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The only new release of this batch is Ruth Barberan’s contribution to the ever-growing mountain of solo trumpet releases, “Capacidad de Perdida”. Of necessity (though I wonder, with this release and others, why?), there’s nothing that would lead the innocent listener to suspect the presence of a trumpet, but true to what seems to me to be one of the guiding aesthetics in this neck of the woods, delicacy is thrown in the back seat and an aggressive, earthy approach is pursued. Granularity, again. Harsh burblings that almost cause you to grip your throat in sympathetic pain, severe knockings and intense, even emotional whistlings are the stuff of this session. If she doesn’t quite have the conceptual fullness of a Kelley or Dörner at their best, Barberan certainly has created her own niche and a very compelling one. Can’t wait to hear more from her.
Everything heard here reinforces my ongoing conviction that some of the finest, most distinctive new music around is being created between Barcelona and Lisbon. Check it out.

Brian (Bagatellen)

Ruth Barberán, a new name for me, plays solo trumpet. But this playing is not so much a standard playing, or the production of mouth sounds, but Barberán uses the instrument as a kind of electro-acoustic object to play. Especially in the first and third this becomes obvious. Here it sounds more like closely miked acoustic objects and not anything like a trumpet. In the second and fourth piece Barberan's playing comes closer to that of Axel Dörner, whose playing is more like sound poetry then like a trumpet. A fascinating release. Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly)

Solo trumpet that is not -- that cannot be -- solo trumpet: that is how most listeners would probably sum up «Capacidad de Pérdida», Ruth Barberán’s first recording for the Portuguese experimental label Creative Sources. Her approach of the instrument as a sound-making device is strongly reminiscent of the groundbreaking late-‘90s and early-2000s work of Axel Dörner, Franz Hautzinger and Birgit Ulher. No electronics are mentioned in the scarce liner notes, so the listener has little choice but to believe that this is all acoustic trumpet playing. Several of the bubbly, breathy and cavernous sounds heard here have been pioneered by the aforementioned artists, but Barberán also comes up with a few new propositions, including arresting “crashing wave” effects in “Lo Contrario de Pérdida de Capacidad.” Close-miking draws the listener inside the bell of the instrument, for a journey more evocative of a walk in the sewers than anything trumpety. Each piece (there are four of them, 6 to 11 minutes in duration) paints a slightly different landscape, with more asperities here and wider blank spaces there, but the unity in form is undeniable – and would easily become wearisome if the album was longer than its 36 minutes.
Barberán masters the techniques of Hautzinger and co., but she adds little more to their vocabulary and does not match their intensity. That is why this album makes an interesting exercise in minute abstract sound-playing, but little more. François Couture (All Music Guide)

Trumpet player Ruth Barberán belongs in that area of improvisers that play wind instruments exploiting their more obscure cavities in a completely new approach to virgin territories, thereby also inventing a modern vocabulary. In "Capacidad de pérdida", Ruth hoards lots of strange emissions and uses them to shut down every conceivable door leading to a "conventional" way of playing: we hear expertise and ingenuity in equal doses, the instrumental machinery radically altered by some kind of goblin robbing "regular" notes and leaving breath, tongue, saliva and fingers discussing about a future that has to be completely reinvented. Hell-bent on sheer gestural significance, distrustful of everyone in the perfect ruffle between the disclosure of a new secret and the opprobrium of ignorant reactions, this girl walks away with her head well high, like if she's telling us "Do it yourself...if you're able to!" Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

On her first solo CD, capacidad de pérdida, Ruth Barberán repudiates “the harsh resounding trumpets dreadfull bray” (Richard II) in favour of more microscopic inflections of closely observed wind and surf, thereby aligning her work with that of other innovating brass players such as Matt Davis, Axel Dörner and Greg Kelley. The disc contains four freely improvised tracks, three of which were recorded in her home, the fourth at the Centre d'Estudis Musicals in Barcelona. On the best of these, and especially the title track, Barberán shifts dexterously and adventurously both within an array of timbres, attacks, durations and dynamics, and between more emphatic sound and interstitial pools of silence in which only a few background noises or the quiet panting of her breath are to be heard. On "dos dies and objectes", however, her approach to rhythm is noticeably less radical than the other dimensions of her playing, and the improvisations frequently become trapped within reiterated pulses, ensuring that, despite the small fluctuations within her rough meters, flexibility is reduced and uniformity aggravated. In a musical and social world awash with repetition, the loss of free rhythms for extended periods is something to be regretted, but this remains an intriguing and challenging release that should be of interest to admirers of the adept use of extended techniques in improvisation. Wayne Spencer (Paris Transatlantic)

About a year ago, I first reviewed a Creative Sources disc for Dusted and noted that improvised music would be nothing without local scenes and the labels dedicated to documenting them. That’s still true. But when people start to take notice, the next level is the formation of links with other scenes. The Lisbon-based label – run by Ernesto Rodrigues, an excellent improviser who plays on some of the label’s releases – has made that next step. Along with labels like Erstwhile, For4Ears, Confront, Meniscus, and Potlatch, this imprint is documenting some of the finest “lowercase” improvisation around and has become a label with a strong track record and a global focus. Their release schedule has really picked up of late too. In fact, they’ve just dropped a quintet of recordings featuring a fairly broad array of European improvisers. Many readers won’t be too familiar with the majority of the players. That deserves to change.
Trumpeter Ruth Barberán was on one of my favorite releases of 2004, a Rossbin disc entitled Atolón. It’s hard to listen to her first solo disc, Capacidad de Pérdida, without thinking of recent solo entries by the likes of Greg Kelley, Axel Dörner, and Franz Hautzinger, who together have labored to create what might meaningfully be called post-Bill Dixon trumpet, consisting of resolutely non-idiomatic gestures like smears, walls of metallic squealing, chortles, and farts. There are four tracks here – three recorded at the trumpeter’s home and one live in Barcelona – that total just about 35 minutes. The title track is strongly reminiscent – in its focus on sucking sounds, great washes of noise, and unexpected dynamic dropoffs – of Kelley’s If I Never Meet You in This Life Let Me Feel the Lack. Best of all is the windy landscape of “dos dies,” where Barberán’s explorations of near-silence are quite effective. Solo recordings are tough, of course, the two major dangers being the “notebook of techniques” trap (where one impresses with instrumental tricks while falling short of delivering memorable music) or the “narrative dearth” trap (basically the absence of compelling solo voice and, significantly, solo statement). You really hang yourself out there with a solo record, and in many ways Barberán falls prey to both pitfalls. Few of the techniques she explores – flushing water, hyperactive breathing, keening feedback – will seem conservative to anyone who listens, of course, and there is always the “how the hell does she do that with a trumpet?” sense (close mic recording helps). But many of them have been explored more effectively by other players elsewhere. Additionally, the material itself is slightly repetitive. Barberán is an excellent group player and her solo stuff should be listened to as well. It’s provocative, it’s interesting, it’s highly abstract. But her best solo work lies ahead.
[…] Taken as a whole, this quintet of discs is pretty satisfying. While some clearly work better than others, they give improv freaks some insight into what’s happening in some lesser-known European scenes. They also confirm the strength and identity of this excellent label. Jason Bivins (Dusted Magazine)

Nalezy przyznac, ze Capacidad de pérdida - debiut Ruth Barberán w roli solistki - nie zaskakuje ani in plus, ani in minus, otrzymujemy bowiem wlasciwie wszystko to, czego moglismy sie spodziewac, znajac chociazby plyty Atolón oraz Ura, do powstania których Barberán przylozyla swoja trabke.
Artystka, podazajac sladami Grega Kelleya, Axela Dörnera i innych innowatorów tegoz instrumentu, skupia sie na eksplorowaniu jego "ciemnej strony", tj. wszelkiego rodzaju szmerów, szumów i innych zanieczyszczen.
Slychac, ze Barberán panuje nad instrumentem, tu nie ma przypadkowych dzwieków, wszystko jest poukladane i dopiete na ostatni guzik, utwory maja wyraznie zarysowana forme, jednak z drugiej strony brak tu jakiegos blysku, czegos, co sprawiloby, ze, po wysluchaniu, Capacidad de pérdida na dluzej zostaje w pamieci.
Wydaje mi sie, ze mozna sie zorientowac, ze trzy z czterech Wypelniajacych te, stosunkowo krótka, bo liczaca trzydziesci piec minut, plyte, nagran Barberán zarejestrowala w domu. Wieksza czesc pierwszego utworu to odglosy, które zwykle towarzysza przetykaniu rury kanalizacyjnej za pomoca zmijki (choc wlasciwie pozbawiono nas okazji uslyszenia bulgotu towarzyszacego zwykle przeplywowi plynów), oprócz tego pojawia sie w nim troche szumów I swistów, troche cmokniec i szmerów, ulozonych w ciekawie rozwijajace sie sekwencje. Na drugi skladaja sie: para buchajacej z czajnika, cichy szum odkurzacza oraz odglos przedmuchiwania rury, która nieuwaznie zassano nieco lepka skarpete. Utwór trzeci nagrano na zewnatrz, bodajze podczas koncertu, mamy wiec okazje uslyszec nieco odmienne dzwieki, wiecej tu szorstkiego szurania (chyba najpierw podeszw o trotuarze, potem ciagniecia po posadzce czegos, niezbyt ciezkiego, ale niewygodnego do utrzymania, a wreszcie ostrzenia kosy na oselce). Utwór czwarty to powrót do domu i jego intymnej atmosfery; delikatne bulgoty i ciche szmery zwykle towarzysza zapadajacym w sen mieszkancom starych domostw.
Niewatpliwie Capacidad de pérdida znajdzie swoich amatorów - szczególnie Z powodu plastycznosci i sugestywnosci brzmien oraz nastroju intymnosci, jaki Barberán udalo sie wykreowac, jednak nie jest to plyta, do sluchania, której chcialoby sie czesto wracac. Prawda jest tez to, ze wlasciwie nie zawiera niczego, co zapamietac mozna na dluzej. Tadeusz Kosiek (

Os microtonalistas da improvisação estão mesmo a inventar um novo léxico, e isso é particularmente evidente no caso dos sopradores. Se os primeiros a fazê-lo com algum relevo terão sido Axel Dörner e Franz Hautzinger, ambos desenvolvendo paralelamente, no entanto, uma actividade musical com técnicas mais convencionais em contextos bem menos interessantes esteticamente, o primeiro na área do neo-free jazz e Hautzinger numa fusão excessivamente devedora ao Miles Davis dos últimos anos, depressa, no entanto, outros surgiram, e com outros instrumentos, primeiro com o sax soprano, depois alargando a mais variantes da família dos saxofones, aos clarinetes e ao trombone, com a particularidade de tudo investirem neste tipo de prática: Ruth Barberán é disso bom exemplo. O corte radical com a escala, a nota musical ou a própria musicalidade, pelo menos no sentido tradicional (senão mesmo literalmente, nalguns casos), a opção pelo trabalho textural e pelo primado do som, levando à exploração das possibilidades periféricas de sonorização (sopro, respiração, amplificação do manejo das chaves, por exemplo), são características comuns. Podemos até achar que as técnicas introduzidas são algo limitadas em número e alternância, mas a verdade é que, em vez de apostarem na variedade, procuram aprofundar as abordagens escolhidas. É verdade que, neste domínio, não é fácil distinguir a identidade pessoal do trompete de Barberán da de um Mazen Kerbaj. É por isso que não podemos distinguir as incursões minimais (que não minimalistas, atenção) de Barberán dos burburismos microscópicos dos já referidos Dörner e Hautzinger. John Cage teria gostado desta metamorfose da música feita por intuição. Rui Eduardo Paes (JL)

L’etichetta portoghese Creative Sources sta attraversando un momento particolarmente felice, lo testimoniano le numerose pubblicazioni di recente data, quasi tutte su ottimi livelli qualitativi. Ecco qua, dopo “Pocket Progressive” del trio fhievel, Sigurtà & Rocchetti già recensito su queste pagine, tre nuovi lavori in grado di soddisfare gli appassionati.
Il nostro breve excursus s’inaugura con “Capacidad de Pérdida”, opera prima della giovane trombettista iberica Ruth Barberán. Un lavoro che mostra quanto il suono della vecchia cornetta abbia sviluppato un linguaggio crudo, ‘interiore’ più che ‘esteriore’, in grado di catapultarci in quel vorticoso giro che, partendo dagli anni ‘90, ha attuato la rivoluzione sonora in direzione di questo preciso strumento: Axel Dörner, Greg Kelley, Franz Hautzinger, Sabine Ercklentz… La brillante verve compositiva e la fresca scioltezza con cui Ruth costruisce le improvvisazioni si (ri)appropriano di spunti che conducono ai nomi sopra citati ma, con la sua personalità, arricchisce ed esalta sia i toni esasperati di un sound ‘sgraziato’ sia la (totale) spersonalizzazione dello strumento da ogni forma auditiva abituale. Ciò si semplifica nell’esaminare e constatare il ’growing’ circolare inflitto dal respiro, con perizia, al brano d’apertura, i silenti fruscii (soffi) che, crescendo di volume, sono di continuo intramezzati da stacchi di solo silenzio in Dos dies, le voragini di rumore, di metallo sfregato, grattato, percosso e triturato che scorrono nelle ‘vene corrose’ della ‘devastante’ Objectes e le acute calate negli (intestini) interni di Lo contrario de pérdida de capacidad, con un cantato contorto e ’tremendamente’ intimista. Nessun trattamento elettronico prima, durante e dopo l’incisione delle sessions, il suono che ne deriva, credetemi, è autenticamente acustico.
[…] Tre dischi dal mood introspettivo che, esclusa qualche riserva per il mazzacanoso “A cavall entre dos cavalls”, convincono appieno e fanno ben sperare per la prossima sfornata della Creative Sources… che già incombe sulle nostre scrivanie. Sergio Eletto (Sands-Zine)

Breath control, valve-blocking, and twisting plus sound extensions using acoustical or electrical timbres distinguish this recent European release, part of the move by brass player to attain the creative freedom improvisational reedists have enjoyed for many years. Limited by the number of valves extant on the trumpet, compared to the keys of a saxophone or clarinet that is, ingenious stratagems are used to extend and amplify the instruments’ natural range and pitches.
[…] Meanwhile, Dörner’s example has encouraged other trumpeters in Europe, Asia, and North America to try out similar minimalist, non-narrative strategies, One of them is Barcelona-based Ruth Barberán, part of the IBA collective and usually found playing in groups with accordionist Alfredo Costa Monteiro and mixing board manipulator Ferran Fages. A novella compared to most CDs’ potboiler length, Capcidad de pérdida (Creative Sources) is a slightly more than 35-minute peek into her sound world.
[…] Packaged in a booklet featuring the least visually friendly lettering possible—white on a washed out puce background—Barberán’s four improvisations are harsher and more violent than other solo trumpet excursions. Timbres can be reconstructed to replicate fingernails scratching on a balloon, ratcheting pressure against metal, and include tongue-slaps that resemble a car motor turning over on a cold morning. Occasionally a swell of ghostly squeals and quivering vibrating nodes slices through the silences with a vicious force that makes it appear as if she’s turning the trumpet inside out. “Lo contrario de pérdida de capacidad” adds to the bestial comparisons with hollow tube blows taking on budgie-like trills, and extended mouse squeaks and valve manipulation sounding like galloping hoof beats.
However, the CD’s polyphonic tour de force appears with “Objectes”. True to its title, the track is almost eleven minutes of cascading air expiration plus scraping and crashing metal-like clangs. Varying the pitch, forced breaths sound as if they’re being crushed against an unyielding substance, with articulated slurs being altered in the throat before being forced through the lead tube, creating vibrations that could come from a drum stick being scraped across a ride cymbal. Using her hand to tap the valves for rhythm, Barberán’s also able to construct double counterpoint—panting a repetitious, near braying slur. Eventually what sounds like chaos in the cutlery drawer fades into counterpoint extensions from nose and mouth breaths.
[…] With this tonal innovations affecting more and more brass instruments, this CD prove that in certain parts of Europe, the future is now. Ken Waxman (One Final Note)

J'avoue beaucoup de perplexité mêlée d'ennui devant le disque de Ruth Barberán. Ces souffles, grognements, glouglous, ces échos, ces bruits de lèvres et de tuyauterie ensalivée, j'ai le sentiment de les avoir souvent entendus tels qu'ils sont ici. C'est faux, bien sûr, mais ce que j'ai entendu me préparait de telle manière que toute surprise m'est ici impossible. Argument non valable: une bonne part de l'apprentissage d'un musicien consiste à apprendre à faire comme les autres. Mais ceci ne peut s'entendre qu'à ambitionner la maîtrise de l'instrument dans toutes ses potentialités culturellement acceptables (ce que faisaient entendre les musiciennes du disque précédent). En se cantonnant dans une province étroite du royaume de la trompette, Ruth Barberán me semble passer avec son auditeur le contrat tacite de la trouvaille, que je ne trouve pas ici. Gageons que d'autres ont su entendre ce qui m'échappe pour que ce disque se retrouve en minimaliste mais brillante compagnie sur son label. Noël Tachet (Improjazz)