Definitive Bucolic cs745









Next from Ernesto Rodrigues & Creative Sources, not pre-pandemic material at all, but recorded (over two days) only last month, is then the four-track trio album (of classic LP length) Definitive Bucolic: Rodrigues is joined once again by Bruno Parrinha, now on saxophones instead of clarinets, pace the extended entry here from May (which is seemingly quite recent, but also from before Definitive Bucolic was recorded...), as well as by "Flak" on electric guitar. And I'd been unfamiliar with the latter, but did already hear his recent Shhpuma album Magpie Live (without knowing that Definitive Bucolic was coming...), a release that projects more of a "pop" vibe at times (specifically embracing funk) — but also an overall symphonic feel, as well as questions of pulse... involving prominent players from the Portuguese free jazz scene (including Guilherme Rodrigues). So Magpie Live had its intriguing aspects, but also wasn't really my thing, i.e. came off rather "produced" & maybe a little saccharine. And I hadn't really noticed, but Flak appeared already with Ernesto Rodrigues, e.g. as part of Diceros on Urze (as introduced here in a rambling discussion from August 2018...), and Definitive Bucolic (correspondingly) adopts a more austere "acoustic" free improvisation mode, and indeed a naturalistic stance. That's not to say that an "ea" component is absent, but various electronic shakes & slow echoes can actually be rather subtle, more wave-like in propagation, contributing to or even prompting the generally impressionistic setting. I might compare e.g. to the extended ea-tapestries of (CS release) Compassion & Evidence, including its feelings of temporal extension & even spinning or floating: The latter album involves more in the way of sampling, but perhaps also suggests something of a "hinge" with the quartet on The Inflatable Leviathan from the previous entry.... Compassion & Evidence involves players from the pop world as well, and also a (very distended) sense of that world — perhaps to be found reflected in the rather more stark Traintracks... too, i.e. another trio album with electric guitar from Rodrigues' output, and one for which the feeling of a sometimes-similar sound is buoyed by the timbral indeterminacy that continues to be cultivated here between viola & sax.... However, Traintracks... projects a feeling of desolation (with particular quasi-Cageian tensions...), while Definitive Bucolic suggests a considerably more hopeful (or more human) orientation: There's a three-way pointillist vibe to open (rather than easing quietly per some Rodrigues tapestries...), but a sense of stillness is cultivated as well, including through extending tones, the music becoming quite minimal at times, ultimately leaving such a sense of stillness to resound at its end.... So there's more of a polyphony at times (e.g. recalling the also-recent Chiaroscuro, with its more classical evocations...), but also an almost folksy sense of simple tunes being revealed, albeit rearranged temporally: There's a sort of cyclical or self-referential temporal scheme at work on Definitive Bucolic then (not so unlike Braxton's Ghost Trance Music...), a sense of linearization & extension of the material (counter e.g. the coiled turbulence of Setúbal...), longer lines inflected by coloristic effects & recurrences, a journey through mood but not space.... We're left right where we are, per the title, after a kind of symphonic articulation of ephemeral, rustic moments. Time hence seems both to fold in upon itself, and to open to those moments, to linger & (quasi-infinitely) recur.... (Perhaps there's even an analogy to be made here with spectral music, in terms of the latter's "shift" of pitch, whether closer or farther, along the overtone spectrum: Temporal orientations here seem to undergo similar shifts in articulation, i.e. interrogate e.g. the question of how moments can simultaneously seem both fleeting & infinite.... One might thus inquire not only around pitch or tone segmentation, but regarding nonlinear segmentation of time per se.) The naturalistic stance — humanity as situated — then yields to a sort of folksy quality (or pop hook, one might even say), the actual material here not really seeming adequate to the form (i.e. the moment). It thus becomes unmasked itself, homely (or at home), while revealing the broader moment (of exemplarity itself as always already becoming inadequate). The result is then a kind of ease, even ultimately feelings of rhetorical coolness. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

One of my favorites in the set is "Definitive Bucolic", a trio with my beloved Bruno Parrinha and Flak, adding progressive rock-like touch, somewhat similar to what Terrie Ex or Thurston Moore do. Interestingly, Bruno uses here soprano and alto, instead of bass clarinet, and that is another very interesting and rare aspect of this album, which is extremely lyrical, and yet expressive.
They play a suite in four movements: my favorites are "I", lasting nearly 13 minutes, and the final "IV", short, but very touching. Bruno's soprano sound remind me of Evan Parker, yet it is completely original and in this sense novel. Another masterpiece from Creative Sources! Maciej Lewenstein