Sinister Hypnotization

Sinister Hypnotization

Lisbon Berlin Quartet

Luis Lopes’ Lisbon Berlin Quartet immediately references the residences of the contributing musicians, Lopes and Rodrigo Pinheiro from Lisbon, Robert Landfermann and Christian Lillinger from Berlin, but there’s more than this that feeds the specific urban relations of this music. To say each is a city with a past, is understatement. If Berlin will loom larger in general histories, from the nightmare of Nazism and the following decades of division, the wall and the refined horrors of the Stasi, Lisbon has a special claim on duplicity, given the half-century reign of the Salazar dictatorship, a fascist regime that preferred relationships with major Western ‘democracies’_ England, America_ which in turn found secret police, torture and oppression easily overlooked for an ally in the war against communism. It was a duplicity that once made Lisbon an espionage hub, a network of spies, lies and conspiracies as much as a city. Lopes’ Lisbon Berlin references all of that indirectly, but it’s a contemporary vision—forcefields and fault lines, underground and skyline, alive from road to rail to phone to rail to phone to cloud, all that data congealing in space, messages breaking up into compound futurities.

The band exercises a brilliant fury, parts mirror one another, sounds may be distinct_ there’s definitely something special about Landfermann’s upright bass, often bowed but through pedals and amp creating a hybrid monster of acoustic and electronic genes_but it’s the wild reflective possibilities of all those high-volume sounds, bouncing off studio walls at a pace in which sonic after-images present undreamed of future cities, third-world Metropolises with contemporary social problems wed to future mutations. Pinheiro, elsewhere master of a certain contemporary classicism, here pursues his own electronic bent, a happy partner and prod to Lopes’ amplified kinetics, while Lillinger, here and elsewhere, exercises a combination of chance and precision that could make him the defining drummer of a generation.


Luis Lopes (guitar)
Rodrigo Pinheiro (fender rhodes)
Christian Lilinger (drums)
Robert LAndfermann (doublebass)


All compositions by Luís Lopes except 1 and 2 by the Lisbon Berlin Quartet
Recorded by Sebastian Maschat at Butterama Recording Center, Berlin, May 5th 2018
Mixed by Luís Lopes, March 2021
Mastered by David Zuchowski at DaverNoise Studios (, Chicago, March 2021
Produced by Luís Lopes
Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul
Cover Design by Travassos
Art work paintings by Adriana Molder

Release date
June 1, 2021
Clean Feed Records - CF571CD
Disc format


We get five relatively freely improvised "stretches", where you quickly notice Lillinger's excellent drumming, even if it is well learned in the others' playing. Landfermann is a bassist who can be compared a bit with Norwegian Ingebrigt Håker Flaten in the way the music is attacked, and Pinheiro uses Fender Rhodesen almost to the breaking point. [...] Tough, raw and free!

The guitar smells like a mutant post-Bailey, the piano roars, and the rhythm section does its job, looking for extra power over and over again in the meta.rock breakthroughs. Steel, other heavy metals, volcanoes of emotions, cataracts of events. After time, this wonderful situational chaos seems to organize the rhythm that arises under the fingers of the strong hands of the invariably active drummer. His actions create a platform on which a very impressive exposition of Fender's Rhodes glides .

On this album, his guitar gets tangled up in the harmonic sparks debited by Pinheiro, in a dense electrical cloud that does not overshadow Lopes, but frees him to be even more expressive, as if that were possible, using feedback as an enveloping sound mass that invites dive.

The Berlin Quartet is another excellent Luis Lopes project that deserves a chance for further development both live and on disc.

For this Quartet release they have added to the mix Rodrigo Pineiro on fender rhodes (also check out Pineiro’s piano work on the Red Trio with Nate Wooley, Stem (Clean Feed, 2012) – pure magic). The mood from the two Trio records is carried forward here, but the additional voice of Pineiro adds a certain density and unpredictability to the raucousness.