With members of IKB, Variable Geometry Orchestra, and LIO, the free improvising/chamber quartet of Ernesto Rodriguge (viola), Bernardo Alvares (bass), Roland Ramana (trumpet), and Nuno Torres (sax), were captured live at Estrela for an intense and introspective concert.
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Label: Creative Sources
Catalog ID: cs362
Squidco Product Code: 22067
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at Estrela, in Lisbon, Portugal. on March 31st, 2016 by Carlos Santos.
Nuno Torres-alto saxophone
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1. I 22:46
2. II 13:01
3. III 12:16
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
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"All that said, I've particularly enjoyed the recent improvised quartet album New Dynamics by Roland Ramanan, Nuno Torres, Ernesto Rodrigues, & Bernardo Álvares. An obvious point of comparison for this album is last year's Nor, considering that it shares two of the musicians & uses the same set of instruments. (Both albums also have three medium-length tracks.) Indeed, I had trouble finding precedents for these two-wind & two-string quartets, although one wouldn't say that such an ensemble seems radical. It would be equally wrong to say that the instrumental constitution creates a certain mood, as well, since the moods are rather different on these albums. There is, however, as one might imagine, a distinct "chamber" quality, even if extended technique is common.
So whereas Nor includes Berlin improvisers Axel Dörner & Alexander Frangenheim, New Dynamics instead includes Roland Ramanan & Bernardo Álvares. (It would be wrong to call them substitutes. It is, dare I say it, a new dynamic.) Álvares was totally unknown to me, and I didn't find any substantial information about him online; I assume that he is Portuguese. I did have some familiarity with Ramanan, a longtime member of the London Improvisers Orchestra, from his album Zubeneschamali, released on Leo Records (about which some similar things could be said, especially that Leo releases many appealing albums) in 2014, with Tom Jackson & Daniel Thompson from the trio on Hunt at the Brook. I thought that Ramanan's trumpet kind of dominated that album, which along with e.g. Compost by another related ensemble, explores the acoustic space of a church:
There is a sense of finding separate spaces for the members of the trio that also informs the quartet on New Dynamics, even if its space isn't contextualized by architecture per se. (How such a notion relates to the fake "spray" amid empty/monolithic architecture on the cover graphic, I don't know, but it does seem vaguely related.) Individual instruments are generally more discernible than on many albums on which Rodrigues participates, and so one might speak more of counterpoint on New Dynamics than of notions such as the soundscape. There is also a more concrete sense of presence & projection than on Nor, which focuses more on immanent emergence: Indeed, the latter, perhaps in keeping with its partial Berlin roots, has almost an ascetic or severe quality (one might even say Nietzschean), including some higher pitches & harmonics, more percussive attacks, etc. (The trumpet "calls," in the sense used in the discussion of Neutral Nation in this space earlier this month, remain immanent to an emerging landscape, rather than actually emerging or transcending.)
New Dynamics thus comes off as more human (dialogic, even) & worldly than environmental, and one might ask what new sorts of dynamics emerge. Different instruments suggest their own different temporalities: By this, I mean generally speaking that the way one interacts with a particular instrument, the way it interfaces with the body, the way it resonates, has a particular temporality or time-scale. One can play slower or faster, but within limits, and there are temporal regions that "fit" the instrument better than others.
One could further say that these sorts of relations are often explored in soundscape-type ensembles, but without necessarily seeking a common temporality by which to articulate a counterpoint. (In other words, there must be some temporal relation or correspondence in order to have counterpoint.) New Dynamics does this in a rather human way, including dodecaphony, while still respecting the differing temporal dynamics of the instruments - which, helpfully, are not all that different in the first place. (In this seeming "human" emphasis, then, it differs from e.g. Sediment, a quartet album that otherwise maintains a similarly resolute acoustic stance & pace of interaction.)
So a new language of improvised, contrapuntal quartet interaction? That's compelling. (And just how contingent was my hearing of this album in the first place? I cannot really say.)"-Todd McComb, Medieval.org
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• Show Bio for Nuno Torres
"Studied alto saxophone within a jazz tradition spectrum. His continuous solo experimental research explores a wide scope of sound material through the use of the extended technics. Participates in several ensembles of improvisational music, electro acoustics and reductionism. Collaborates with musicians such as, Ernesto Rodrigues, Ricardo Jacinto, Sei Miguel, Fala Mariam, João Castro Pinto, Rafael Toral, Manuel Mota, David Stackenäs, Travassos, Paulo Raposo, Carlos Santos, Shiori Usui, C. Spencer Yeh, Cyril Bondi and d'incise, and developed projects as CACTO and PinkDraft, In the recent years has been also collaborating in several different projects at the intersection of the performative areas of dance, theatre and the visual arts (PARQUE, Les Voisins, Eye Height, Adriana Sá, Beatriz Cantinho). Participates and curates experimental and community radio initiatives."-Creative Sources (http://creativesourcesrec.com/artists/n_torres.html)
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• Show Bio for Ernesto Rodrigues
"He has been playing the violin for 30 years and in that time has played all genres of music ranging from contemporary music to free jazz and improvised music, live and in the studio.
His main interest shifted towards contemporary improvised and composed music.
The relationship with his instruments is focused in sonic and textural elements.
Electronic music was an early influence on his approach to violin playing, which challenges traditional romantic concepts of the violin/viola through use of preparations and micro tuning.
Active in different settings on the Portuguese scene for free improvised music, both as a collaborator and in leading his own groups.
Music for Dance, Cinema, Video and Performance.
Has created the record label Creative Sources Recordings in 1999, which mainly concentrates on releasing experimental and electro-acoustic music."-Creative Sources (http://creativesourcesrec.com/creative_artists.html)
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