Early Reflections |cs258









Early Reflections again features Ernesto Rodrigues and Ricardo Guerreiro, who are joined by Bertrand Gauguet on alto saxophone. Both of the release’s two long improvisations are abstract in the manner of the best abstract paintings, where form is a function of the relationships among colors. Through a series of plucked notes, key clicks, microtones, multiphonics and more, Rodrigues and Gauguet draw a rich range of timbres from their instruments, while Guerreiro’s electronics provide the canvas on which these colors are ranged. Together, the three juxtapose and overlap planes of sound, pushing and pulling at each other and allowing each piece to develop through shifts of density and dynamics.
With this recording, one can almost visualize the plasticity of sounds as they respond to each other across the surfaces of audio space. A rewarding listen individually and taken together. Daniel Barbiero (Avant Music News)

Rounding out this trio of releases is yet another trio, again with Rodrigues and Guerreiro on viola and computer but here including alto saxophonist Gauguet, two tracks, one studio and one live, from July, 2013. It's unfair, of course, to treat these three releases as a triptych of any sort yet the temptation is there. Whereas "Asteres Planetai", in a way, balanced on the edge of the Wandelweiserian, "Early Reflections" sems to consider the matter and then to resolutely opt for a fuller expression, one that, especially on the live track, "Stone", acknowledges its surroundings but fills them to the brim nonetheless, leaving scant space unoccupied. A good decision, I think, to really thrust one way or the other and it pays off in the stronger portions here, especially in the intertwining of the saxophone (harshly breathy) and the computer, which create a seriously scouring force at times, prodded along by harsh pluckings from Rodrigues. When the music evanesces, as it does toward the end of "Stone", there's a fine sense of decompression, an earned release. This approach almost guarantees a rocky road but if and when things mesh, and they do here a reasonable amount of the time, the results carry an extra frisson of excitement. My caveat is unavoidable: that I'd rather hear this trio on an ongoing basis rather than form an opinion from a single recording. But as is, it's another one I'd recommend hearing. Brian Olewnick (Just Outside)

... À l'été 2013, en compagnie du saxophoniste alto Bertrand Gauguet, c'est une nouvelle variation sur les modes d'habiter l'espace (et d'y ménager... des espaces) qui s'invente : moins autarcique, plus ouverte vers l'extérieur et aux « silences », mais sans drame néanmoins, elle joue subtilement des plans, tenant compte de l'environnement (du studio en wood et du lieu de concert en stone) que viennent modeler et modifier chuintements, fuites ou exhalations. Dans leur fine plasticité, et parfois leur nudité, ces gestes impeccablement pensés et posés témoignent d'une acuité d'écoute qui finit par gagner l'auditeur ; les jeux de clapets et de tuyères, les perçantes ondes perchées, les brouillards de fréquences, font délicatement vibrer et osciller les horizons. Guillaume Tarche (Le Son du Grisli)

This collaborative recording by Ernesto Rodrigues on viola and Ricardo Guerreiro on computer, with the guest appearance of Bertrand Guaget on alto saxophone is maybe the most abstract release by this musical liason. I'm pretty sure that the most demanding listeners whose ears are trained to those free improvisational sessions which get closer to pure abstract sound art and reductionism will appreciate this long-lasting recording that this trio made in studio ("Wood") and on live stage ("Stone") by following more or less the same operational mode, where electronic sounds emphasize the lenghty tonal sequence where tones themselves seem to be like accidental events that meet Gauget's breath and Rodrigues's rubbing and manage to excite listener's imagination. For instance the first part of "Stone" and the gradual saturation occurring between 18th and 21st minute could let you imagine about the sudden awakening in the middle of a nocturnal labyrinthine cornfield where the chirping of cicadas or the nearby flight of other nocturnal insects become frightening moments of a nightmarish rural experience. If you consider "Early Reflections" under an exquisitely technical viewpoint, the delicate manoeuvering on dynamics and sonic "consistency" as well as on surreal chromatic grasps of these two sessions is really remarkable. Vito Camarretta (Chain DLK)

O francês Bertrand Gauguet (no sax alto) é o joker deste trio, onde se juntam os habituais Ernesto Rodrigues (na viola) e Ricardo Guerreiro (no computador). O disco conta apenas com dois temas, com cerca de meia hora cada um: o primeiro foi gravado em estúdio, no dia 14 de Julho de 2013; o segundo foi gravado ao vivo no Panteão Nacional, nesse mesmo dia. A primeira faixa assenta num zumbido quase permanente, sobre o qual são semeados apontamentos delicados. Na segunda faixa o processo é semelhante, com o saxofone de Gauguet em maior evidência, evoluindo para momentos de grande saturação sonora (o que é bem-vindo). Das duas faixas, uma chama-se “Wood”, a outra chama-se “Stone”. Falta o papel? Não, está óptimo assim. Nuno Catarino (Bodyspace)

Mais uma vez, o excelente “Early Reflections”, do trio de Ernesto Rodrigues com Bertrand Gauguet e Ricardo Guerreiro, é todo ele espaço. Intensidade e densidade confundem-se, é grande o espectro de dinâmicas e vão-se sucedendo microtons e harmónicos, em linha com as explorações realizadas nos domínios da música erudita contemporânea e do experimentalismo. Por vezes, chega-se a um inaudito nível de saturação. No final, somos lembrados de onde tudo isto vem: volta-se ao grau zero, o quase silêncio surgindo com o mesmo efeito da serenidade pós-coital. Tudo o que acontecera antes eram acrescentos (não já reduções, mas somas), uma ocupação do silêncio que afirmava, afinal, o primado deste. Rui Eduardo Paes (Jazz.pt)

[…] Deliberately less individual, Gauguet’s hushed reed microtones blend with undemonstrative string motions from violist Ernesto Rodrigues and the compressed processing from Ricardo Guerreiro’s computer on Early Reflections. The result is two extended improvisations all of piece that exist without demarcated beginnings(s) or end(s). Part of Lisbon’s quietly burgeoning circles of committed free improvisers, the two and especially Rodrigues have been involved with similar mind melds with other international sound explorers. If there is criticism about the CD, it’s that the violist is so committed to nearly opaque group creation that only rarely are characteristic fiddle tones audible.
Evolving incrementally “Wood” for instance, comes in and out of aural focus as unaccented air or tongue murmurs from the saxophone mix with grainy ring modulator-like signals to expose one impulse at a time. By the final sequence, minuscule clicks and swizzle-stick like strokes are looped into a low-pitched continuum, which wispily rotates to an ending. “Stone” is similar, although midway through, the processed exposition that appears to be equal parts electronic flanges and hushed lip burbles increases in loudness like an inner tube exploding. The resulting strident multiphonics bring forward spiccato string pops to make up an unfolding narrative that also takes color from granular machine-affiliated static and metallic overblowing from the saxophonist. Only startling, in this context, the strategy identifies the subtle sound layering that goes into creating a program such as this. Ken Waxman (JazzWord)