Spiegel II cs655









And as long as I'm talking about sequels, Spiegel II — recorded on three consecutive nights at CreativeFest XIII in November 2019 — is not only a reprise of Spiegel (as discussed here in May 2019), but might be described as a series of "sequels" itself: In particular, while I'd noted something happening between the two parts of Spiegel, originally describing it as a semiotic shift, I didn't specifically observe that in the second part, the musicians were playing along with a recording of themselves playing the first part. (Ernesto Rodrigues pointed that out to me later, which is unusual, since Ernesto doesn't often seem to want to describe what he's doing with his music. And for Spiegel II, he's done it in public comments accompanying the release, so that's notable. Moreover, maybe I should note here that Ernesto wrote an introduction to the new nonet album Scope, recorded in Berlin in 2019 by Guilherme Rodrigues's new Red List Ensemble: It's a succinct description of the style, and probably worth reading in general....) So whereas Spiegel had been mysterious to me, on Spiegel II the technique of playing along with the prior recording is explicitly stated, and in this case, it even moves on to a third part during which the musicians play along with a recording of themselves playing along with the first recording.... (I guess Spiegel II isn't a "pure sequel" in the sense I just used it, though, because while Spiegel II is an octet of frequent Rodrigues collaborators, many from e.g. Stratus, Spiegel was a septet — & with "only" six musicians in common.) As I've been lamenting at times, I also don't make it out to hear much live music lately, and so I usually only hear these things via recordings anyway, meaning that there's often an (e.g. acousmatic) sense of mystery involved, even in cases where a live concert wouldn't have been especially mysterious to watch. So I'm accustomed to a variety of technical mediations entering into my musical relations, for better or worse.... And sometimes it can all come to be washing over me, perhaps, without a tangible physical sense. (Perhaps that's desirable sometimes too, but that becomes an issue of use....) Anyway, that said, I've decided to write this paragraph after a single hearing of Spiegel II, as my own sort of technical response: The stark orientation to start doesn't seem unusual, but my sense of the initial performance is that it's exceedingly cautious, every sound seemingly placed with future intent... as if "seeding" future performances, or even creating a sort of score. The second performance presents a more typical density for these Rodrigues projects, but still seems to carry an extra air of restraint. Tension does come to increase at times, but almost as an intangible background buzz, some kind of melding of future & memory (including of past future plans?). By the third track, the music is busier but also seems haunted, again as if a sort of "static" is arising from the background — & I don't think it's actually tape hiss (or whatever they call that now), i.e. not a literal buzz, but the buzz of prior thoughts.... The perception is less clear than that, but it's not the same as a 24-person ensemble playing at once. It's as if the future had already played a disciplinary role — perhaps analogously to e.g. comments on Sway Prototypes from last month — which is then heard against itself. It's a strange affect, but also yields a kind of interrogation of futural thinking, particularly relevant as e.g. financial markets increasingly come to embed their projections (i.e. their futures) into present reality. (And it's exactly this sort of "leveraging" of future results that makes economies crash so hard whenever an interruption occurs, i.e. as the prior intrusion of a future that never actually occurs.) Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

Pelo número de nomes que vêm na ficha técnica, este “Spiegel II” seria, supostamente, um disco gravado em octeto, mas a verdade é que tal apenas acontece na primeira faixa. Na segunda, os oito músicos – Ernesto Rodrigues, Miguel Almeida, Guilherme Rodrigues, André Hencleeday, José Bruno Parrinha, João Silva, Carlos Santos e João Valinho – tocam com a gravação anterior, assim formando um ensemble de 16 elementos, e na terceira actuam com os dois registos efectuados a partir dessas intervenções, alargando a formação para 24 “vozes”. Como o próprio título indica em Alemão, utiliza-se o conceito de espelho, de reflexo e refracção, e designadamente a noção de que a distância dos objectos é considerada positivamente, mas já a distância das imagens é ora considerada positiva quando se trata de imagens reais, ora negativa quando as imagens são virtuais. As imagens sonoras aqui contidas eram reais e virtuais para os músicos no momento das execuções II e III e reais apenas na execução I – para nós, ouvintes, são necessariamente todas virtuais. O que experienciamos são os reflexos e as refracções na nossa percepção auditiva.

Deste modo, surge-nos mais um questionamento e uma problematização do que entendemos como improvisação livre. Esta pode ter sido efectiva nos primeiros quase 26 minutos do CD – isso se considerarmos que os próprios instrumentos, os estados de espírito dos executantes, o ambiente da sala (O’culto da Ajuda, em Lisboa, a 19, 20 e 21 de Novembro de 2019), o que os músicos comeram ao jantar, as deixas fornecidas em tempo real pelos outros intervenientes, etc., etc., não funcionam já como “pauta” –, mas nas demais sequências fica claro que as improvisações acrescentadas tomam as gravações como partitura base. Para além do jogo realizado com quem toca ao lado, houve que verificar onde havia espaços que pudessem ser ocupados, o que poderia ser sublinhado ou complementado e o que se poderia fazer em contraposição. O procedimento daria para enormes discussões sobre que liberdade é essa da improvisação, mas há também um outro interessante plano a considerar: sendo as estratégias utilizadas as do chamado reducionismo, que age por diminuição, o que temos neste disco é acrescento, precisamente o contrário da utopia “near silence”. E, no entanto, tais parâmetros estéticos subsistem, o que dá bem conta das apuradíssimas perspectivas de medida por parte de todos e cada um dos contribuintes. Se esta é uma música conceptual, a tradução prática – o outro lado do espelho – tem mais do que suficientes argumentos para valer por si mesma. Rui Eduardo Paes (

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 -- on e 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 José Bruno Parrinha and piano notes of Andre Hencleeday. The discrete charm of computer accents by Carlos Santos is amazing. Maciej Lewenstein