Spiegel cs598









After taking a few months off from releasing albums in the wake of an explosion of material around his 59th birthday last year (both a prime number & his birth year), new items from Ernesto Rodrigues are beginning to appear: For now, I want to highlight Spiegel, consisting of two sets across two non-consecutive nights during CreativeFest #12 in Lisbon this past November: It remains to be seen how many albums will arise from last year's festival, but it's been a time during which Rodrigues has often assembled his larger groups. (This year, that's already resulted in a new release from his IKB ensemble, this time with twenty members, in Paradoxurus hermaphroditus. If anything, it's even more quiet & probing than previous IKB releases.) The ensemble on Spiegel, the same both nights, is most similar to that on the recent Stratus, i.e. a septet with the participation of percussion & electronics. However, Spiegel substitutes Guilherme Rodrigues on cello for Bruno Parrinha on reeds & Andre Hencleeday on piano for Miguel Almeida on guitar. (It's interesting how reeds & bowed strings come to sound closer to each other within Rodrigues' work than do e.g. some other winds.... Also, the piano is not usually noticeable as such, but one does sometimes perceive the distinctive sense of space that arises from its relatively large resonant capacity, such that it does change the feel of the ensemble somewhat.) Spiegel likewise seems to exhibit a renewed focus on quiet & restraint — such that one might locate it in another interstice of the sequence articulated by 3 Phases, i.e. between the broad drones of II & the close-up assemblages of III — & perhaps even a sense of formal restraint per se in its orientation on mirroring or surfacing: Its slow-moving quality thus achieves a sort of tautness, particularly around a dialectic of discontinuity versus smoothness that might be compared to the concerns of sonata form. (That these sets begin with a gong marks the performances themselves as already opening a discontinuity within a larger flow of general experience....) In this, Spiegel is then rather less about "color" than is e.g. Stratus or some other recent albums from Rodrigues, and comes to feel like something of a continuing refinement or distillation. In particular, it cultivates a sort of hushed & secretive, i.e. hermeneutic, quality that contrasts with some other articulations inspired by or modeled upon the natural world.... (Such a hermeneutics moreover continues to interrogate audibility per se, with electronic participation in Rodrigues albums often geared toward such a "sorting" operation within what might be termed a lowercase engineering environment. In my terms, audibility thus comes to figure use per se.) Different expectations come to appear, especially around a ritual orientation that seems to return more strongly in some of Rodrigues' recent music (e.g. Montréal, as mentioned in February), here more specifically around structural articulation & response within a generalized sense of flow: I've been seeing similar styles described elsewhere as related to painting or the visual arts, and that might be true of particular inspirations, but more generally, what I hear is a different interrogation of temporality per se, i.e. the way in which the flow of experience unfolds perceptually. (One might thus consider the temporality of a painting, i.e. its sequence of creation, which does not necessarily proceed according to the naïve spatial parameters of the physical surface, e.g. down & to the right or from the center out....) In this, notions of momentum & restraint moreover come to interrogate continuity per se, and not only as a purely sonic unfolding. (There are expressions of consciousness still lurking.) Spiegel thus seems to involve moments of semiosis & a renewed concentration of style for Rodrigues. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

Two sets across two nights during CreativeFest #12 at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal, in a septet of six acoustic sources--viola, cellos, flute, trumpet, piano and percussion--and electronics, an extended journey approached with quiet tension and incredible detail, the recording of the first set used as the basis for the 2nd to create a virtual ensemble. Squidco


Recorded at the CreativeFest XII (as was Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus), Spiegel is one of several recent releases that caught a Rodrigues ensemble live. The sound quality, however, hardly suffers, and that is an extreme complement for music like this. One can still hear the slightest squeak, most breathy hiss, and faintest rumbling. These are set against forceful but restrained piano, sparse single-note cello pizzicato, and other mysterious loud tones. In the sense of contrast (rather than movement), this is potently dynamic. Although there is a rawness to this music, there is also a clear refinement. Noise is not made to simply to fill space, but to continue a musical thought or transition to a new one. The layers bend and blend into each other, creating a quiet wall of sound. Yet, somehow, this stops short of the ambient sound-sculpting that it so often tempts. Two long tracks of subtle, mysterious, and masterful music captured in its purest live form. Nick Ostrum (The Free Jazz Collective)

Some people have infinite amount of forces and creativity, and they never stop. "Spiegel II" was recorded also during the CreativeFest XIII at O'Culto da Ajuda, Lisbon, and released in May 2020. As Ernesto explains: "As the name implies, the group explores the concept of a mirror (by convention, object distances are always considered positive, image distances are considered positive for real images and negative for virtual images). The first track is played as an octet. The second track is played by listening, reacting and interacting with the recording of the first track, which sums up a total of 16 musicians. The process is repeated on the last and third track (reaction to the previous two tracks) resulting in a total layer of 24 musicians (for both musicians and listeners). Thus we try to refer to the concepts of reality / virtuality, so thoroughly confused nowadays, through the vertigo of technology." I am an extremist, so personally my favorites are: "I", because of the purity and clearness of the sound, and "III", in contrast, for the complexity and richness of the sound. "I" has already a character of multi-dimensional conversation, quite and peaceful, with plenty of silent instants, alternative sounds and "fake" music. But, it also has varying moods: from tranquilizing to dramatic, from melancholic to joyful. "III" is filled with sounds and voices of instruments one really has impression that it is played by a large ensemble. On the other hand, "II" should not be neglected it is clearly the best exemplification of the mirror idea. Highly recommended!!! Family Rodrigues is fantastic here, but so are the others: I particularly enjoy the short entries of bass clarinet of Bruno Parrinha and piano notes of Andre Hencleeday. The discrete charm of computer accents by Carlos Santos is amazing. Maciej Lewenstein