Recorded live at Lisbon's CreativeFest XII in 2018, Sur nos pas dans la clarté du jour ("On our footsteps in the light of day") features one of Creative Sources' core working groups of Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), and Carlos Santos (electronics) joined by the French bassist Fred Marty.
Even at first spin, it was apparent that Sur nos pas dans la clarté du jour is a standout release. It is not genre-defining, or even a big departure from what the seasoned listener might expect. It is, however, powerful in its simplicity and, compared to some of Ernesto and Guilherme's earlier projects, sounds comparatively full. Some of this depth clearly lies in Marty's sympatico bass-work. Much also lies in Santos, who lays the foundation on which the strings ache and hum. The dialog generates a conscientious dynamism and implied melodicism that many similarly lowercase experiments lack. The group also possesses a remarkable singlemindedness. The pieces sound less live improvisation and more composition, though I doubt the latter played a great role. They also have surprisingly convincing resolutions. These musicians are all veterans of the European (predominantly Lisbon and Berlin) improvised scenes. They clearly know when to play and when to let their last note linger, when to play sotto voce and when to sing. They understand how to propel a piece without melody or chords and, just as importantly, they perceive when they have made their statement. And, they end it.
Sur nos pas dans la clarté du jour consists of a pithy two tracks, the first a 21-minute romp through an almost Bauhaus abstract functionality, the second a 5-minute improvisation wherein Santos gets to show how compelling electronic sparsity can really be. This album could be as fine an introduction to the Creative Sources aesthetic as any I have heard. For me, however, it was a familiar and persuasive welcome-back to Rodrigues and co.'s ever-progressive and ever-intriguing universe of sound.
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