Three tracks of acoustic improv from an understated string quartet that uses extended techniques and the whole of their instruments to make unusual and rewarding music.
Rodrigues / Davidson / Rodrigues / Faustino
Label: Creative Sources
Released in: Portugal
"Split into three tracks, Fower is a bit of a bumpy ride, not exactly easy listening. All of the musicians seem to grind and scrape at their instruments rather than stroke and caress them. The instruments sound as if they have been recorded up close and so everything sits in the foreground of the recording, the four musicians nudging and shoving each other's sounds around in the search for space, the music formed from this interactive game. The first piece on Fower, named "Heuch", and lasting some twenty-two minutes is a gritty, dry affair with a serrated edge. While it is always clear that we are listening to four wooden boxes with strings stretched across them, it is quite difficult to pin down sounds to particular musicians. There is little silence, and what we hear is a constantly changing series of tight musical forms made up of the musicians' muscular, jagged inputs. While it isn't particularly loud (its certainly not quiet either) and the sounds are maybe not as harsh as can be heard elsewhere, there is a certain aridity to the music. Like a photoshopped picture with the contrast turned right up very sound is firmly stated, and the music feels like it is has been scratched directly into the surface of the CD, such is the immediacy of the music. Mostly the instruments seem to be played with bows, but they do not all sound traditionally tuned, and their body seems to be played as often as the strings, the closely miked recording amplifying the slightest scratch and scrape into something bigger. While the four musicians are very much in tune with one another, and they merge together easily into the one writhing mass of dry sound it is hard to pick out particular voices in the music, with perhaps only Davidson's guitar easy to identify in places.
The second track named "Haugh" clocks in at half the length of the first, and at just over five minutes the final "Hume" is half as long again. This last piece is perhaps the quietest of the trio, still utilising similar sounds but with a little more air in the music and a more delicate sense of structure. While the first two tracks barge their way out of the speaker and roll about the floor fighting, "Hume" sounds like a more considered affair, still full of twists and turns, but with a more composed feel. Overall Fower is a tough listen, something that needs to be engaged with fully as a listener to take anything from it. Closing your eyes and really getting to grips with the music, almost literally wrestling with its sinewy vigour reaps rewards however. The interplay between the quartet is excellent, and only under close scrutiny is this completely apparent, as picking apart Fower's vibrating, grinding structures reveals how well these four musicians are listening to, and anticipating each other's moves. Fower takes some work, but spend time with it and it pays you back with interest. This isn't an album that will appear in anyone's end of year lists, and won't get many mentions in the hip and trendy corners of the internet, but its one that fans of good, robust and detailed improvised music should pay attention to."-Richard Pinnell
• Show Bio for Hernani Faustino
"After establishing his name during the Eighties as an electric bass guitarist in alternative rock bands, like the now legendary K4 Quadrado Azul, Hernani Faustino turned to avant-jazz and free improvised music and chose the double bass as his self-taught instrument. Two decades later of multiple interactions with Portuguese and international musicians, he's now considered one of the most intense and solid bassists in the Portuguese scene. The association he maintains with drummer Gabriel Ferrandini (RED trio, Nobuyasu Furuya Trio & Quintet, Rodrigo Amado Wire Quartet) has been pointed as a dynamic and powerful rhythm section. His visceral playing is well showed by the contortions of his face during a performance: he goes to the limits of pleasure and pain.
Music is his life: besides being a musician, he was one of the members of the label Clean Feed, considered one of the five more important on the planet in what regards jazz, and the Trem Azul Jazz Store, located in Lisbon. He also composed for theatre, produced radio programs, and wrote about music in a couple of magazines. A good part of his activity in photography is also music oriented: Faustino is one of the most accomplished stage photographers around. This says all about his passion and commitment.
Hernani Faustino's numerous meetings and collaborations with other improvisors is astonishing: John Butcher, Lotte Anker, Nate Wooley, Carlos "Zíngaro", Agustí Fernández, Sei Miguel, Rafael Toral, Jason Stein, Nuno Rebelo, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Gabriel Ferrandini, Pedro Sousa, Rodrigo Amado, Albert Cirera, Manuel Mota, Luís Lopes, Jon Irabagon, Taylor Ho Bynum, Gerard Lebik, Piotr Damasiewicz, Harris Eisenstadt, Neil Davidson, Heddy Boubaker, Gerard Lebik, Elliott Levin, Katsura Yamauchi, Mats Gustafsson, Chris Corsano, Nikolaus Gerszewski, Rob Mazurek, Reinhold Friedl, Ernesto Rodrigues, José Oliveira, Helena Espvall, Nuno Torres, Ricardo Jacinto, Blaise Siwula, Virginia Genta, Elliott Levin, Daniel Carter, Federico Ughi, Floros Floridis, Matt Bauder, Dennis González, Vítor Rua, and many more, covering a wide range from free bop to extreme experimentation, going through electroacoustic improv, reductionism and noise."-Hernani Faustino Website, Rui Eduardo Paes (http://www.hernanifaustino.com/bio/)
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European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
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Label: Creative Sources
Catalog ID: CS161
Squidco Product Code: 12175
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded by Diogo Tavares at Tcha3 on November 18, 2007.
Neil Davidson-acoustic guitar
Hernani Faustino-double bass
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1. heuch 24:42
2. haugh 11:00
3. hume 5:10