RRR cs544









In last month's entry for Jardin Carré, I stated that I'd (now) be making individual entries for Ernesto Rodrigues albums as warranted, and yet here I am, in the very next entry involving Rodrigues, preparing to discuss another group of string-majority albums at once, these recorded in Berlin in October 2017: It's probably silly waffling on my part, and yet another lesson about making future claims (& for no compelling reason), but I do want to mention these latest albums, and without as much individual focus as some others might warrant. On all four albums, Ernesto Rodrigues is joined by Guilherme Rodrigues — a configuration which should, perhaps, be called the Lisbon (or, I suppose, Berlin) String Duo — either to form half of a quartet or the majority of a trio. (The former configuration also holds for Jardin Carré, as well as for 0 minutes and 0 seconds. In fact, the latter also originated in Berlin last October, as did e.g. Crane Cries, discussed in this space back in April. So the albums in this entry appeared a little later, although certainly not "late" according to the norms of improvised music releases....Jardin Carré is then a newer album, originating in Paris this spring, whereas e.g. The Afterlife of Trees — discussed here last December — is from the previous October in Berlin....) Considering the overlapping techniques used by Ernesto & Guilherme together, not to mention their years of shared experience, they almost seem like one double instrument at times, such that their trios have something of the flavor of duos: Such a flavor might not suit my project here as well as some other efforts, but it does often serve to place the "guest" in sharp relief, and even allows the resulting trios to plumb some deeper spaces. Perhaps the later release dates (than those of some other albums already noted from the period) were already indicative, but these albums are less radical in concept than I had talked myself into anticipating. Nonetheless, trios RRR & We Still Have Bodies, involving previous Creative Sources artists Olaf Rupp & Richard Scott respectively, yield a variety of exploratory & distinctive textures: In particular, RRR — on which the ensemble differs from that of Traintracks Roadsides Wastelands Debrisonly by substituting Guilherme Rodrigues for Ulrike Brand on cello — could not be more different from that earlier album: In contrast to the extended, industrial desolation of the latter, the former is almost sunny at times, with electric guitar involved in chiming sounds that evoke not only a mysterious counterbalance to the various string glissandi & extended pizzicato techniques, but an East Asian character as well, a mélange of Chinese & Balinese colors. One might further note a contrast between a frequent "earthy" character in the violin family instruments & a calmly ethereal "sunrise" quality from the guitar, a contrast which nonetheless coheres into or around stable musical figures. (The "pretty" or uplifting character, if not the calm per se, might be compared to Rupp's participation on the earlier & more traditional Happy Jazz, discussed here in May 2017. The "punk" character I had found in some of his earlier music seems to be far behind....) The basic tone or mood of We Still Have Bodies doesn't contrast with earlier Creative Sources favorites involving Scott, Natura venomous & Trialectics, to the same degree, but does suggest something of the character of studies: The title is intriguing & appropriate to our times — & strangely similar to the self-titled debut While We Still Have Bodies on Neither/Nor, as discussed here last November (i.e. shortly after the former was recorded) — but a compelling overall concept doesn't seem to emerge (at least not relative to my hopes for such a pregnant pairing). Nonetheless, this is indeed the first album to feature both Scott & Ernesto Rodrigues, and various intriguing textures are explored in an ample & multi-track (as seems typical of Scott) album lasting over an hour — the latter even discounting the several minutes of silence occupying the second half of the final track.... (And one cannot always be sure what is intended or what is a production glitch in some of these cases....) There is a bit of "spaciness" from the synth at times, but also a variety of combinations from aggressive to subtle (including some quiet vocal sampling & "radio" static that weren't immediately apparent), suggesting many future possibilities. These projects also involve the continued exploration of mic'ing & mixing that is sometimes associated with the notion (or genre) of "lowercase" by some narratives: While the amplification of quiet sounds does align, this is more "abstract music" in Pierre Schaeffer's sense of Musique concrète, including with originating sound sources largely effaced at various points, than it is a spotlight on the everyday. I intend to return to that remark in the next entry.... (Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts)

Electric guitarist Olaf Rupp joins the father son/duo of violist Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Guilherme cello, in studio recordings from Berlin in 2017, as three disparate strings intertwine in acoustics and electronics for an intensely evolving two part work, a textured tapestry of slow bowing, sustaining tones, unusual progressions, and odd percussive invention. (Squidco)