terça-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2017


photo: Ernesto Rodrigues & Fred Lonberg-Holm

Ernesto Rodrigues has a formidable discography. After launching Creative Sources in 2001 to begin documenting his own music, the label has grown to become an icon of free music—especially music preoccupied with silence and space, texture and timbre. As the label has expanded to encompass more artists, Rodrigues has continued to release his own projects and collaborations with musicians from across the globe. Now, more than 15 years later and with over 100 releases to his name, it can be intimidating to approach Rodrigues’ oeuvre. But it would be a shame to avoid it for fear of not knowing where to start.

Though all born of the same musical sensibility, Rodrigues’ discography could be grouped according to the varied approaches he takes to free improvisation. There are his large group experiments like Variable Geometry Orchestra, IKB, or Suspensão; his lowercase pursuits with musicians like Martin Küchen, Heddy Boubaker and Radu Malfatti; and livelier, more ‘traditional’ interplay on early discs like Multiples or recent releases with musicians like Roland Ramanan, Biliana Voutchkova, and Phillip Greenlief.  There are also long-form engagements: with electroacoustic music and the use of computers and electronics in improvisation; with other strings, pushing ceaselessly against conservatory conceptions of string instruments and their place in music; and ongoing dialogues with close musical comrades like Carlos Santos, José Oliveira, Nuno Torres, and his son, Guilherme Rodrigues, who has appeared on many of his albums, dating back to the first Creative Sources release. 

Regardless of the specific approach, there’s an aesthetic that underlies all of Rodrigues’ music, one that values the space that surrounds him as much as the music he then puts into it.  It also values the spaces between sounds and gestures, constantly weighing the balance between what exists in the moment before a musical act and what that act might add. David Toop writes in Into the Maelstrom that “music is a respiratory motion – created in the moment of action then fading away – and through that common bond of presence and absence all sounds are connected.” Thinking of music in terms of breathing—especially improvised music like Rodrigues’—has a certain appeal: something about sound as an exhalation; about silence as the corresponding inhalation, a necessary rest between sounds pushed out into being (and from which all is drawn in that gives those sounds meaning); about organic and corporeal rhythm, tied not to strict tempo but to the thrumming energy that marks the very state of being alive. Dan Sorrells (The Free Jazz Collective)