photo: Ernesto Rodrigues with Nuno Torres
Creative Sources Records, based in Portugal, was conceived in 1999 by violist/composer Ernesto Rodrigues as an outlet not only for his own work but for the kind of challenging, non-commercial music that appealed to him. The label originally released work by new music improvisers from Portugal and Spain, many but by no means all of them featuring Rodrigues. The label now issues work by musicians from both hemispheres and has put out fine performances not only by Rodrigues and his cellist son Guilherme, but also by Radu Malfatti, Mike Bullock, Axel Dörner, Ricardo Guerreiro, Gino Robair, Udo Schindler, Raed Yassin and many others.
Rodrigues came to adventurous improvisational music in the 1970s, a time when he listened to free jazz, the post-war avant-garde art music of Ligeti and Stockhausen, and the experimental work of Morton Feldman and John Cage. And one can hear in his music the influence of these latter two composers, particularly in the generally quiet dynamics and the ascendency of timbre over pitch that characterize much of his playing.
Although Creative Sources releases a diverse range of approaches to electro-acoustic improvisation, it does have an identifiable aesthetic. There are exceptions, of course, but an archetypal Creative Sources release will more likely than not contain sound art of refinement and restraint—qualities that summarize Rodrigues’ own playing quite well. In general the music texturally focused, developing gradually through nuanced shifts in shading, density and dynamics.
Several of Creative Sources’ recent releases serve as a good sampling of the label’s approaches to defining and exploring its particular aesthetic of improvisational sound art. Daniel Barbiero (Percorsi Musicali)