To conspire and to fulminate. What an interesting title for this cooperative effort between violist Ernesto Rodrigues, cellist Guilherme Rodrigues, saxophonist Nuno Torres and multi-reedist Udo Schindler. All have been über-productive over the last few years, including on the Creative Sources label, on which Schindler alone has over a dozen releases, Torres at least twice as many, and both the elder and younger Rodrigues innumerable. Schindler and the Rodrigues's have collaborated before, as has Torres with the later. Conspiratorial and fulminate things happen, however, seems to be Schindler and Torres' first meeting on record.
The conspiratorial in this may be obvious. There is cooperation, sometimes hushed interactions, whispered secrets, cryptic sonic note exchanges, or, one can imagine, glances passed among the musicians to nudge the quartet in one direction or another. There is something playful about this, but also serious, and, in that overlap, even sinister. The fulmination, however, is less obvious. Much of this sounds like the point before the rupture, the eerie calm of the storm, the consolidation of potential energy rather than the eruption. In another sense, this may be some sort of impassioned protest, passion would then require reimagining as something less obvious, a subtly flickering rather than a devouring flame. Then again, as the final part — disjointed by the strange grammar — indicates, things can just happen, planned or not, fervent or not, but always, at least in the moment, with keen intention.
Conspiratorial consists of two discs. The first, Fulminate things happen...in space, was recorded live at BASIS_SoundSpace at the Munich Center of Community Arts (MUCCA), which is apparently becoming a hub for experimental music. The second, Conspiratorial things happen in the Kommandozentrale, was recorded in the former electrical command center of Munich, now incorporated into MUCCA, as well. The titles of the cuts on this second disc were taken from an assortment of Allen Ginsberg poems, including a true gem of his later works, Cosmopolitan Greetings.
There are differences between the two discs, and some of them come down to energy. Both performances were charged, but that charge manifested at slightly different intensities, albeit through similar musical vocabularies. That, of course, is characteristic of many of these Creative Sources projects. The focus is on the suspension, the subtle changes, the oddities of those glimmering moments, that lone, aching string seemingly worn down to a thread, a contorted saxophone tone that torqued to the brink of shattering. These two performances have all one might expect: rusty-hinge squeaks, fricatives, gurgles and flutters, sharp tears, dolloped layers, the unpredictable protean combinations. The musicians seem to be chiseling the air itself through their instruments in the pursuit of new textures, combinations, and patterns abandoned as quickly as they are uncovered. In short, fulmination or not, this is sonic sculpture at its best.
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