sudden music | cs002
















































































After «Multiples» Ernesto Rodrigues is back to edition once again with percussionist José Oliveira and this time with rock escapee António Chaparreiro replacing his son Guillherme Rodrigues. Music produced is freely improvised as in former works but a particular trend upraises now: Systematic use of spacing and breathing in a textural work featuring "pianissimo" and silence. This is microscopic music of small and subtle details, demanding top concentration from the listener in order to make it possible to seize all its range and richness. Sound (and noise as unscored sound) achieves here a special dimension, the same applying to the management of time, which seems to stretch into suspension given the non linear nature of all situations created and denial of any type of phrasing or descriptive build up. Gathered improvistions need to last long so they can get a shape, like in 60/70's minimalism, but with no familiarity whatsoever with it: Repetition here gives place to drifting and permanent mutation. Rui Eduardo Paes (JL)

More microtonal, «Sudden Music» unrolls in an antithetical fashion, with the musicians working out on only four extended improvisations during the more than 70 minutes of the disc. Your CD player may think there are more tracks however. With frequent drawn out silences interrupting the sounds, not unlike the way Austria's Polwechsel work, this disc presents anything but "sudden music". Here electric guitarist António Chaparreiro joins Ernesto Rodrigues, again on violin and viola, and José Oliveira, who appends his inside piano talents to drum pulsations. Somehow the hum, hiss and static of quasi-electronics is apparent as is the scratch and pull of viola strings, speedy fiddle runs and the occasional protracted guitar pluck. At times the percussionist seems to be whispering into the piano innards in a growling Captain Hook-like voice, before battering on the sides produces audible cracks and buzzes. Very occasionally the sound of a real piano key being manipulated is heard, though José Oliveira seems to revel in creating metallic bangs with his percussion or descending thumps that become more distant as they're sounded. Brush strokes and metal bar strokes sometimes appear as well. Ken Waxman (Jazz Weekly)

With «Sudden Music» all expressive echoes of Portuguese improvisation are unleashed once and for all from those anonymous underground shelters they had been forever in restrainte. Tuning with our own innovating/renovating outline, also in music conventional concepts are beeing changed in exceptional ways by a minute circle of Portuguese musicians where Ernesto Rodrigues is to be included. You can say «Sudden Music» is an acoustic storm where thunder lightning shakes old concepts of linear phrasing and all foreseeable ways of assembling and performing. Valliew added by Ernesto Rodrigues fellow musicians to this cruzade is worth pointing out. If José Oliveira manages  - with great precision - to burst forth an aesthetically perfect silent line, António Chaparreiro - though rock native - features an extraordinary fitness to this type of musical expression. Constant appeal to the listener’s concentration and imagination is a determination this work has submitted to with it’s long and subtle silent lastingnesses broken by incredible vibrant loud details. «Sudden Music» is one of the best ever exercises made in this country in what you can call music beyond music. Carlos Lourenço (All Jazz) 

For his second CD on his own record label, violinist Ernesto Rodrigues chose to release a session that complements his debut «Multiples» while hinting at a different direction. Where that one focused on very short pieces, «Sudden Music» presents four long improvisations, 15 to 20 minutes each. If John Stevens previously represented the main inspiration, this time around Ernesto Rodrigues, percussionist José Oliveira and guitarist António Chaparreiro turn their ears to the musicians associated with the lowercase, onkyo and reductionist trends. The music strongly relies on silence (think Radu Malfatti, Taku Sugimoto), microscopic textures (Axel Dörner) and an attempt at stripping away any gestures that can signal the individuality of an instrument or its player in order to reach a group sound that would be impossible to fraction into its constituents. Ernesto Rodrigues shifts between violin and viola, exploring the possibilities of slow bow movements while applying a lot of pressure on the strings. António Chaparreiro’s "clean" electric guitar often remains inaudible, his playing so quiet it can be mistaken for either violin or percussion. José Oliveira uses lots of small objects, bells and bouncing balls to great effect, producing (surprisingly) the most "musical" effects. This kind of music holds together only if a proper tension is maintained, the kind that keeps the listener on the edge of his or her seat in expectation for the next sound. In this regards, «Sudden Music» is only a half-success. "Round Angles and Sharp Lines" matches the subdued intensity of the best pieces in that field, but "Lateral Thinking" only manages to sound like three guys desperately trying to find something to do without making a sound. The other two pieces are good, especially "Landscape with Persons and Furniture" where Ernesto Rodrigues signals a couple of welcomed changes of pace. François Couture (AMG)

What would you hear if someone took you in a forest at night and left you there, tied to a tree? From my point of wiew, I'd be extremely scared at first but then I'd start to listen carefully, trying to discern any subtle whisper and catching sinister creaks and thumps just in time to not be surprised. If I survived the stings of mosquitoes and other insects and managed to control my fear, I'd enjoy silences and energies, the bursts and the little noisy manifestations and maybe I could even sing along with the crickets. This time, Rodrigues, Chaparreiro and Oliveira (violin and viola, electric guitar, percussion and inside piano) gave me exactly this kind of feeling; it was a highly surprising listening and one of the best releases of the label until now. Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

I think I can do without the elliptic-unto-ecliptic liner notes by Rui Eduardo Paes (, not only it is permitted that silence (apparent abscence of sound) is part of the music, but also that... it is music.) largely because however erudite he obviously is, the force of his words, might for some, cloud the artistic effort on this very fine, VERY "out" CD of experimental sound sculpture. I have nothing against the academic's musing. I just have to remind everybody (me included) that anything is only good art if it moves one, if to paraphrase Zappa it "engenders flux states in participating chakras"! And «Sudden Music» does just that. Engender flux states, I mean It sure isn't for everybody. José Oliveira, (percussion, inside piano), given the regular testing herein of most of these instruments' outer ranges (reminiscent of recent Tim Hodgkinson, later John Cage, early Roscoe Mitchell). It's just that the musicians are listening to each other voraciously here, and it shows. Improv it may be, but there is a pattern, there is a balance and counterbalance, and a sense of compositional development can be heard throughout the four lengthy pieces. What's also inviting, to the novice to this kind of thing who is interested in hearing more, is that the range of sound on «Sudden Music» (as good a definition of "improvisation" as I've heard) is cavernous but the recorded dynamics are not; you will not be knocked out of your seat by a massive lurch in volume as you might have been the first time you heard, say, King Crimson's "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One." Hopefully the quiet nature of these nonetheless outrageous improvs (and I apologize for an inability to tell who is playing what; not that it matters) will draw one in to hear the marvelous juxtaposition of rattle and skritch, drifting thumb down a guitar or piano string accompanies by shushed brushing, and from these odd elements one will erect each his own set of reactions. One of these reactions may be to put the CD away for good, but bring an open mind to it. I will agree with Señor Paes' closing liner note assertion, and say he's dead on: "everything is sudden, immediate, unexpected, but nothing happens out of its place, nothing is in excess or in need, transmitting to us a curious illusion of PERMANENCE." As well it should. Ken Egbert (Jazz Now)

The label is founded by violinplayer Ernesto Rodrigues in 2001. Thinking of improvised music from Portugal it is only the name of that other violinplayer, the well-known Carlos Zíngaro that comes to my mind. But here we have a very impressive outburst of new talent from Portugal. «Sudden Music» reflects an improvised music that is very rich and of considerable standard. So there is a great unity here in several respects: in time, in musicians involved. «Sudden Music» engages in a microtonal improvisation. Music with great sense for detail and nuance. With my view on european improvised music I would say that they are most close to the english school. A non-idiomatic kind of improvised music. Abstract but coloured. Silence is also important here. Much pianissimo, often spaced out, but always intense. Investigating the world of sound and texture. It can be said that they try to make a group sound. To establish the individuality of an instrument or player is not what they are in for. The interplay between the musicians is often great. All in all, it is difficult to say anything negative about this CD. It proofs that european improvised music is still very much alive since it originated in the sixties. «Sudden Music» makes up a very enjoyable and rewarding course in active listening. Dolf Mulder (Vital Weekly)

Violinist / violist Ernesto Rodrigues come as further proof that, after years of relative isolation at the far end of the Iberian peninsula, post-Expo Portugal is catching up fast. «Sudden Music», eloquently introduced by Rui Eduardo Paes in his notes, finds Ernesto Rodrigues with guitarist António Chaparreiro and José Oliveira on percussion and inside piano, and if the opening minutes of "Round Angles and Sharp Lines" sound as if they could have come from a Phosphor concert, things get pretty passionate about the ten minute mark. Paes may have his reasons for wanting to hail these guys as "the improvisers of silence", but compared to recent offerings from Berlin, Tokyo, London and Boston it's pretty active stuff ("Lateral Thinking" is the quietest piece on offer). Paes is on the money when he writes that "too much is generally played in improvisation [..] and one easily cedes to the temptation of exhibitionist virtuosity", but to some extent the musicians end up doing precisely this.... Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic)

These three releases reveal that the language of free improvisation has found a home in Portugal in the hands of string player Ernesto Rodrigues and multi-instrumentalist José Oliveira. Over the course of the three CD’s at hand, the two round out a trio with different partners to explore differing dialects of non-idiomatic, collective playing. […] With «Sudden Music», the strategy moves from gathering together accumulated fragments to building improvisations from the foundation of expansive reductivism; gestures distilled down to their barest essences. António Chaparreiro uses his electric guitar as little more than an electronic sound source, squeezing the subtlest hints of scoured and scrubbed strings through muffled distortion. Ernesto Rodrigues starts out with subtle, damped harmonics and stray arco glisses. Oliveira coaxes out pings and dry, rustling percussion scratches, which he augments with hanging shadowy notes drawn from the insides of a piano. In contrast to «Multiples», this trio stretches their improvisations out to the 14? to 20-minute range. Starting from faint, gauzy notes hung in a vast soundscape, the music slowly gathers density and direction. Yet even in a more expansive form, there is still an almost obsessive edge to the playing as the three forage for a collective voice in narrowly prescribed sound spaces. Ernesto Rodrigues’ voice comes through the most effectively in this setting, providing a focal point to the otherwise ethereal collective interactions. […] It is always good to hear musicians with inquisitive sensibilities, searching for their voices and pushing themselves to explore challenging settings. From the evidence of these three releases, there is no question that Portugal is nurturing a handful of players who are taking on that challenge. Though the results are uneven, the quest should be applauded. Michael Rosenstein (Cadence)

Creative Sources is a new portuguese label run by Ernesto Rodrigues (who plays the viola, sax, violin) and who has so far issued 5 amazing CD's. Usually in nearly all CD's, [...] we find a core of nearly the same people exploring various realms of the what so called “improvised music”. But is improvisation which is not done in the sake of improvisation or in a funny like mood or whatsoever. On the contrary here we have a team of people who improvise upon certain ideas or out of certain needs. [...]  The things though change in «Sudden music» where we find Ernesto Rodrigues on violin/viola, António Chaparreiro on electric guitar and José Oliveira on percussion & inside piano who play a fantastic game between sounds created out of silence and a high class improvisation reaching at times contemporary standards, I’ll mention especially the 3rd track “Lateral Thinking” which is the one I like the most in the cd which I believe that is the best example of their effort to create these “silent sounds” (or remain as silent as possible) and certainly is a unique example of this improvised musics genre! [...] Nicolas (Absurd)

«Sudden Music» presenta cuatro piezas de una formación de músicos portugueses muy vinculados a corrientes artísticas de vanguardia; directamente, podrían colocarse en una primera línea de creadores en tiempo real. La duración de las piezas, entre quince y veinte minutos, permite que aparezcan diferentes desarrollos de una “inesperada música” con ejecuciones, en un primer plano, de las cuerdas de violín y viola de Ernesto Rodrigues. Con su técnica y expresividad muy patentes, en ataques y deslizamientos de arco por los instrumentos, afronta con sus compañeros: António Chaparreiro ­ guitarra eléctrica - , de evoluciones minimalistas, en un segundo plano, y José Oliveira ­ percusión y piano - , con una más que notable ejecución, en conjunto, y sobre todo en el arpa del piano. ¡Emocionante pieza Something Is Going To Happen!.
Destacables búsquedas de resonancias, timbres y armónicos en los instrumentos con acogida del silencio y la música contemporánea como esencias más próximas. Chema Chacón (Oro Molido)

Esta Sudden Music, que escuto noite alta da forma que penso deve ser ouvida – isto é, com máxima concentração, com baixo ruído de fundo para melhor apreender o silêncio –, talvez seja “súbita” na maneira como se expõe ou, com maior propriedade, como se insinua de forma inesperada, sem ser brusca ou intempestiva. Ernesto Rodrigues, António Chaparreiro e José Oliveira entretêm-se aqui em longas improvisações que dão o mote e o ambiente propícios ao desenvolvimento suave e vagaroso, não arrastado, da marcha dos acontecimentos. Violino e viola, guitarra, percussão e piano preparado (também há voz murmurante, não creditada). Som com furos de silêncio ou silêncios pontuados por sons delicadamente ocasionais? Depende da perspectiva, sendo válidas ambas as abordagens, espécie de positivo e negativo da fotografia sonora. A perspectiva de Ernesto Rodrigues, sobretudo no tema de abertura em que a superfície sonora é menos agitada (Round Angles and Sharp Lines), parece ter sido a de dar voz, importância primordial, ao silêncio, que é dele que tudo nasce e para onde tudo corre. Estética próxima da chamada lowercase (Steve Roden define-a como música que aguarda sossegadamente por ser descoberta, antitética da que grita para e por ser ouvida), da improvisação reducionista (ou, preferencialmente, reduzida, despojada), baseada no detalhe, na quietude, na gestão dos amplos espaços e intervalos, que não deve ser confundida com minimalismo repetitivo, posto que em Sudden Music não se reconhece uma linha contínua de progressão unidireccional assente na repetição, mas o encontrar de múltiplos acidentes na paisagem, pontos de fuga que se encontram e desencontram em diferentes planos, os detalhes projectando-se no espaço em várias dimensões. Os extremos tocam-se, e no meio, no grande arco em que o som se organiza, vive o silêncio fundacional, matéria plástica, princípio e fim. Silêncio e tensão, a mesma que aglutina os micro-fiapos sonoros e permite ao ouvinte esperar pelo som seguinte (que já lá está, só que ainda não foi ouvido, aguarda apenas que o ouvinte o descubra), interagir com ele, reflectir sobre ele, pressentir o movimento actual antes que novo som subtilmente se instale, assim deslizando suavemente ao longo dos mais de 70 minutos em que o disco nos pode encantar.
Bom trabalho dirigido por Ernesto Rodrigues. Aprecio, a par da meritória actividade editorial a que se tem vindo a dedicar (52 discos publicados até à data, desde 2000, na Creative Sources), o seu entusiasmo e a capacidade de arriscar em renovadas propostas estéticas, de juntar vontades, formar e dirigir grupos de músicos pelo puro prazer de improvisar. Eduardo Chagas (Jazz e Arredores)

L’ensemble des disques d’Ernesto Rodrigues sur son label représente une inscription dans les “musiques improvisées européennes” tout en affiormant sa propre personnalité. Ici, les trois musiciens s’infiltrent dans des vibrations minimales, des tensions et des ruptures de silences. Jerôme Noetinger (Metamkine)