quinta-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2018

Azkuna Zentroa. Bilbao.



photo: Ernesto Rodrigues, Nicolaus Neuser, Guilherme Rodrigues & Kriton Beyer


Ernesto Rodrigues, Carlos Santos y Abdul Moimeme son tres de las figuras más interesantes de la escena de la música experimental en Portugal, un país con mucha tradición de música de vanguardia. El trio combina música acústica (Ernesto Rodrigues), electrónica (Carlos Santos) y electroacústica (Abdul Moimeme), este último acompañado de una guitarra con presencia visual. Azkuna Zentroa. Bilbao.

quarta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2018

« Zon » bizarre de zombie blanc


Photo (by Nuno Martins): Variable Geometry Orchestra



A la recherche du tempo perdu. Quelques lignes pour définir une sensation simple : le battement du groove de la vie qui avance. « Zon » bizarre de zombie blanc. La « musique créative » du dynamique label « Creative Source » de Lisbonne est-elle à tempo comme la plupart des musiques anciennes, nouvelles, populaires ou savantes ? La « musique créative » est à tempo comme son
géniteur le « free jazz ». La « musique créative » est sans aucun tempo comme sa génitrice, la musique indéterminée de John Cage, Fluxus et bien avant le futuriste Luigi Russolo. La « musique créative » change en permanence de mesures puis n’a plus aucune mesure et plonge dans un agrégat sonore de couches de bruits urbains ou ruraux. Longs passages de drone semblable au
continuum de roues des voitures contre le bitume, au martèlement des trains contre les rails, aux rumeurs pesantes d’avion à réaction, limite de l’infra basse, des choeurs de climatiseurs, toutes sortes de machines domestiques. Longue agrégation de chants d’oiseaux proches d’un jeu déstructuré de saxophone ou de giclées d’harmoniques de cordes violées dans leur intégrité mélodique.

La « musique créative » est cousine de la musique classique en ce sens qu’elle est fortement « rubato » : accélération et décélération structurelle. Les improvisateurs doivent écouter pour interagir ensemble. Ils cherchent une écoute profonde pour réagir dans le sens des autres intervenants. Ils approuvent. Ils imitent en variations diverses. Ils cherchent à s’approcher des rythmes et tonalités surgis dans l’instant. Certains font un truc parallèle sans chercher à compléter le discours des autres. Mais est-ce que la musique est un discours ? Si par hasard, elle l’est, voir, savoir, tendre vers l’autre, entendre et répondre leur importe peu. Situation de gens qui parlent tous en même temps sans aucune envie de se répondre. Chacun son truc. Tout le monde tape dans le ballon, considéré métaphoriquement comme une grosse note rebondissante. Cacophonie de l’équipe. Folie finie. Oiseaux tournoyants sur les places du sud au soleil couchant piaillant par milliers. Chaos sonore des tramways « Electricos » brimbalant sur leurs deux rails, comme une portée au hasard Baltazard. Un rail par note. Une quinte « Fado » plus du bruit blanc et une quarte augmentée Fa dièse Do. Nostalgie d’un monde sonore qui n’était bien qu’en rêve.


Aux sources de la « musique créative » les anciens disques de la fin des années 70 du label FMP de Berlin. La fureur, la colère, la rage chaotique du « Kaput Play » donnait une sorte de groove insurrectionnel de révolte absolue. Renverser la réalité des vibrations sonores. Investir le temps relativiste. Être à la fois au début et à la fin du segment musical. Foncer à toute allure à travers
l’agrégat sonore. Aux sources de la « musique créative » Derek Bailey du label Incus de Londres, avait imaginé un langage atonal à base de quartes augmentées, septièmes majeur et secondes, intervalles dissonants pour supprimer les relations harmoniques entre les sons. Le saxophone hurlant est souvent une variante de la sirène de Varèse : « Ionisation pour 13 percussionnistes » est clairement à tempo. Les figures sont complexes, mais on entend bien une pulsation à travers des figures rythmiques sophistiquées. La sirène omniprésente, annonciatrice de catastrophes plane au-dessus du rythme. La partition est écrite avec des mesures à trois, quatre ou cinq temps sur un tempo constant. Cette musique d’avant-garde est rythmique au même titre que les peintures cubistes de Picasso font penser aux masques africains.

Bon, finissons-en ! Vite la coda. Pas d’ennui, mais le temps ne passe pas trop vite. Le temps a tendance à ralentir à l’écoute de la « musique créative ». Défilé ininterrompu de doubles croches plus des accents indéterminés en forme de boum ou de tchak comme s’il en pleuvait. Tempête de bruit blanc, rose, vert, gris. Aucune organisation précise. Est-ce que l’improvisation est comparable
à la peinture abstraite ? Des grosses taches de projection de son. Des formes larges et variables. Catapulte de boucan. Géométrie de notes. Ensemble de sonorités individuelles. Mathématiques modernes. Roulement de cymbale. Perceuse à l’attaque du métal. Certaines sortes de « musique créative » sont voisines de la musique dite « industrielle », mais à plus bas niveau en décibel.
D’autres précurseurs sont les musiques « lettristes » d’Isidore Isou et le « Cri-rythme » de François Dufrêne, relevant de la poésie sonore. La « musique créative » est un bruit-rythme, un anti-rythme, un para-rythme, un bégaiement-rythme, un barouf-rythme, un moteur-rythme, un scratch-rythme, un silence-rythme. D’autres sources d’inventions toujours exploitées dans la «musique créative» sont le théâtre musical de Mauricio Kagel, les compositions électroniques de Karlheinz Stockhausen et toutes sortes d’expérimentations de la musique contemporaine.

Ernesto Rodrigues est le fondateur du label Creative Source, il joue du violon alto et pratique la conduction de grands orchestres d’improvisateurs. La musique minimaliste de ses divers groupes au Festival « Creative Source Fest XII » de Lisbonne s’exprime à niveau d’intensité sonore hyper bas. J’ai joué dans deux de ces groupes : « IKB » (en référence au bleu Klein), « Isotope » (en
référence aux atomes et protons). Une immense structure sonore perceptible seulement au microscope/phone. Le niveau sonore est par moment plus bas que celui de mon acouphène. Le bruit parasite généré par mon cerveau s’écoule dans l’imperceptible triple pianissimo de l’orchestre. Mon psychisme dégringole dans l’infinitésimale inaudible musique. En plus de mes instruments
habituels, j’avais utilisé le larsen de ma prothèse auditive (on le génère en le retirant de l’oreille et en mettant sa main en conque pour faire une sorte de wah wah très aigu et de faible intensité).
Cette musique est une sorte de camaïeu de bleu. Un monochrome de continuum invisible. La « musique créative » des nuages, de la pluie, du soleil et de l’air du temps est jouée par des musiciens au ralenti de la relativité.

Paradoxe et obsession de la musique du silence. J’entends que je suis sourd. J’entends donc je suis. Je suis sourd donc je ne suis pas. Entendre le silence. Se taire pour s’accorder au silence.
Être capable de ne pas toucher son instrument. Dissoudre son ego dans le quasi-silence des instrumentistes occupés à jouer quadruple pianissimo. Prendre conscience du bruit des avions survolant la ville dans la nuit où toutes les voitures sont grises. Percevoir le son paradoxal des harmoniques qui montent et descendent simultanément. « Je mens. Si c’est vrai, c’est faux. Si c’est
faux, c’est vrai. » Paradoxe du menteur datant de l’antiquité, souvent cité par le précurseur de l’ordinateur, Alan Turing. J’entends une note tempérée. Si c’est juste, c’est faux. Si c’est faux, c’est juste. Une note tempérée est fausse par rapport à la justesse naturelle, tout le monde le sait. Je suis sourd. Si c’est vrai, c’est faux. Si c’est faux, c’est vrai.

Pourquoi visualiser la musique par une écriture, une partition graphique, ou des symboles quelconques? Les virtuoses tziganes de la « Mittel Europa », les joueurs de kora de l’ancien royaume du Mali ou les musiciens d’Inde du Nord jouaient d’oreille et de mémoire une musique complexe. Même s’il existe en Inde du Nord un système d’écriture qui sert uniquement de guide à la mémorisation. On ne lit pas en jouant. On lit pour apprendre par coeur (comme l’on-dit bizarre) et ensuite la musique semble venir d’un territoire céleste, mais elle surgit de la tradition.
L’improvisation, cela va sans dire, n’a aucun besoin d’être écrite, mais à l’heure du monde virtuel une épiphanie visuelle de vidéographie augmente l’impact sonore. La plupart des musiciens populaires post techno utilisent des clips visuels ou des animations de veejing. L’improvisation peut, elle aussi, être décorée avec de l’image. La tension entre audio et visuel créée un nouveau
sens. L’image est partout. Je suis obligé de plonger dans l’iconographie pour atteindre l’abstraction de la musique. La musique se déroule dans un temps constant. Le visuel et l’écriture peut se lire du futur au passé ou du présent au futur.

« Novo Video Scratch Orchestra » est une continuation du « Treatise » de Cornelius Cardew et de son groupe « Scratch Orchestra ». Ma version « novo » serait plus proche de « treatise » traduite comme « traitrise » que son sens premier de « traité ». Les règles restent identiques à la version originale : aucune règle. C’est de l’improvisation totale avec quelques indications minimums. L’idée de base est de remplacer une jolie partition graphique de style musique contemporaine par du veejing, de la vidéo graphique pleine de couleurs et de joie. (Ce n’est pas tant une trahison parce que Cardew cherchait à faire une musique d’avant-garde s’adressant au peuple et non à une élite).
Il est temps de mélanger tous les arts pour créer du nouveau. Les deux portées muettes en pied d’écran renvoient à l’idée de départ de « treatise ». La demi-heure de vidéo fabriquée en amont sera diffusée dans la salle, dans le dos des musiciens qui ne sont même pas obligés de la regarder. Des miroirs posés sur les pupitres comme des rétroviseurs permettent aux musiciens de visualiser la vidéo projetée derrière eux. Manipulation technique minimum.

Finalement je jour du concert à O'Culto da Ajuda, une belle salle destinée à la musique contemporaine de Lisbonne, j’étais le premier arrivé et le dernier servi. Un maigre sound check de cinq minutes. Pas de répétition. Il y avait cinq groupes au programme comme chaque soir de cette semaine du « Creative Source Fest XII ». Trois batteries sur scène et des instruments partout pour les groupes jouant avant et après nous. Plateau compliqué. Après avoir surmonté quelques solides difficultés les jours passés, le concert fut assez grandiose. Le projet a bien fonctionné. L’idée de contrôler la vidéo par des miroirs posés sur les pupitres sur scène était vraiment « fun ». Dans la pénombre, l’image vidéo reflétée par ces psyché à deux balles donnait l’impression de regarder
dans le fond d’un puits miraculeux de conte de fées. L’image était ternie bizarrement par son reflet.
L’image devenait magique comme si elle surgissait d’avant le siècle de la révolution technologique.
Une création diabolique d’images animées venues du mystère. La vidéo créative diffusée sur un écran géant prenait en otage les yeux des auditeurs comme n’importe quel programme de télévision. Étienne Brunet

segunda-feira, 12 de novembro de 2018

Ljubljana on Creative Sources – Confine Aperto’s May event made onto a recording


photo: Ernesto Rodrigues; Guilherme Rodrigues & Dietrich Petzold


Lisbon-based prolific record label Creative Sources has just released a new album with violin, viola and clavichord player Dietrich Petzold, viola player Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues. The album, simply entitled “Ljubljana”, was recorded on 17 May 2018 at Zavod Sploh’s Confine Aperto event, held at ŠKUC Gallery in Ljubljana.
The German-Portuguese trio released their debut album “Sacred Noise” last year, and since then they have presented two further works: “Crane Cries” with Estonian violin player guest Elo Masing, and “Dis/Con/Sent” with German double bassist Matthias Bauer. “Ljubljana” marks the fourth collaboration between Petzold and the Rodrigueses, and it is another chapter in the development of their intervowen collective language of sound of strings.
The album’s packaging design features typical motifs of Ljubljana’s urban landscape: silhouette of dragon sculptures, characteristic buildings, and the Ljubljana Castle itself. (Centralala)

quarta-feira, 7 de novembro de 2018

Poche note sull'improvvisazione italiana: fonti creative e italiani alla Creative Sources



photo: Ernesto Rodrigues & Marie Takahashi


L'etichetta discografica dell'improvvisatore portoghese Ernesto Rodriguez da tempo lascia spazio all'ampia offerta di estrosità ed inventiva che proviene da tutto il mondo. E per quanto riguarda le registrazioni italiane c'è sempre qualità da scoprire. Ettore Garzia (Percorsi Musicali)

quinta-feira, 1 de novembro de 2018

Creative Sources Fest: Novembro com 30 concertos em cinco dias



Está anunciada uma nova edição do Creative Sources Fest, o festival organizado pela editora portuguesa Creative Sources que, nos últimos anos – e neste mais uma vez –, se tem realizado no O’culto da Ajuda, em Lisboa. São cinco os dias de música ao vivo, de 5 a 10 de Novembro, com um total de 30 concertos. Algumas importantes participações estrangeiras se registam, como a da Shelley Hirsh Band (foto acima) e as parcerias com músicos nacionais por parte de Mia Dyberg, Ramón López, Wade Matthews, Étienne Brunet, Johan Moir e Fred Marty, entre outros. Alguns nomes de topo da improvisação experimental e do jazz criativo que por cá se praticam estão incluídos, como Rodrigo Amado com a sua Motion Orchestra (o trio base mais participações extra), o Sei Miguel Trio, Ernesto Rodrigues em diferentes contextos ou Miguel Azguime a solo. Cada um dos dias do CS Fest termina com uma grande formação da nebulosa Creative Sources, designadamente (e por ordem de aparição) String Theory, Isotope Ensemble, IKB, Suspensão, Octopus e Variable Geometry Orchestra.
O arranque é feito pelo Free Pantone Trio no dia 5, projecto de que acaba de ser publicado disco. Seguem-se o duo de contrabaixos de João Madeira e Hernâni Faustino, Ernesto Rodrigues em quarteto com Guilherme Rodrigues, Fred Marty e Carlos Santos e o duo de teclados e percussão Welcome to Silkeborg. A 6 apresentam-se a primeira de duas versões dos Spiegel, um solo do contrabaixista Fred Marty, o Lisbon String Trio de Ernesto Rodrigues, Miguel Mira e Alvaro Rosso com o tubista Gil Gonçalves como convidado e Wilfrido Terrazas com Hernâni Faustino e o já referido Ramón López. No dia 7 de Novembro sucedem-se Miguel Azguime, André Hencleeday, uma dupla formada por Gianna de Toni e Biagio Verdolini e o trompetista Sei Miguel com Fala Mariam e Bruno Silva.
A maratona de 8 inicia-se com o Spiegel II e continua com Maria Radich e Maria do Mar em trio com o clarinetista Noel Taylor, o duo electroacústico de Carlos Santos e Carla Santana e um colectivo fundado pelo violoncelista Guilherme Rodrigues com Quentin Stokart, Johan Moir e Tom Malmendier. A 9, as honras de abertura cabem a Nuno Torres, Hernâni Faustino e Nuno Morão, com a Novo Scratch Video Orchestra de Étienne Brunet, a tripla Wade Matthews / Abdul Moimême / Carlos Santos e a Motion Orchestra a prosseguirem os trabalhos. O fecho faz-se a 10 com os Garden de Luís Lopes, José Bruno Parrinha e Ricardo Jacinto, o quinteto de Ernesto Rodrigues, Mia Dyberg, Guilherme Rodrigues, Johan Moir e José Oliveira (este previsivelmente a recitar poesia, dado estar retirado como músico), o trio de Rodrigo Pinheiro, Pedro Sousa e Gabriel Ferrandini e o grupo da cantora Shelley Hirsh. Jazz.pt

terça-feira, 23 de outubro de 2018

Festival PiedNu 13eme édition (2018)


photo: Elo Masing, Tomo Jacobson, Mia Dyberg, Guilherme Rodrigues & Ernesto Rodrigues



Inscrit dans la mouvance improvisée depuis plus de trente ans, le violoniste et altiste Ernesto Rodrigues est également à l'origine du label Creative Sources, une structure lisboète accueillant en son catalogue les matières sonores les plus inédites. Loin du bruit et de la fureur, aux confins parfois d'un "réductionnisme tolérant", il pratique, notamment avec son fils Guilherme au violoncelle et Carlos Santos à l'ordinateur et au synthétiseur, une forme de composition instantanée, ou tissage immédiat des lignes émergeant au cœur de l'acte musical.

segunda-feira, 24 de setembro de 2018

Suoni per il Popolo Festival: 18th Edition


photo: Ernesto Rodrigues, Nicklaus Neuser, Guilherme Rodrigues & Kriton Beyer (Berlin)


Montreal, Quebec. June 1 to 19, 2018. […] Shortly after closing time, l’Oblique Records became the venue for two sets of free improvisation: Portugal’s Luis Lopes led listeners down feedback alley, where his dexterous combination of scraped and banged metal on strings created a merciless flow of multilayered wails and percussive crashes. This was followed by a quieter set from Portuguese violist and Creative Sources label head Ernesto Rodrigues, who formed a trio with Montrealers Vergil Sharkya (analog synths) and percussionist Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes, playing only cymbals. Rodrigues used a soft bow, the hairs of which straddled the bridge to elicit sounds both above and below, drawing a rainbow of soft murmurs. Sharkya’s quick timbral changes showed close listening, while Lopes added various colours, using mallets, sticks and even a cloth rag to coax sounds from the cymbals. The next evening Rodrigues and the two Lopes proved their versatility in a high-energy free-jazz quartet with pianist Karoline Leblanc. Lawrence Joseph writes about music in Montreal (MusicWorks)

quinta-feira, 30 de agosto de 2018

Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts



Photo: Ernesto Rodrigues, Karoline Leblanc, Luis Lopes & Paulo J Ferreira Lopes (Montreal, Canada)

Between Ernesto Rodrigues having recently created (or at least I recently noticed) a Bandcamp page for his many albums, and my own schedule being tied up waiting on materials (in this case, not so much music as some final texts in preparation for another long discussion that I'll be writing separately), this seems like a good time to make some other observations on Rodrigues's output in general, as well as to discuss some material I've neglected. Of course, with Rodrigues's massive output — & there are currently 172 albums on his Bandcamp page (and one might find more at any moment), the vast majority from Creative Sources, but only the albums on which he personally appears — some neglect seems almost inevitable, and indeed Rodrigues releases albums at such a pace that I never find myself saying that I last mentioned him around this or that, or originally there, etc.... So that's one difference from other musicians in this space, and I've also neglected his larger ensemble albums almost entirely: That's (still) not my focus, but I've mentioned such projects from some other prominent musicians at times, so allow me to interject a few remarks into that arena now as well. I first mentioned Rodrigues in this space in April 2012, with some reasonably descriptive comments regarding Le Beau Déviant & Brume — albums already evoking the sort of technologically mediated, yet naturally inspired, landscapes that run through so many Creative Sources releases. I didn't use the term "lowercase" then, but found myself using it soon after, as I picked up vocabulary from other music writers, particularly around jazz retail. Since then, I've come to question the label, and especially how broadly it's being applied: Per Wikipedia & elsewhere, the term apparently derives from US sound installation practice around the turn of the millennium, which makes it a relatively late entry into the "genre" domain. I don't know the specific history of how it was taken up as a retail category, particularly for music from Europe, but it's certainly not the only genre term that has come to expand into related outputs & impulses. In particular, "lowercase" is specifically suggestive of bringing something unnoticed, particularly an object, to attention. In other words, it's about illuminating one's sound source in some way, the illumination being the reason for selecting the source. In this it differs markedly from the older, related concept of Musique concrète, particularly in its original meaning from Pierre Schaeffer: There, it's abstract "musical" concerns that dominate, with the sound source being unimportant, or even effaced in the production process. (Sounds might be heavily edited, for instance, such that their origin becomes obscure.) In this sense, it would be difficult to suggest — at least in my opinion — that Rodrigues is attempting to illuminate unnoticed objects, at least not physically: Rather, although he often employs electronics (& a recording or even amplification already involves "electronics"), he's generally using traditional instruments in extended ways, the sonic relations produced being prioritized ahead of their "objectness." (And one could suggest that much music literally involves illuminating "objects" in the most general sense, usually musical objects, but then, why generalize the lowercase term to an ordinary musical outcome?) Musique concrète also suggests the creation — using electronics, originally tape decks, in a studio — of a finished musical product, rather than a score to be performed: At least in its early guise, it involved substantial editing, whereas Rodrigues uses minimal editing (or so I think, although selecting material does become editing), but does produce a finished musical result (a performance & then recording), rather than a score. Moreover, subsequent to (& really contemporaneous with) Schaeffer, ideas of Musique concrète were already extended in a variety of directions, including by composers such as R. Murray Schafer (who coined "soundscape" & further interrogated the separation of sound from its sources) & Luc Ferrari (who presented everyday environmental sounds, albeit heavily edited, as composition), et al. In the latter example, one does begin to perceive "canonical" lowercase emerging around both everyday-ness & intent, but that was 1970...! Further regarding the history of lowercase as a (retail) category or genre, it apparently emerged from ambient music — rather than referencing these European developments already well underway in the 1950s — and indeed I already had occasion to discuss the "ambient" concept earlier this year, around Rodrigues's quartet album Sîn: In that case, the basic ambient concept, that music should be suitable for greater or lesser attention, is coherent to me, even as "lowercase" starts to intersect so many ideas as to become meaningless... actually, I first used the latter term around Nor (recorded in 2014, discussed here in April 2015), the first release from the quartet that would later make Sîn, and my first "favorite" from Rodrigues. (The oldest current favorite is New Dynamics from 2016, an album that doesn't really suggest or confront these categories.) Now I have to question the coherence of the "lowercase" category further, especially when I see it applied to a recent album like Coluro, involving a great deal of abstraction around timbral parameters: One might say that aspects of musical instrument-objects are being illuminated, but I think that's a stretch. Rather, it's sounds combined for expression & effect (or affect). And moreover, music involving heavy doses of quiet or silence, as sometimes cited for lowercase, likewise dates back at least to the 1950s, to Cage et al.... Indeed, Cage is a cited influence for Rodrigues, as is, to a lesser degree (of acknowledgement, anyway), Xenakis: Xenakis emerged from a post-Varèse world to create musique concrète around Schaeffer at GRM, beginning with electronics & tapes, and — like Rodrigues — moves more into traditional acoustic instruments (in his case, via written music). If one intends "lowercase" to simply refer to music that uses amplification in order to focus on ordinarily quiet timbres, then I suppose that's coherent, although I'm not sure it reflects actual usage... (& doesn't that already describe e.g. hard body electric guitar?). In any case, I intend to be much more circumspect regarding my usage of the term in future, although I should add that, although it's received more & longer musical (& conceptual) interrogation, and appears to be a more direct historical inspiration for the efforts mentioned in this entry, "musique concrète" is not entirely suited either: Perhaps call it improvisational post-concrète, instead. (Rodrigues himself had adopted the label post-serial.)

That said, after the previous entry oriented on new releases from Rodrigues (& his son, Guilherme) in Berlin, let me return to Lisbon to highlight a couple of octet recordings from 2017: Urze (recorded January 2017) & Vulgaris (recorded June 2017) managed to slip through the cracks of Rodrigues's output for me, being neither small nor large ensembles. (And whereas neither recording date seems especially far in the past relative to other items discussed here, for Rodrigues, there have already been more than thirty subsequent albums released....) Both are interesting items within Rodrigues's broader output, a fact that obligation-free Bandcamp audition helped make apparent, such that Urze, by a mixed octet called Diceros, seems to bring some of the same concerns that Rodrigues articulates (in part) via his IKB ensemble down to a "half"-sized group (& more on IKB & other larger groups in a moment): In this case, Rodrigues himself is on harp & other plucked strings, not for the first time, in a remarkably coherent album that often involves a squeaky atmosphere with a variety of overtones, burbling, sheering waves... almost an underwater scene, and also relatively smooth (perhaps in an ambient sense): Sometimes vigorous internal rhythms are simply washed over by waves of shimmering overtones. (Its general sense of interaction & restraint might even be reprised in Rodrigues's most recent album on Bandcamp at the moment, Backlighting by a quartet of viola & three horns, all alto or higher. It almost seems like the top half of Urze, although the latter uses only two horns amid its watery computer, piano, guitar, etc. These are also all single track albums....) The ambivalent environment of the album seems to be reflected in its names & iconography as well, with a shadow rhinoceros ("Diceros", similar to IKB's Rhinocerus from 2014) set against (I guess, the term might also mean e.g. heather) a field of rosemary... but I sure don't hear a field or savanna. An "underwater" sense is that much more tangible on Vulgaris, by another octet called Octopus: There, Rodrigues is back on viola, and while the octets are very similar, the only other musicians actually in common are Paolo Curado (flute, also on Backlighting), Andre Hencleeday (piano, psaltery) & Carlos Godinho (percussion). (All are frequent Rodrigues collaborators, although I was not specifically aware of Godinho previously.) Vulgaris has a particularly strong ambient vibe, and generally has a calming effect, more so than e.g. Nashaz, with which it otherwise shares some characteristics — and of course the "doubled" ensemble of the former again facilitates a smoother sound overall. Particularly given the lack of environmental confusion (and I don't intend to portray such reterritorialization as a negative, regarding Urze, but rather as an intriguing crossing), Vulgaris might make for an excellent entry into Rodrigues's oeuvre for the uninitiated, but as noted around Jardin Carré, much has also developed in the past few years. (Regarding the underwater theme, one should likewise note Underwater Music — one of at least a dozen trio albums from Ernesto & Guilherme Rodrigues, all with a different third member — as discussed last October, i.e. while the albums of the previous entry were being recorded: That album was recorded all the way back in Spring 2016, and as noted in my prior discussion, doesn't appear to evoke water sonically at all! Nonetheless, it seems like another pivotal album....)

Regarding larger ensembles, I already made a departure by discussing Tellurium in May, and there I noted that recordings by IKB, Variable Geometry Orchestra (VGO) & Suspensão were also recorded at CreativeFest #11 last November. A few further remarks: Tellurium was the fourth "String Theory" album, and my decision (to discuss it) derived in part from the fact that the previous two albums in the series were for seven & four musicians respectively, although the first (Gravity, released in 2016) was for seventeen. (And one does see primes run through these ensemble numbers, although Tellurium & the last three IKB albums are for sixteen musicians....) Since then, it appears that Sul by "Strings & Andrew Drury" (involving eleven musicians on various string instruments, plus the drummer) might be something of a continuation: Drury had appeared on quartet album Eterno Retorno from early in the Creative Sources catalog, but not with Rodrigues since, and the "constellations" of the cover moreover suggest variants on (& crossings of) space themes (as I had discussed last month around Coluro) & geometry: It's another eerie, single track album for relatively large forces. Another "variant geometry" concept seems to be involved in the more recent Isotope Ensemble (because, after all, isotopes involve a kind of atomic geometry, albeit much smaller than solar systems), with its first album Yttrium (for thirteen musicians) having been recorded in May 2017, i.e. between Urze & Vulgaris. And in 2018, there are two more Isotope Ensemble albums, both involving seventeen musicians: Barium (as noted around Tellurium, recorded in February) & Lanthanum (recorded in April) both involve quiet rumbling, overtones, sometimes animated horns, and a mysterious sense of progress. Whereas Barium involves a traffic jam (& Rodrigues "playing" metronome, including conspicuously at the end), Lanthanum is the smoother of the two: Its various waves & timbres take on more of a finished character, making for another reasonable place for an uninitiated listener (who enjoys larger ensembles, anyway) to enter Rodrigues's sound world. That series seems to be becoming more assertive, or at least more frequent. Already massive & assertive at various points is the VGO series, though, with the first half of its sixth album (Ma'adim Vallis) emerging from CreativeFest #11 as well: The number six is somewhat deceptive, as it's a double album, and not the first such in the series. Moreover, the two parts (the second from January 2018) are labeled as Conductions #47 & #48: I didn't attempt to trace the numbering, but it appears that not all have been released, unless the output of the other large ensembles is counted as well.... Still, it gives a sense of how active Rodrigues has been with his largest groups, and the November recording from VGO is massive indeed, involving thirty-seven musicians (with a "mere" nineteen on the more mysterious January session) in a huge & varied orchestral eruption: It recalls Xenakis, and not for the first time in the series. (One might further recall that Xenakis combines geometric interest with architectural principles, and that might fit some of these Rodrigues projects as well....) Moving on, there have now been five releases in the Suspensão series, with the November recording (i.e. the most recent) being Physis, numbered as the eleventh piece in the series (counting double albums, multiple tracks, etc.): Here the eerie desire to interrogate the basic contours of reality, especially the equivocation of foreground & background, of environment/context & subject, maintains.... Although I've made only a few brief comments about the series, now including here, its basic equivocating concerns reflect & enhance important contemporary questions regarding subject-object duality (& in turn, traditional ontology) more generally (as soon to be articulated more extensively in the text that I promised at the beginning of this entry...): There is again an overall "ambient" sense & even conceptual interrogation, to retract to genre concerns. Finally, the IKB series, which generally involves crisper tones & more explicit counterpoint, is harder to summarize: I'm not sure why it started using unusual biological species for its titles & minimal covers, the most recent being Apteryx mantelli, but perhaps its ecological or territorial articulations are more specific than I imagine.... (There is a sense of geometric inspiration that I can't really localize.) In any case, IKB albums — of which there have now been seven, with three of them originating in 2014 alone — have used ensembles ranging from thirteen to eighteen musicians (and like the octets above, less often involve prime numbers). I suppose the relative crispness of the music (especially relative to e.g. Suspensão) is reflected in the crisp covers, and like all the recent albums mentioned in this entry, but perhaps most canonically, the music is articulated in a single sweep. (Many of the IKB albums do also seem rather similar to me.) Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts (http://www.medieval.org)

quinta-feira, 21 de junho de 2018

Trading Places at the Suoni: Vancouver-Lisbon-Montreal (Encounters of the Free Kind)


Cross-pollination in the arts is always a good thing. An example of this is when musicians from different geographical locations get together to share their experiences in a concert setting. This is especially exciting in improvised music, because you never know what might happen. Such was the case on two different nights at the Suoni per il popolo festival last week.
June 12 featured a Lisbon-Montreal encounter at the Casa del popolo, which was the first part of an evening devoted to daring improvisational music (the second part featured Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker-Falten’s Texas band The Young Mothers). Heard three days later was the second installment of Trading Places, a collaboration between Montreal and Vancouver improvisers (which was followed by a solo set by drummer Will Guthrie). First instituted in 2016, this initiative allows two musicians from the Canadian West Coast to spend time in Montreal and play with locals during the festival’s run, including an informal workshop setting. In return two Montreal musicians travel West later in the year to engage in similar activities.
The June 12 Lisbon-Montreal encounter for its part was a concise set clocking in around the 45 minute mark. It paired the musical and life partners Karoline Leblanc on piano and drummer-percussionist Paulo J. Ferreira Lopes, with two of the latter’s Portuguese compatriots violist Ernesto Rodrigues, and guitarist Luis Lopes (no relation). As a unit, this quartet engaged in inspired and unscripted free-form improvisation.
The pianist’s flow of cascading chords and melodies was the thread that seemed to tie the music together, as Ferreira Lopes’ percussive washes seemed to ride in tandem with her energetic ideas. Guitarist Lopes, for his part, coaxed intriguing sounds and noises from his instrument, at times fingering the strings high up the neck, near the pickups, to get unusual harmonics and plucking effects, or scrapping a violin bow or a tin can across the strings. Violist Rodrigues wisely sawed away at his instrument, spinning a series of searing lines in this collective sketch that was at times jaw-dropping, the musicians feeding off each other in a sustained flow of inspiration. [...]  Paul Serralheiro (La Scena Musicale)

terça-feira, 3 de abril de 2018

IKB na ZDB



Do seio da mui prolífera editora Creative Sources surge em 2012 o ensemble IKB, em homenagem a Yves Klein. Embora de formação variável, há um óbvio sentido de coletivo neste ensemble. Para além da união necessária para se fazer cooperativamente música em formações maiores, aqui o apagamento de ego é extremado para resultar na estética reducionista e concreta que caracteriza este grupo. Impera um exercício de nudez decíbel possível graças à contenção, atenção, respeito e escuta profunda partilhada em conjunto entre músicos e audiência. Um quase silêncio de uma musicalidade extrema. Bernardo Álvares

quinta-feira, 8 de março de 2018

Espaço::Silêncio::Nota




photo: João Ricardo



O ranger das cadeiras e os automóveis a passar na rua faziam parte da música. Dois russos e dois portugueses apresentaram na Sonoscopia o seu entendimento da improvisação reducionista, indo do extremo da quietude até ao “feedback” controlado.
[...] Após um curto intervalo para que o duo português se instalasse, o reducionismo continuou. Desta vez, os sons viscerais e da rua não se impuseram. O programa foi mais preenchido e estimulante e muito menos tenso. O jogo proporcionado pelos dois saxofones (Belorukov e Nuno Torres) foi bastante interessante.
As combinações tímbricas, a exploração harmónica, o borbulhar, o atrito do movimento circular de uma lata de refrigerante sobre a campânula do saxofone, as dissonâncias e flutuações, pontuaram sobre os “drones” electrónicos, contrastando com a subtileza da viola de Rodrigues. Os sons mais agrestes com que Ernesto Rodrigues atacou o início do concerto (usou um papel ou folha seca e amassou-a no tampo da viola) ou os harmónicos suscitados com o arco, nunca foram estridentes. Também ele “jogou” com as suas ferramentas e soluções, sendo que as cordas foram só uma parte desse jogo. O corpo da viola foi percutido e tocado com todo o arco (crina, parafuso e vara), e pôde ouvir-se bem a ressonância da madeira.
Depois de uma primeira peça, o quarteto brindou a audiência com uma segunda actuação. O estado meditativo (ou contemplativo) do público foi atirado para o prolongamento. João Ricardo (Jazz.pt)

quarta-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2018

LE LISBON STRING TRIO LANCE LES INVITATIONS



Que le Portugal soit terre de musiques improvisées, c’est devenu une habitude. Que la scène lisboète ne soit pas avare de cordes de talents, de la guitare de Luis Lopes au violon de Carlos Zingaro, c’est un constat qui ne prend guère de temps pour être validé. Singulièrement grâce à l’insatiable travail d’Ernesto Rodrigues, acteur lusitanien incontournable de l’archet qui anime à l’alto depuis quelques années le Lisbon String Trio (LST).

Ses compagnons sont immuables : Miguel Mira au violoncelle et Alvaro Rosso à la contrebasse. Les compositions instantanées et collectives de l’orchestre s’inscrivent souvent dans une lecture très contemporaine - une expression que Rodrigues côtoie voire tutoie depuis des décennies.
Ernesto Rodrigues n’est pas le plus connu des musiciens de la péninsule ibérique, du moins dans l’Hexagone. Enregistreur infatigable, fondateur du label Creative Sources qui nous offre des pépites [1], il s’est saisi du format dématérialisé pour illustrer ses rencontres, tisser des liens et témoigner de manière régulière de ce qu’il faut considérer comme un constant work in progress.

En cinq albums assez courts, dont un en trio simple, le fougueux Proletariat, le LST se lance tous azimuts à la rencontre des improvisateurs de tous continents sur une courte période, entre mars et mai 2017. Il ne s’agit pas du plaisir de l’infinitude ; c’est au contraire une volonté de remise en question ou en danger, d’apprendre et d’assimiler les univers et les langues des autres. Ainsi sa rencontre avec la pianiste québécoise Karoline Leblanc dans Liames, qui définit l’intensité tout en conservant de la distance. En accompagnant le piano dans son rôle de quatrième instrument à cordes, travaillé à même ses entrailles, le trio convie Leblanc à étendre son jeu tout en s’intégrant parfaitement dans le dédale d’archets que bornent Mira et Rosso.

On trouvera semblable relation avec l’incroyable tromboniste italien Carlo Mascolo dans Intonarumori. Ce n’est pas l’urgence qui est ici convoquée mais une sorte de tension, proche du mouvement permanent, où le trombone préparé prolonge à la fois les rebonds de l’archet et la glisse du crin sur les cordes. Le souffle, totalement aspiré par la dynamique du trio augmenté, se transmute en un brouillard étrange où le moindre événement se comporte comme une entaille, un cahot dans une dynamique collective très dense et bruitiste où le silence est comme la surface d’un plan d’eau, qui se ride et se trouble à la moindre poussière.

La ressemblance est frappante avec l’étonnant moment capté en compagnie du clarinettiste Luiz Rocha, qui introduit presque naturellement cette Télépathie où le LST invite Étienne Brunet - ancien élève de Steve Lacy et figure du free jazz depuis 30 ans - aux côtés de Daunik Lazro ou Jac Berrocal. Une musique où les timbres et l’espace prennent néanmoins une grande importance, l’alto de Rodrigues jouant à se fondre avec le saxophone. Une direction que K’ampokol che K’aay, création très contemporaine en compagnie du clarinettiste et libre-penseur étasunien Blaise Siwula, attaque à rebours, loin de la concorde et à proximité du disque de Leblanc, avec du tumulte et des brisures nettes. Un travail qui remet le LST dans une position prismatique vis-à-vis de la musique improvisée : celle qui éclaire des recoins parfois délaissés et pourtant luxuriants. Franpi Barriaux (Citizen Jazz)