Prior to approaching a double bass duo, we sense that the ear membranes will be stimulated and (hopefully) rewarded by the intensity of selected nuances. At the same time, it is understood that the talkative overlapping of two identical instruments often leads to a gruesome sterility, thanks to which finalizing the listening process becomes an exhausting exercise in mental resilience.

Not so when the instrumentalists are resourceful – and, as in this case, longtime friends. Hernâni Faustino and João Madeira know the double bass as well as themselves, and are not afraid of walking every meter of the lengthy route to the place of improvisational significance. The point where not only the idea itself is inevitably expressed “as is”, but reveals a purity of purpose which was probably there even before the act.

The three parts of dB Duet, recorded live at Lisbon’s O’Culto da Ajuda during an unspecified evening, include all that is useful in terms of coherence, sharpness and timbral seeking not necessarily derived from drastic criteria. We welcome the interweaving of bows, strings and resounding woods as if intent in reading a book by a reliable author. The acoustic grain exhibited by the pair reminds of the importance of a vibratory phenomenon as a means of communication with an innerspace more and more difficult to defend in these times of pitiful superficiality cheaply dressed in “spiritual” commonplace. If, in the midst of all this, the resulting music comes across as a spontaneous architecture of excellent quality, so much the better.

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