Prima Pratica cs621









[Another recent album from Creative Sources, in this case taking a while to make much of an impression on me, is Prima pratica by another quintet led by Ernesto Rodrigues (on his usual viola), and recorded in the Azores this past January. Prima pratica is another long album (over an hour), and largely features musicians with whom I wasn't familiar. The exception is Gianna De Toni (double bass), who appeared e.g. on the short yet often potent quartet album Synchronous Rotation with Vasco Trilla & the two Rodrigueses (as discussed here in March 2018).... Beyond that, Biagio Verdolini (homemade instruments) is credited with zither on string 11tet+1 album Sul (mentioned here in August 2018, although not Verdolini himself), while Luis Senra (tenor saxophone) & Luis Couto (electric guitar) were unknown. (I won't assume they're all young, but they may be....) In any case, what instrument is making what sound tends toward the opaque on Prima pratica, as sounds are decontextualized (i.e. per classic musique concrète, but done live) & then used gesturally. Beyond the imposing album title, individual tracks are also titled "dissonanze" I-III (thus evoking e.g. Nashaz, on which sounds are actually far easier to place), providing an enigmatic prompt for what is otherwise rather sparse music. (And when it does emerge into a rare forte, it's usually tonal.) The sparse decontextualization involves taking another step — toward austerity or essence? — from e.g. Coluro, on which timbral spanning is rather systematic, yet also "thicker" & more individually discernible. Prima pratica is then not only more distended in its sonic materials, but adopts a more linear approach (via its gestural clarity) in order to sketch long arcs & their imputed space. It's also largely acoustic. Further, I wouldn't be discussing this album (at least in any detail) if it weren't ultimately affective, and although that affectivity does require listener investment, a potent & calming quality consistently emerges via such attention. (I'm thus unsure whether to differentiate Prima pratica from ambient music — in that, absent investment, very little seems to happen: Nonetheless, the affectivity is real.) The sparseness thus comes to suggest something essential about musical line & timbre, as well as asks one to take (often subtle) dissonance per se seriously: A plaintive quality also comes to emerge, somehow evoking its island setting (in modes seemingly allied to those of Rodrigues' work with his Suspensão ensemble...), while remaining carefully balanced. Quiet thus comes to yield transformativity, as muted colors arc like threads through invisible space.... (In this, Prima pratica is similar yet different from Stratus, which although layered in pastels, is tauter & in broader timbral strokes, featuring more general continuity....) In some ways, the sometimes mysterious origin of the sounds contributes to the impression of space, but in other ways, concerns of that sort tend to fade away: The first track is already especially satisfying in that regard, invoking a sort of kenosis that's expounded into the second (which does come to seem a bit overlong, at over a half hour by itself...) with its sometimes extended "radio signal" atmosphere. Shadows of melody do also appear, though, amid various bubbling & bouncing fluid streams. The shorter third track soon seems overlong again too, but its pulsations also continue the theme, as arcs of color continue to outline broad affective spaces. It seems that this sort of style could continue to be abstracted & elaborated quite broadly & evocatively.... Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

A very open free improvisation of Portuguese musicians recording in Azores, PT from the quintet of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Luis Senra on tenor saxophone, Gianna de Toni on double bass, Luis Couto on electric guitar, Biagio Verdolini on homemade instruments, using space amid patiently evolving conversation with an overall acoustic feeling in three movements of "Dissonanze". Squidco

Slow-motion deconstruction of bassline supported by crackles, chimes, plucks, and hollow metallics. Light wafts of half-melodies. Delicate percuss and saxophone clucks. Softly but restively screeching strings. Speaks to both the common ideas and discipline of the group dedicated to discovering the minute, dissonant idiosyncrasies of the musical moment and extending them deep into time. A second can be an instant or a prolonged meditation on a single bent tone, scraped surface, or, more often, combinations of minor events.

What makes this unique in this bunch is the primary role played by Gianna De Toni’s bass. It frequently stands out in its depth and clarity and seems the linking element between prevalent atmosphere of strange sounds (Luis Senra’s contorted sax huffs, Luis Couto’s altered guitar, Biagio Verdolini’s bag of homemade devices, and, of course, Rodrigues’ viola) and more traditional and recognizable musical elements. Nick Ostrum (The Free Jazz Collective)