While conversational intrigue, fiery improvisation, knotty counterpoint, and wildly varying dynamics had long been part of his aesthetic, they found a fluid yet immediate language on 2013's Shadow Man.
Ferreira adds not just firepower, but a unique ability to explore texture and space.
Four of the album's seven pieces are over ten minutes.
Opener "Lost in Redding" commences with an avant-prog-like intro as harmonic cadences are woven together almost knot-like.
There isn't anything "small" about "Small World in a Small Town." Over 18 minutes long, its first five-and-a-half are a duet between Berne and Mitchell that begins elliptically but gathers force and labyrinthine dimensions before the rest of the band enters.
Ferreira's guitar is another lyric instrument in an expansive, contrapuntal study that opens on to a spacious yet at times sparse sonic vista.
Noriega's clarinet solo is lovely before the band re-enters in a bluesy, steam-gathering waltz.
"Embraceable Me" has a chamber ensemble's intimacy, albeit one where Smith's use of vibes is as poignant as it is illustrative, and it holds down its angular lyric line.
It maintains that feel even when the dynamic increases with Noriega (on sax) and Ferreira adding cadenza-like extensions before dialoguing in jagged yet precise counterpoint and then shifting toward a thematic five-note pulse (Mitchell) as Ferreira, Noriega, and Berne add tonal color and breadth before introducing another complex harmonic line with the guitarist taking it out.
Most of "Semi-Self Detached"'s ten-plus minutes is made up of long languorous spaces, ambient textures, and melodic suggestions that give way to a blistering free alto saxophone solo, cracking clattering drums, majestic piano, and precise, gear-like lyricism at its nadir.
Even the long, shapeshifting, textural digression in the center is focused, smart, and full of surprises.
You've Been Watching Me is the most structured record from Snakeoil as well as the most varied.
The band's language has expanded with the addition of Ferreira, yet it's more intuitive -- where the space and complexity are different shades in the face of beauty.