mimus cs560









Mimus is the latest release from the 8-member (duh!) Octopus ensemble, whose first album Vulgaris I mentioned briefly as part of a long survey in August, and whose second (mini, digital) album Dofleini I mentioned in September. Mimus was recorded only twelve days after Dofleini, also in Lisbon in March, and uses a nearly identical ensemble (with one substitution, at saxophone), whereas Vulgarishad been a little different (including e.g. piano & cello). Mimus also seems to capture a new level of sophistication for these ensembles, specifically in its "underwater" sense of lighting & color: It opens seeming almost like an organ, but with much more timbral detail & sensitivity than available from an organ keyboard. As so often, it's unclear what Carlos Santos is doing with electronics, but the trumpet (Anna Piosik, mentioned here in October with Eris) & two reeds (Bruno Parrinha, mentioned with Lithos in June, and Paulo Galão, not mentioned previously, but appearing on various Creative Sources recordings) combine with the strings (Rodrigues himself, the relatively well-known Hernâni Faustino on bass, and André Holzer — who is new to me — on resonator guitar) & snare drum (João Valinho, also not mentioned, but appearing with Rodrigues in Diceros, as well as without Rodrigues in the Free Pantone Trio, which I also hadn't mentioned) to produce a variety of musical activity that not only yields an underwater feeling, but what seem to be variations in light & color: Like the octopus depicted on the cover, there is almost a translucent quality to the music, such that various elements continually shift to take on background colors, including via pulsing resonances. The result has a sort of (ambient) smoothness that does nonetheless become more busy at times, perhaps mixed in real time with some looping? (There are hints of an industrial vibe at times too, for instance, albeit submerged.) There's something of a slow evolution as a result — i.e. a sense of austerity — but one's energy level can be powerfully modulated by what are ultimately relatively subtle — yet immersive — articulations from these standard (classical) instruments. Whereas Mimus is striking for its sense of immersive shading, in April (i.e. the following month, also in Lisbon), Rodrigues recorded another new album (3 Phases (III) Black) with a previously existing medium-scale ensemble, Diceros, and it obliges with a more rumbling & earthy sound: I'd mentioned Diceros (also) in August around Urze, but that was an octet (and so a natural pairing with Octopus), while 3 Phases (III) Black is a 12tet. (And without an explanation, I don't know what the three 3 Phases albums have in common beyond being recorded on consecutive days at the same venue... three different improvisation styles in historical order, I guess? Besides Rodrigues himself, Santos is the only person to appear on more than one of them, and the orientations are rather different: 3 Phases (I) White is more traditionally jazzy around sax & piano, while 3 Phases (II) Grey intriguingly pairs Rodrigues with a saxophone trio — SAT — in what ends up being a mostly quiet, drone album.) 3 Phases (III) Black didn't make as much of an impression on me as Mimus did, but I do want to note it, since it explores its own sorts of sonorities in an ongoing project, and particularly since I'd originally mentioned Octopus & Diceros together.... Perhaps more significant to this line of inquiry, however, is Backlighting (which I'd also mentioned already in August), another April 2018 recording, and one that seems to take up the coloring innovations of Mimus in a smaller (& quieter) format, in particular placing viola against three winds from different families (flute, reed, brass). I've found Backlighting to be too subdued to be of much use in my life, but did want to note it again as apparently pivotal within these recent developments.... Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

The 8-limbed creature that is Creative Source's Octopus presents their 3rd album of diaphanous improvisation, using two reeds (clarinet & tenor sax), trumpet, resonator guitar, viola, double bass, snare drums and electronics, as they slowly prowl in subaqueous and subtle improvisation of powerful technique, cautiously moving with rich details and deft direction. (Squidco)