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Leopardo is a solo recording by the Portuguese guitarist Manuel Mota, who might best be described as a somewhat more fluidly lyrical Derek Bailey. Lovingly recorded on solid body electric guitar, his improvisations have the spiky quality associated with the elder statesman of the freely improvised guitar, but Mota's lines sound as though coated in oil, possessing a slipperiness and liquidity that peeks back at Portuguese traditions. There are very few extended effects employed, the guitar strings ringing clear more often than not. The pieces scrabble around quite a bit, clawing at the periphery of melodies though never crossing the border from the abstract. Sometimes it's oddly reminiscent of the instrumental portions of "Moonchild" from the first King Crimson album, floating in a similar sound space. If there's a problem with the recording, it's that the tracks are a good deal similar to each other, exploring very much the same territory and tending to blend together. When, toward the end of the final, longest cut, Mota begins to conjure up some ultra-high crackles that sound a little like coals popping, one very much wishes to hear more in this direction. It's an attractive landscape that's being investigated (and a good jumping in point for listeners who find Bailey overly arcane), but those wishing for a tougher, deeper musical concept may find their attention wandering. Very much worth hearing, though.
Cat. number: RS 009