Theia cs520









As noted above, Theia is an album that I had expected to enjoy, with legendary violinist Carlos Zingaro joining the Lisbon String Trio for the eighth of what is so far a series of a nine albums, again recorded live (in Lisbon this March). (Expectations are always dangerous, but they seem to have worked out in this case....) I don't know if Zingaro has performed together with Ernesto Rodrigues in the past, but this is the first document, as far as I know, and with a title evoking Titanic collision: Theia is anything but an album of polarity & broad epic sweep, however, as it's often "moving in so many directions at once that it involves a sort of hide & seek for the listener," per the earlier remarks. Zingaro's participation suggests a direct comparison with Chant, another (relatively recent) album featuring the "jazz string quartet," but with (classical) marimba as well: Chant often adopts a rather classical mood, and indeed does develop something of a "sweep" at times, as counterpoint builds continuity & even lushness. (Chant has suggested for me a polarity between naturalistic sounds & their mediations and the industrial-technological world of modernity & indeed musical instruments. It comes to sound more distinctly classical, even biographical, over time.) Whereas both Chant & Theia could be said to revolve around viola players, Cròniques 5: Ao vivo! is another recent (recorded in Portugal last October) album to note, albeit short: Cròniques takes us back to Discordian Records of Barcelona — per my comments on Inner Core last week — and Ao vivo! is apparently the climax of a series by tenor sax player Albert Cirera — mentioned here in January around Agustí Fernández & The Liquid Trio Plays Bernoulli — a quintet album coming after a series of four duo outings with each of the other participants. Not only does the latter group include Zingaro, but bassist Alvaro Rosso of Lisbon String Trio as well, plus Ulrich Mitzlaff (cellist on Chant) & Olle Vikström (with whom I was not previously familiar) on baritone sax. Ao vivo! has some fine moments, and suggests a "gathering of forces" in a style that's become associated with Barcelona, developing a herky-jerky composite rhythmic ostinato or groove. Meanwhile, Theia moves in many directions at once, both within & between its six well-defined tracks, not so much suggesting aimlessness as an intense web of precise & growing connections via harmonics, double stops, interpolations, etc. It's not so much a matter of pace, as that's relatively moderate, but the contrapuntal branching & sense of relation is relentless, quickly filling the mind: In this, it recalls for me not the Boulez of Répons, per the previous entry, but of Dérive 2 — my favorite of his late works, employing only a string trio (i.e. no bass) among its eleven conventional instruments (without electronics, etc.). Dérive 2 also fills the mind quickly with its branching relations, and requires sharp concentration on its close interactions. Theia, likewise, almost seems to be more active the more one attends to it, in keeping with its relentless tracing of connections. (It can seem very potent, even spicy, and yet withdraws or hides without much attention, not so unlike Sîn — although I don't believe that anyone would characterize Theia as ambient.) Theia might even be said to track some of the same naturalistic-technological duality as Chant, although with its own flair, as the connectedness of humanity per se to anything & everything else becomes increasingly apparent (and, in this case, is criss-crossed by an even broader variety of relations). Does this "everything else" include "outer space?" In contrast to some of my preferences (especially as articulated, perhaps overly strongly, in my response to Autres Paysages — also from João Camões of Chant, as it happens), Theia undertakes a relation with "space" not by evoking previous traditions of "spacey music" or even imagery of NASA & technological space exploration/exploitation, but via a mythological "Clash of the Titans" & even suggestions of originary planetary collision. (Theia was chosen as the Titan to name a hypothetical planetary body posited as involved in creating our moon via celestial collision.) (Coluro likewise invokes the planetary, although perhaps not "space" per se, in a precise yet non-astronaut centered mode. One might even say that it decenters the human more generally, or perhaps even recenters it.) And these are all real human ideas, of one sort or another, such that we are all somehow enmeshed in this multifaceted web, from primordial planetary motion to classical string technique & evocations of the broader sonic environment.... Moreover, the intricacy of Theia makes it difficult or even impossible to pull away from these connections, to gain a (desired?) perspective of distance, i.e. of non-involvement: It thwarts illusions of mastery from within its embedded relationality, and often does so rather starkly. (That was a comment about life in general, right? It might also apply to Geometry of Caves....) Stability & insight are infrequent within such a space, but they do sometimes pool, however briefly, in eddies.... 23 July 2018. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts


A contrabaixista Joelle Léandre fez uma afirmação, numa entrevista publicada há uns anos, que, apesar da sua importância, não provocou a discussão que deveria ter suscitado: a de que se sentia uma herdeira do romantismo musical do século XIX. É importante porque incide sobre a natureza da própria música improvisada (a da “old school”, porque a improvisação reducionista rege-se por coordenadas totalmente distintas) e do que esta deve ao antecedente free jazz, no preciso sentido em que ambas as tendências têm sido equiparadas com o expressionismo abstracto das artes plásticas. Por decorrência, faz-nos pensar também sobre os possíveis alinhamentos entre o bebop e o impressionismo, bem exemplificados pela paixão que Charlie Parker tinha por Stravinsky. Ora, expressionismo e impressionismo são como que as duas faces da influência romântica no século XX, o primeiro continuando o acento na emotividade e o segundo substituindo os excessos de sentimentalidade pela construção de atmosferas sugestivas.
Pois é romântica, e ora expressionista, ora impressionista (consoante os polos que dominam), a música que encontramos em “Theia”, o único disco que até à data documenta uma, a mais recente, das poucas parcerias realizadas ao longo do tempo entre o mestre violinista Carlos “Zíngaro” e Ernesto Rodrigues (viola). O violoncelo de Miguel Mira e o contrabaixo de Alvaro Rosso já antes tínhamos ouvido com “Zíngaro” em “House Full of Colors” (Mira) e “Day One” (Rosso), mas em nenhum desses casos encontrámos o violinista tão próximo do seu universo pessoal como neste disco inspirado pela deusa grega da visão e da luz. Nele ouvimos referências ao baluarte do violinismo romântico, Paganini, a um descendente do romântico Mahler, Shostakovich, e ainda a alguém que descolou o seu estilo folclorístico do romantismo, Bartok, numa reconciliação de Carlos “Zíngaro” com a sua formação erudita. Ou seja, este será o mais “clássico” e camerístico dos títulos da série protagonizada pelo Lisbon String Trio e é igualmente um dos mais gratificantes de ouvir. Rui Eduardo Paes (

Adding a fourth string to the collaborations of Portugal's Lisbon String Trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Mira on cello, and Alvaro Rosso on contrabass, Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro adds an additional level of delicately complex interplay to the trio's exceptional free improvisation, as they pay tribute to the Greek goddess of light and extent. (Squidco)