our facelless empire



Ernesto Rodrigues, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Manuel Mota, Gino Robair

PAX PR 90289




















Recorded in Oakland, California in 2006, during a long journey that took violinist Ernesto Rodrigues and guitarist Manuel Mota from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, Southern California, with stops in Seattle and San Francisco, this encounter between two Portuguese musicians and Californian improvisers Gino Robair (energized surfaces/voltage made audible) and Ernesto Diaz-Infante (acoustic guitar), invigorates the open debate over the different forms of musical expression related to improvisation/instant composition. These forms of communication evidence a particular interest in exploring the most delicate aspect of the sound world. The chosen elements–acoustic and electric strings as well as various electronics/percussions– interact to work out a fascinating, enchanting angle regarding timbric and textural possibilities and instrumental combinations. The voices interweave with ductility and take advantage of the broadened dynamic spectrum, which goes from intervals of silence to the resonance of a meticulous yet delicate low volume activity, and these aspects are accentuated by the clarity of the recording, which was a result of a competent and assertive placement of microphones. Yet the most interesting aspect is perhaps to witness the development of a collective language, nurtured by the spontaneous inspiration and a remarkable ability to react in real time to the stimulus of the other ensemble members. There are some moments that sound close to the reductionist/”near silence” approach, others to electroacoustic experimentation and some even to the European schools of free improvisation. However, what is mostly heard throughout the recording is an organic compound boiled on a low flame, made up with the different forms and techniques of the contemporary free musical expression, and it privileges as a whole the richness of color, a purified sense of collectiveness and a surprising kinetic motion between serenity and restlessness. Natural, spontaneous music, filled with mystery, angular, exploratory and intense: just like we dreamed it.

Eduardo Chagas