Maranha belongs to the same minimalist tradition as Paul Panhuysen and Arnold Dreyblatt. It is serious, deeply careful stuff (as anyone who has seen one of Maranha’s complex scores will attest), but informed throughout with a sense of practical experiment and discovery rather than the austere conceptualism or mathematical certainty that certain other minimalists adhere to. Like Panhuysen and Dreyblatt, Maranha pays a great deal of attention to instrumental timbre - he’s used the glass harmonica, didgeridoo and his own ‘maranhophone’ in the past – and his music is as much na opportunity for the sounds to illustrate their own character as it is for him to impose his own structure.
Circunscrita’s instrumentation (violin, double bass, bass drum, harmonium, Hammond organ and guitar) provides a steel wool, scratchily woven timbre. Many of the pieces have na on-edge texture that defies easy listening, the sort of unpleasant, teeth-grinding screech that more polite minimalists leave well alone. Initially, much of it is likely to set nerves jangling, and it may take a while to adjust to the music’s fairly unwelcoming vision. It can also be argued that these compositions generally just set up a texture and leave it to run – there’s less in the way of direction here than on previous Maranha recordings.
For my part, I’m just glad that Maranha has Kept at it for the last decade – the world needs more like him, finding idiosyncratic new sounds in old genres. It may be shrill at times, but Circunscrita is also rich and complex, perhaps even beautiful in its odd way. At its best, it has a poignant, tender edge that deserves to be treasured ---- The Wire (Brian Duguid)
Cat. number: namsk.01