
Sometimes there are gigs that just click perfectly – a magic combination of performers, venue, and audience. In the wide open space of Shapeshifter Lab, a venue/gallery space in Brooklyn, Black Cube SP’s dense sound became alternately muscular and tender, with the near-perfect acoustics and mix bringing each sound into rich detail. Mazurek’s cornet led over a Takara’s skittering percussion and pulsing drums, while Rohrer accompanied on a Brazillian folk instrument, the rabeca, a little like a viola. Holding the bass was Granado’s synths and effects. In between abrasive blasts and scattered rhythms come melodic interludes and propulsive rhythms, Takara locking into tight grooves with Granado’s basslines.
With so many instruments and effects, It would have been easy for the show to have been cacophonous and unnecessarily difficult but tonight everything came together and made for one of the best and most enjoyable shows in years.