Guitarra 66


Portuguese underground legend Tó Trips releases his first solo -- and acoustic -- album after two decades of producing fiercely uncompromising and original music. From John Dowland's XVI century airs to Joaquin Rodrigo's guitar works, from Peter Walker to Marc Ribot, with impressions of Cape Verdean music, Cuban son, Brazilian choro, North Africa's oud music, Guitarra 66 is an original work by someone deeply haunted by all traditions and life journeys. It may not be self-evident, but Guitarra 66 is as much about Portugal as it is about the rest of the world and is a first person account of one who knows that, sometimes, we need nothing more than the wind blowing through the trees. From his first start in the late '80s with his first band, Amen Sacristi, to his part in the Portuguese underground with Santa Maria Gasolina Em Teu Ventre ("Holy Mother Gasoline In Your Womb"), to his time in Lulu Blind (who opened for Sonic Youth and Manic Street Preachers) in the early '90s, Tó's musical route appears side by side with names like Steve Albini's Big Black, Glenn Branca and, naturally, Sonic Youth. But in Portugal, as opposed to just about everywhere else in the post-grunge world, "underground" never meant "mainstream." Tó Trips' joint project with Pedro Gonçalves -- Dead Combo -- sought to answer that need. The band's checkered style -- part-Morricone, part-Tom Waits -- knotted the audience around it. However, Guitarra 66 creates a quieter world out of melodic pieces born with a noise aesthetic, which has always been Tó's primary habitat as a guitar player (as is evident by his part in Rhys Chatham's large-scale works). Tó Trips describes this solo work as "a romantic album, Mediterranean, with Portuguese roots. An Iberian album gazing upon the Atlantic. It crisscrosses voyages through the African desert, evokes the Latino neighborhoods of U.S. cities, and beckons the south seas." Tó also draws inspiration from the late Portuguese guitar legend Carlos Paredes and Marc Ribot, and though he might act on his influences, he does his best to lose them in the chase. His technique digresses and draws ellipses with agile and circular melodies that can be dark and droning or delicate, gentle sketches.