Aeon cs768









Aeon — the most recent quartet album from Ernesto Rodrigues & Creative Sources, recorded late last month — presents a contrasting followup to Definitive Bucolic, a trio album (also recorded in 2022) reviewed here in July: The quartet adds Guilherme Rodrigues on cello to the previous three musicians, who all change instruments: Flak switches to acoustic guitar for Aeon, Bruno Parrinha is back on his more frequent bass clarinet (versus saxes), and Ernesto changes too (I guess to follow the switching theme), to violin. So it's obviously a more classical instrumentation, versus that (I'd already noted that) Definitive Bucolic can project something of a "pop vibe" (e.g. around electric guitar). Also I wrote about Definitive Bucolic because it yielded a distinct affective stance, while moreover noting its paradoxical sense of time, i.e. its "cyclical or self-referential temporal scheme." The latter notion is then explored further for Aeon, including as announced explicitly by the eight tracks (called "Chronicles") appearing out of numerical (& so recording?) order: These are apparently each intact acoustic tracks, so don't involve pop "cut up" technique in a "details" sense at all, although it's interesting to note that presenting tracks "out of production order" has become so common in this space (e.g. as in film production).... But the sense of contrast also does come off as intentional, the mysterious opening of strange clicks, twangs & rumblings — not so different from the sound world of Ekphrastic Discourse from the previous entry, including some unusual & recurring senses of quasi-vocal production as well... — yielding immediately in the next track to strongly contoured & aggressively expressed string figures. The result (of the full set) is ultimately temporal bewilderment — yet also bringing the mind a kind of "reset." I've thus found Aeon to produce a powerful wake, leaving me listening to silence for many minutes.... And the title (from Greek mythology) does contrast with Chronos, the "usual" sense of chronological time (reasserted differently by each chronicle...), whereas Aeon involves the emergence of "time" per se, i.e. the substance on which more mundane chronologies rest. (Note that Rodrigues had already released albums involving music presented out of order, or rearranged electronically according to e.g. cyclical symmetries, so this sort of temporal-sequential interrogation has a history in his output....) "Smallness" consequently opens to a sense of eternity. And one finds oneself asking what just happened.... So Aeon did make a more specific impression than a couple of other recent Rodrigues quartet albums, but ongoing studies of string textures are also appealing to me in general (& that Rodrigues produces so many of these can make it seem more exciting when they appear from elsewhere, although his work certainly remains among the most advanced... & of course the most prolific): Brecht, recorded in November with Dirk Serries & Nuno Torres joining the two Rodrigueses (with no Parrinha on either of these...), is generally taut & multidimensional, bringing an urban-frenetic quality, as well as some romance, to an intricate post-serial interaction (as Serries himself becomes increasingly central...). And before that, presenting even more as a sequence of studies (& absent horn, so via different ensemble shape...) was Chaos (recorded in September) with double bassist João Madeira & percussionist José Oliveira (the latter returning from e.g. Chiaroscuro — also only just recorded in 2022!). So all three (or four) quartet albums feature innovative textural passages, while Aeon also seems to project something ineffable about time & temporality. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts