quarta-feira, 16 de junho de 2010

Photo: Ernesto Rodrigues with Mathias Forge and Cyril Epinat

Ernesto Rodrigues’ music results of two of his personal passions: free jazz and contemporary "classical" music with a specific focusing on post-serialism. And it bursts out of a cause embraced in an almost militant way: improvisation. This may assume various shapes and, as such theorist of this family of the Art of Sounds as Derek Bailey once stated, doesn't necessarily have to be experimental. In fact it actually isn't in most occasions.
Such is not the case with this violinist who's also devoted to instruments such as viola and soprano saxophone and is now developing skills on India's Sarangi. His approach depicts each improvisation as an experiment, an adventure ruled only by the casualty of circumstances and spontaneous creativity. Add to this the way his musical studies, (classical) formation and background and also his "audio memories" (Portuguese popular music, rock, both areas of former activity) melt with his musical taste and his aesthetic and expressive universes (which meet British and German schools of "New Improvised Music") and you'll be closer to his world.
Ernesto Rodrigues assumes all radicality inherent to this openness to the "becoming" of improvised speech quite naturally, and leading to an obvious consequence: His music is atonal, polytonal, microtonal, and non-idiomatic. Little is any trace of free jazz and "chamberistic" classicism is but a far away reference. Yet, such queues are present since no breakthrough or innovation is obliged to cut off with all history(ies). In fact, Ernesto Rodrigues still applies Cage's concepts as to the use of noise and silence, which is a direct consequence of the acceptance of the fact that neither of these are non-musical - an idea that still to this day is not unruffled, decades after John Cage's formulation. All of his production stands for this, from «IK*Zs(3)» with Carlos Bechegas on flutes and electronics, to «Assemblage» a CD with Manuel Mota on electric guitar.
Being aware that noise recycling is an attribute of electric and electronic instruments, one has to acknowledge that Ernesto Rodrigues’ option towards the principles of "noise" patent in such examples as «Self Eater and Drinker» with Jorge Valente in the synthesiser and computer, «Multiples» with Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, «Sudden Music» with António Chaparreiro on electric guitar, «23 Exposures» with Marco Franco on soprano saxophone and «Ficta» (with excellent Argentinean pianist Gabriel Paiuk) is most clear and obvious mostly on acoustic contexts. Interesting to notice is that Ernesto Rodrigues "bruitage" (to which - it is only fair to point out - percussionist José Oliveira contributes the most) co-exists with vast "spacings" and a sound production and progression at "near-silence" level, similar in some way to what you can listen to in Radu Malfatti, or Rhodri Davies, Mark Wastell and Burkhard Beins’ Sealed Knot. This is a Music shaped by restlessness and intensity, but at the same time holding such a delicacy, sense of detail and even mildness which read out as total paradox.
Paradox is also present in the way Ernesto Rodrigues articulates an intuitive musical production - whose source is to be found only on the domain of "praxis" - with unmissable conceptualism. «Self Eater and Drinker»’s main idea is the autophagy of acoustic sounds by electronics. «Multiples» is a work of almost miniatures, inspired by Anton Webern, which understands every part as a metonymy of the all, in such a way that each next improvisation is but another aspect of what's already been enunciated. «Sudden Music» celebrates the ephemeral character of music even when a static structure, which like olds everything under suspension, is present. «23 Exposures» plays with the idea of exposing film to light: Depending on the degree of that exposure the revealed photo offers a greater or lesser image sharpness. Extreme situations where all figuration becomes impossible is in fact what this work is all about.
«Ficta» is an allusion to a time in history - baroque - where improvising meant to embellish with ornaments. In fact, "Musica Ficta", Fictional Music, in those days was but a way to invent, to create in a complementing fashion, what wasn't set on the score. Music Improvisation today is quite a different story, but still is - even to greater extent since there is no score - an enhancer of imagination, and namely of new ways to combine sounds and even of the making of entirely new sounds.
Rui Eduardo Paes

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