23 exposures | cs003




































































































This is the third album released by violinist Ernesto Rodrigues on his own label Creative Sources Recordings and his third trio session involving percussionist José Oliveira. Getting back to the format of «Multiples», «23 Exposures» presents just that many freely improvised snapshots.  Although not as resolutely "silent" as «Sudden Music» (which was recorded with a pro-silence parti-pris), this CD still emphasizes texture and grain over musicality, listening over impetus, detail over power, like the most demanding Free Improv from London. The biggest surprise this session yields is José Oliveira’s playing. He spends a lot of time away from percussion instruments, squeezing the strangest sounds out of an acoustic guitar.  Sliding objects on the strings, rubbing drums, bowing cymbals: almost his whole sound palette on this album consists of slithers. That could be applied to Ernesto Rodrigues too. Pushing the use of bow pressure to both extremes, he produces alien sounds through which soprano saxophonist Marco Franco weaves his interventions, subtle to the point of becoming unassuming. This session doesn’t match the intensity of Multiples, it is marred by a few sparkless moments, but it still makes a spirited, challenging listen for free improv fans. The musicians use a lot of creativity to keep the music on the edge. François Couture (AMG)

Ernesto Rodrigues CD production strengthens with two more crucial releases in the scenery of Portuguese free music improvistation. In «23 Exposures» we meet this violinist with Marco Franco on soprano saxophone (drummer with Nuno Rebelo) and the habitué José Oliveira. In «Ficta» the musicians featured in the already reviewed «Multiples» (CS 001) - 13 years old Guilherme Rodrigues on cello and pocket trumpet and José Oliveira on percussion - is enforced by the participation of excellent Argentinian pianist Gabriel Paiuk. This new acquisition seems to have dramatically increased the surrender and involvement of the Lisbon musicians which has turned out to make it possible to label this CD as the most interesting of all Creative Sources Recorgings catalog. Worth checking out is the fact that Ernesto Rodrigues' improvisational practice again stands on very clear concepts: In «23 Exposures» allusion is made to the use of light on photography as equivalent to the process of abstraction in music and in «Ficta» references are to the role of improvisation on Baroque and other musical contexts. The chosen name of all featured pieces is also clear as to what is at stake: "Nihil" followed by the number of each track suggests a very concrete creative practice through "de-constructionism" of form. Rui Eduardo Paes (JL)

An abundant hour of extremely creative timbral explorations, "23 exposures" should ideally be approached after a training of hours upon hours of active listening. The sounds fall here and there like raindrops, mixing and combining themselves according to their inner essence - percussive, breathy, harmonic or squealing; everything is improvised but it seems like the parts were advance-planned, such is the coherence of the overall result. Even if I'm not unfamiliar with this kind of material, I could not compare this music to anything else; I find its fractured existence similar to a process to be necessarily followed from the beginning to the end, like a microscopical observation of a small group of living cells. Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

…The music produced by the trio on «23 Exposures» can be said to have a British imprint. Concerned with sounds and silence and prefaced by a quote from John Cage about the fascination of noise, the disc has been compared to a photographic exposures. Showcasing greater or lesser sharpness of aural images, it's part of a series of discs created by Ernesto Rodrigues, who has a background in improv, classical and pop music, on violin and viola in collaboration with José Oliveira and others such as cellist Guilherme Rodrigues and pianist Gabriel Paiuk. Over the course of the 23 so-called exposures, which range in length from a little more than one minute to just over five -- with most in the two and three minute range -- reference points are the experimental tone scientist work done by Brit improvisers. Saxophonist John Butcher, violinist Phil Wachsmann, guitarist Derek Bailey and especially percussionist John Stevens come first to mind. Steven's non-hierarchical Spontaneous Music Ensemble ethos is echoed here, with each musician doing his best to contribute to the overall sound picture. On the longest track, the violinist exhibits a shrill human-sounding shriek that meet scratching, abrasive sandpaper percussion that soon turn to what appears to be the sounds of mice scampering through the studio. Marco Franco dispenses a series of tongue-slaps that appear to have been born in his mouthpiece alone. Producing a modest, elongated sax tone, the finale winds down with violin strings slashed so quickly that the result resembles a tape machine running backwards. With the tracks often melting together into many variations on a theme, the catalogue of varied and extended effects often precludes ascription of any one to any instrument. Marco Franco offers bird-like chirps, percussive tongue slaps, spit-defined reed kisses and rhythmic key pops. José Olivera highlights nagging cymbal pings, the pealing of tiny bells, the rattle of chains, a bow scratching on the cymbal's metallic surface and what appears to be toys rolling on drum heads. On guitar, he seems to go Bailey one better, preferring a single note to a chord and a touch to a lick. What picking and plunking that is heard results from Ernesto Rodrigues' pizzicato work, which at times seems as if he's turned the gut string elastic and is gradually using torsion, stretching and wrenching them until they're on the cusp of breaking. His interest in post-serialism doesn't preclude the odd, minute arco glissando that produces a so-called classical tone. Most of the time, though, the reedist and fiddler proceed in such close proximity that the frequent elongated smears and split tones that define many section could come from either of their instruments. This is a challenging but ultimately satisfying listening experience. [...] it will likely be the vision of [...] Ernesto Rodrigues that will define Portuguese free music for years to come. Ken Waxman (Jazz Word)

The label is founded by violinplayer Ernesto Rodrigues in 2001. Thinking of improvised music from Portugal it is only the name of that other violinplayer, the well-known Carlos Zíngaro that comes to my mind. But here we have a very impressive outburst of new talent from Portugal. «23 Exposures» reflects an improvised music that is very rich and of considerable standard. So there is a great unity here in several respects: in time, in musicians involved. «23 Exposures» engages in a microtonal improvisation. Music with great sense for detail and nuance. With my view on european improvised music I would say that they are most close to the english school. A non-idiomatic kind of improvised music. Abstract but coloured. Silence is also important here. Much pianissimo, often spaced out, but always intense. Investigating the world of sound and texture. It can be said that they try to make a group sound. To establish the individuality of an instrument or player is not what they are in for. The interplay between the musicians is often great. All in all, it is difficult to say anything negative about this CD. It proofs that european improvised music is still very much alive since it originated in the sixties. «23 Exposures» makes up a very enjoyable and rewarding course in active listening. Dolf Mulder (Vital Weekly)

Ernesto Rodrigues es el alma mater del sello portugués Creative Sources Recordings. Centrado fundamentalmente en la música improvisada y electro-acústica ofrece con estas tres referencias (todas ellas editadas en el año 2002 y grabadas a finales de 2001) una buena muestra de música improvisada, más cercana de la mal llamada música contemporánea que de lo que se podría calificar como "jazz". [...] Diferente es el tratamiento que Ernesto Rodrigues, Marco Franco y José Oliveira a través de las 23 exposiciones que muestran en la obra «23 Exposures»: 23 exposiciones, 23 breves instantáneas improvisatorias en que toman más importancia las texturas y el ambiente sonoro que la urgencia o el volumen. 23 improvisaciones en que los músicos interaccionan, accionan y reaccionan y trabajan en total libertad. En definitiva, una obra a tener en cuenta, lo mismo que sus ejecutantes. José Francisco Tapiz (Toma Jazz)

[...] Paes is on the money when he writes that "too much is generally played in improvisation [...] and one easily cedes to the temptation of exhibitionist virtuosity", but to some extent the musicians end up doing precisely this, even more so on «23 Exposures», which finds Ernesto Rodrigues (once more with Oliveira - doubling on guitar this time - and soprano saxophonist Marco Franco replacing Chaparreiro) trying his hand at the short form: average track duration is 2'40". While some pieces (6, 12, 13, 18, 22) leave enough space for sounds to breathe, the overall impression is somewhat cluttered and too much of a muchness... but this is engaging and colourful music that testifies to a fresh and undeniably positive approach to improvised music. Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic)

Lisbon-based Creative Sources was founded in 1999 by Ernesto Rodrigues, an improviser who primarily plies his trade on the violin or viola. Rodrigues, it seems, is not only the owner, he's a client; as his name appears first in the listing of performers on each of these four CDs. Whether this is a testimony to Rodrigues' leadership abilities and improvising skill or the fact that Creative Sources exists mainly as a self-serving entity, I'm unable to tell. In either case, the four discs find Rodrigues and a revolving cast of collaborators engaging in electro-acoustic improvisation of the most miniscule sort. Their subtly structuralist/conceptualist improvisations rely little on high volume or fever-pitch explosions to make their point, spending a far greater amount of time in the realm of much more deliberate actions. This spawns a sense that there exists little on these discs which is unintentional, and that the over-arching philosophies which dictate the nature of the musicians' improvisations become more important, in a sense, than the exact sounds which are created. Academic liner notes provided by Portuguese music writer Rui Eduardo Paes define the context of each recording and, through metaphor and trans-discipline association, the concept from which the album grew. Rodrigues and Oliviera are supplemented on «23 Exposures» by soprano saxophonist Marco Franco. Thematically linked to the groups' (and Paes') seemingly common appreciation for photography, «23 Exposures» is composed of a series of 23 improvised "snapshots". Closer to «Multiples» in spirit than «Sudden Music», the album features quality improvisation, no matter the intensity or volume. Though often frustratingly quiet, Franco proves to be a deserving collaborator. His chameleon-like sustain fades in and out of the mix, and his contribution to the other musicians' work is far more substantial than that of their previous colleagues. Rodrigues and Oliviera both show a noticeable development in their use of extended technique, with Oliviera's array of percussion becoming larger and more intriguing. «23 Exposures» is well balanced, almost to a fault, as the trio can sometimes begin to sound too comfortable with their surroundings. This, however, doesn't mar the music's overall effect, one that cements «23 Exposures» as the best overall Creative Sources album reviewed here [...] Adam Strohm (Fake Jazz)

These three releases reveal that the language of free improvisation has found a home in Portugal in the hands of string player Ernesto Rodrigues and multi-instrumentalist José Oliveira. Over the course of the three CD’s at hand, the two round out a trio with different partners to explore differing dialects of non-idiomatic, collective playing. […] «23 Exposures» places Ernesto Rodrigues and José Oliveira alongside soprano player Marco Franco for a series of short snapshots that delve into the world of conversational interactions. Like «Multiples», this set is made up of a series of short miniatures. But rather than a collection of textural vignettes, these pieces examine the linear intersections of spontaneous interaction. Marco Franco has all the extended techniques of the soprano sax down. He has clearly spent a lot of time listening to Evan Parker but rather than trying to recreate Parker’s use of circular breathing and cyclically layered waves, he fragments the gestures and sounds into piercing shards. José Oliveira conjures up his most angularly propulsive playing of the three sets. For some of the “exposures”, he switches to acoustic guitar, where his brittle chords elicit the spirit of Derek Bailey with little of the substance. Ernesto Rodrigues dives in with a more forceful attack than on the other sessions.  There are hints here that, placed in the right setting, he could find a potent voice. But again, the continual string of short interactions quickly begin to diffuse any sense of mounting consequence. It is always good to hear musicians with inquisitive sensibilities, searching for their voices and pushing themselves to explore challenging settings. From the evidence of these three releases, there is no question that Portugal is nurturing a handful of players who are taking on that challenge. Though the results are uneven, the quest should be applauded. Michael Rosenstein (Cadence)

Creative Sources is a new portuguese label run by Ernesto Rodrigues (who plays the viola, sax, violin) and who has so far issued 5 amazing CD's. Usually in nearly all CD's [...], we find a core of nearly the same people exploring various realms of the what so called “improvised music”. But is improvisation which is not done in the sake of improvisation or in a funny like mood or whatsoever. On the contrary here we have a team of people who improvise upon certain ideas or out of certain needs. [...] A tendency that can be seen in the «23 Exposures» CD where the team of Ernesto Rodrigues on violin/viola, Marco Franco on soprano sax and José Oliveira on percussion & acoustic guitar make 23 pieces (I dare to call them miniatures again) in the same classic but also unique improvising music standards that brings in mind labels like Incus, Po Torch or so to name but only a few and is a CD that still I believe that can be heard as the «Multiples» one. So guess that both will suit to people who love the more “classic” improvised standards. Nicolas (Absurd)

23 diapositive che sezionano e analizzano, facendo proprie, le intuizioni musicali di un movimento, quello dell’improvvisazione radicale europea, che ha assunto ormai connotati mitici grazie a personaggi come Derek Bailey ed Evan Parker e a collettivi quali Company e Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Questo, in sostanza, il contenuto dell’opera realizzata dal trio portoghese che fa capo ad Ernesto Rodrigues (violino, viola), fondatore, nel 1999, della stessa etichetta sotto cui il disco è licenziato , ovvero la “Creative Sources”. Ernesto Rodrigues , José Oliveira (percussion, acustic guitar) e Marco Franco (soprano saxophone), presentano una spettacolare prova di improvvisazioni in cui si rinnova l’eterna lotta tra silenzio e rumore, corpo e anima, ragione e sentimento. Particelle di free-jazz e musica contemporanea vanno a costituire ventitrè micro-istantanee che trovano la loro forza, proprio, nella brevità delle esecuzioni, grazie ad una padronanza della materia e una capacità di sintesi di notevole interesse, che non fa certamente rimpiangere i loro numi tutelari. La free music Made in Portugal è oramai un dato di fatto e continuare ad ignorare loro e le etichette che li rappresentano non è più consentito.  Alfredo Rastelli (Kathodik)

Zeitgenössische Improvisation und Experimentelles aus Portugal. [...] Die beiden anderen Aufnahmen, «23 Exposures» und «Ficta», sind interessanter und lassen ein feines Gespür für Weite und Raum erkennen. Improvisierte zeitgenössische Musik, wie sie von verschiedenen Leuten in Europa - etwa Burkhard Beins, Xavier Charles oder Werner Dafeldecker - gemacht wird und die sich durch die Instrumentierung (Violine, Percussion, Sopransaxophon, präpariertes Klavier) auch in die Kategorie «ernst» einordnen ließe. Hier passt alles, und bereits nach zwanzig Sekunden weiß man, wie es enden wird (und auch tatsächlich endet). Und obwohl das Spiel perfekt ist, weil alles klar definiert ist, weiß ich einfach nicht mehr, was über solche Produktionen noch zu sagen wäre. Vielleicht sollte man sie als «Etüden» durchgehen lassen, vielleicht dienen sie der «Rekreation», wer weiß das schon? Eine Sache gibt mir jedoch zu denken: Viele dieser Aufnahmen sind im «Post»-Kontext verankert - Post-Moderne, Post-Avantgarde, Post-60er und - 70er zeitgenössische Musik -, und da sollten bei uns die Alarmglocken schrillen. Revival oder Konservativismus? Noël Akchoté (Skug)

Improvvisazione di genere elettro-acustico ed approccio concettuale nella costruzione di articolate polimorfe strutture (ventitré pezzi quasi sempre di lunghezza contenuta) per il trio capitanato da Ernesto Rodrigues, fondatore nel 1999 della label Creative Sources. Viola e violino, con José Oliveira a manipolare percussioni e chitarra acustica, supportati dal sassofonista Marco Franco. Grande equilibrio, estrema dimestichezza nel succedersi ed integrarsi delle differenti parti fanno di questo album uno dei più riusciti dell'etichetta portoghese. Le variazioni ed i suoni, spesso stridenti e percussivi (anche negli strumenti a corda), fra 'clangs', 'bangs' e graffianti derive strumentali, a volte si fanno sinuosi, quasi cinguettanti, o densamente liquidi, riportando in parte alla luce moduli vicini al free jazz dei primi anni settanta. Tessiture schizoidi che deflagrano liberamente fluttuando in difficili passaggi, 'esposizioni' sonore ben nitide che non permettono alcuna mediazione. Aurelio Cianciotta (Neural)

Un trío de músicos portugueses que ya destacan como excelentes improvisadores, y en este trabajo, una selección de distintas “instantáneas”, recogen un amplio vocabulario entroncado a la apertura dialogante de los instrumentos, la candente creatividad y la permanente escucha que semejante lenguaje requiere. Una suerte ampliamente superada por el trío: el virtuoso Ernesto Rodrigues, violín, viola; Marco Franco, saxo soprano, y José Oliveira, percusión ­ batería, pequeños objetos, etc. ­ y guitarra acústica. Hay piezas con singladuras especiales: una de las mejores es la número 11; igualmente, pero de corte diferente, la siguiente... dos de los bellos ejemplos de este amplio y demostrativo trabajo que goza de apreciaciones al free jazz, del que el trío se reconoce deudor. Chema Chacón (Oro Molido)

23 improvisations courtes comme autant de fixations de moments spontanés. Jerôme Noetinger (Metamkine)