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About the Artist

Door of No Return

Carlos Costa

Duration 37.33 | Released June 2016

Solo Double Bass

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered

between 23rd — 25th of April 2015

at Smiling Cow Studios, in Madrid by Wade Matthews.

Editing by Wade Matthews, Carlos Costa.

About the Artist


Costa is originally from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. He is a double-bass player who focuses his work on improvised music. He participates in various works from his solo project, “Door of No Return”, which was immersed into the production of his first album; a duet with guitarist Manolo Rodríguez, “Costa-Rodriguez” in which he presents his new recording “1+1=1”. Costa is preparing a concert series to present this new album. He has also participated in various bands where the interaction between improvisation and composition predominates, highlighting his most recent project, “Chaira”.

Although Costa has participated in numerous recordings with musicians from very diverse styles, his most important recording projects are: “Espacios”, with his band Jet-Set, where he acts as composer, producer, and bass player; “Energy”, a trio formed by Carlos Costa, José Miguel Méndez (drums) and Manolo Rodríguez (guitar); “Both Sides of the Coin”, a project led alongside the guitarist, Manolo Rodríguez; “1+1=1”, by the duo Costa-Rodríguez.

In recent years, after studying at SIM (School for Improvovisational Music), Costa has performed concerts with Manolo Rodriguez, Tim Berne, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingar Zach, Wade Matthews, Javier Pedreira, Kike Perdomo, Abdul Moimeme, and many others.

At an educational level, Costa teaches at the Guillermo González School of Music and participated in the Castillian translation of double-bass player Mark Dresser's method.

Costa has always been interested in training with other double-bass players like Ladislav Stukowski, Alain Bourgignon, Mark Dresser, Mark Helias and Ben Street, as well as other musicians like Ralph Alessi, Tomas Fujiwara, Miles Okazaki, Steve Coleman, Gerald Cleaver, Marc Ducret, Andy Milne, Sergio Brandao, Matthew Garrison, Jeff Andrews, and many others.

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Massimo Ricci — The Squid's Ear — 18.01.2017

Coming all the way from the Canary Islands, Carlos Costa (not to be confused with Italian percussionist Carlo Costa) is a double bassist operating through multiple categories and assignments. In Door Of No Return he attempted to calibrate the theoretical idiosyncrasies of his instrument in a solo context; this unceremonious set fits quite nicely in the recent wake of releases by lonesome bassists. The material is divided in nine "Doors", each track revealing a tactic to elicit sounds from the big box. Processes and practices are relatively typical for this sort of setting: disconnected plucking, reposeful whispering, nervous stubbornness, barely audible harmonics born from light scraping, splintered percussiveness, frequent visits to the areas beyond the bridge and other inhospitable regions. The whole is brilliantly delivered, though you won't be startled to the point of crying miracle.

However, Costa shows us his inside-and-out knowledge of the deep-toned qualities of wood, handling the consequences of his tests without flinching. This is exactly what makes the album worthy of respect. The music is healthily unspectacular, deprived as it is of useless frills and idiotic prestidigitation. The effort of locating different nuclei of vibrational substance, both within the resonating chambers and across the apparently less useful parts of the body, is rewarded time and again. The trademark crudeness of audiences calling "noise" such a kind of performance derives from the inability of accepting the diversification of resonant phenomena in an instrumental microcosm. Accordingly, Costa appears as an instructor exposing the "warts and all" essence of a complex subject, determined to make us appreciate previously undisclosed details and not-so-dead spots in a state of polite austerity.


"Originario de las lejanas Islas Canarias, Carlos Costa (a no confundir con el percusionista italiano Carlo Costa) es un contrabajista activo en múltiples categorías y tareas. En Door Of No Return, intentó ponderar las teóricas idiosincrasias de su instrumento en un contexto de solos. Este grupo de piezas nada pretenciosas entra perfectamente en la reciente serie de discos emitidos por contrabajistas solitarios. El material se divide en nueve “Doors” (“Puertas”), cada una de las cuales desvela una táctica para sacar sonidos de la caja grande. Tanto los procesos como las prácticas son relativamente típicos para esta suerte de entornos: pizzicatos separados, susurros reposados, nerviosa obstinación, armónicos apenas audibles nacidos de suaves roces, astillada percusividad, frecuentes visitas a las áreas más allá del puente y a otras regiones inhóspitas. La totalidad es brillantemente entregada, aunque no te asombrará hasta el punto de gritar “¡Milagro!”

En todo caso, Costa nos muestra su conocimiento exhaustivo de las cualidades de las graves (o profundas) tonalidades de la madera, y maneja las consecuencias de sus pruebas con abierta valentía. Y esto es exactamente lo que hace tan merecedor de respeto este disco. La música es saludablemente desprovisto de teatralidad, habiendo descartado todo adorno inútil o prestidigitación idiota.

El esfuerzo por localizar distintos núcleos de sustancia vibratoria, tanto entre las cámaras resonantes como por las partes teóricamente menos útiles del cuerpo es recompensado una y otra vez. La archisabida vulgaridad de los públicos que llaman “ruido” a este tipo de actuación deriva de una incapacidad de aceptar la diversificación de los fenómenos resonantes en un microcosmos instrumental. Consecuentemente, Costa emerge como un instructor que expone la esencia sin ambages de un tema complejo, empeñado en conseguir que apreciamos detalles inéditos y lugares no tan yermos en un estado de respetuosa austeridad".

(translated in Spanish by Wade Matthews)

Eyal Hareuveni — Free Jazz Blog — 16.02.2018

Spanish double bass player Carlos Costa says that for a long time he was fascinated by the image of a 'Door of No Return', a symbolic title that captures the essence of his uncompromising, free-improvised solo art. A title that radiates his strong commitment, pushing through this imaginary door towards the unknown, towards freedom, and never going back. Being at the here and now and becoming “an instrument of pure sounds, harmonies of pain, rhythms of new times, melody of contemplation... chaos and harmony.”
Door of No Return is Costa's debut solo double bass album, recorded on April 2015. Costa's technique is informed by the innovative work of French classical double bass player Alain Bourguignon and American free-improvisers like Mark Dresser and Mark Helias. Each of the ten “Door”s investigates, in a highly disciplined, almost scientific manner, a certain aspect of the bull fiddle timbral spectrum - extended bowing technique, including using the bow or bows on the wooden body of the bass as a percussive instrument, resonating overtones, different kinds of harmonics, multiphonics and other weird sounds and noises. Costa plays the double bass as an observant explorer who maps meticulously uncharted, almost alien-sounding territories. His profound knowledge and understanding of the physical anatomy of the double bass as well as his sense of invention and searching spirit are highly impressive.