Echoing the Chorus of Life cs812









I'd added some thoughts in November here about a newly documented collaboration between Ernesto Rodrigues, incredibly prolific as well, and flautist Carlos Bechegas: Secrets Under Trees (also with Guilherme Rodrigues), recorded last June, was noted in the longer review of Bechegas for (another trio album with string players in Portugal) Open in Finder. And the two have promptly returned — after what had earlier been a long absence from recording for Bechegas... — with Echoing the Chorus of Life (recorded in Lisbon in January, so the first 2024 recording that I'm noting here...), alongside Carlos Santos on electronics. The latter has been a frequent collaborator for Rodrigues — first mentioned here with Surfaces in September 2015 (paralleling the first mention of João Madeira, as it happens...), an album including Nuno Torres on alto sax as well, the latter joining Rodrigues & Santos for another new trio album, Impulses and Signals (recorded in 2023, but) unusually delayed in its release.... Anyway, given the particular participation of Santos, whose tendency in these collaborations is to stay in the background, quiet electronics delicately twisting overtone spectra, against which the more assertive players articulate, the one-movement outing suggests almost the intimacy of a duo.... (The approach might thus be compared e.g. to Anthony Braxton & his SuperCollider electronics, i.e. with a musician on either side of the "curtain," but per a more linear arrangement there, pace the twisting & folding tapestries of Rodrigues et al. It's also been unclear what tech Santos actually uses.) In that sense, Echoing the Chorus of Life can also be heard as something of a development of Stratus, a septet album also (subtly) featuring Santos — & first reviewed here in January 2019 — alongside a range of colorfully fusing & airy wind & string timbres. Echoing the Chorus of Life is then a more pared down or focused interaction, a single arc that takes in considerable territory from insects & birds to both underwater & airy (or even outer...) spaciousness (all generally being naturalistic evocations, of course...), developing particularly well-fused & distinctive timbral combos between flute & viola — as inflected by Santos throughout, who does also come to the fore at times. A delicate (even windswept...) sense of wave motion is then often in play (pace various Rodrigues examples...). And the focus does lead to some thinner sections, but the arc of the single track's momentum is also continually recontextualizing each successive tone & (micro)interval. Intensity can thus seem low in some (immediate) moments, substituted for a generalized sense of suspension, i.e. underlying feelings of scope & mystery. (Santos is becoming more sophisticated in his musical contributions, but I can't say that I enjoy his graphics as much here, red frame with white script lettering....) So Echoing the Chorus of Life does present a welcome development & concentration of prior results, while also seeming to herald yet more from Bechegas.... Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts