Iridium cs350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il était temps ! Oui il était temps que notre ami Ernesto Rodrigues et ses camarades fassent un quatuor violonistique. Violon (Maria Da Rocha) alto (Ernesto Rodrigues), violoncelle (Guilherme Rodrigues), contrebasse (Miguel Mira), la belle formule. Comme l’a si bien souligné Johannes Rosenberg, compositeur, improvisateur, violoniste exceptionnel, ethnomusicologue et théoricien de l’art total du violon, les instruments de la famille du violon ne révèlent leur nature profonde, la symbiose infinie de leurs timbres que rassemblés dans un même orchestre de cordes frottées. Iridium est un des plus beaux enregistrements des groupes documentés par Ernesto via son label Creative Sources, et cette raison n’y est pas étrangère. Je me rappelle bien avoir écouté et chroniqué, Drain, un autre cd d’Ernesto et Guilherme Rodrigues avec le violoniste Mathieu Werchowski. Leur jeu instrumental évoquait alors pour moi le travail sonore d’un ébéniste qui fait grincer le bois sous toutes ses coutures. Il y a encore de cela dans Iridium. Deux pièces 2466 ° C et 4428 ° C. Dans 2466 °C, les cordes frottées semblent préparées de manière à transformer la résonance, le jeu de l’archet et des doigts sur la touche et leurs pressions spécifiques empêchent d’une manière ou d’une autre la vibration « naturelle » conventionnelle du violon, du violoncelle ou de la contrebasse. Il consiste à produire des drones – sustain sur une note, grave ou aiguë, lesquelles agrègent leurs sons secs et bruissant, les harmoniques, les frottements mécaniques, les notes fantômes, à la trame, les timbres grinçant comme si le vernis qui geignait ou criait et non le bois de la caisse de l’instrument qui chante. Dans 4428°C, on utilise plusieurs jeux percussifs du bois de l’archet sur les cordes pour agrémenter les drones et diversifier les textures. En se tenant à cette technique, les musiciens font évoluer la pièce insensiblement vers des échanges plus vifs où la dimension rythmique en pulsations libres et brefs coups d’archets rebondissant donne une aspect ludique. Soudain, le jeu en drones reprend, s’épaissit, se tend et devient plus tendre, malléable, lyrique. Après quelques minutes, le violon et l’alto sont frottés intensément en pressant l’archet avec insistance avec un son nasillard évoquant une voix de fausset qui dérape, puis se décontractent dans un faux unisson. La pièce évolue ensuite dans des frottements muets et se termine avec des grincements et des chocs qui s’arrêtent abruptement comme si on avait coupé la bande sans aucune respiration. Il y aurait peut être une marche à suivre guidant l’exécution ou est-ce complètement libre ? Rien n’est mentionné sur la pochette cartonnée. Ces manières toutes particulières de faire sonner les cordes à l’archet en utilisant ces techniques alternatives nous font découvrir ces sons étranges dans des variétés infinies au niveau de la texture, de la coloration, de la densité, de l’intensité qui se mêlent, s’agrègent, se pénètrent, se fondent dans une fascinante bande-son. Si cette démarche très appliquée peut sembler assez monocorde et répétitive de prime abord, une écoute attentive nous en révèle la richesse. Ces quatre improvisateurs étendent au maximum les possibilités sonores dans le cadre d’une approche musicale au départ très restreinte de sons soutenus basés bien souvent sur une seule note. Ils font donc preuve d’une grande imagination et cet album est un chef d’œuvre du genre. Jean-Michel van Schouwburg (Orynx)

With over 350 releases to its name, Ernesto Rodrigues' Creative Sources label shows no signs of slowing down. And while it's true that a list as long as this will inevitably contain a few clams, this is not the case with the disc at hand. The Iridium String Quartet consists of Maria Da Rocha (violin), Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello) and Miguel Mira (double bass), offering up two long pieces of string tangle and chordal float, assembled with patience and attention to detail.
The first piece builds from a sibilant hiss into harmonic-laced clouds pocked with occasional plucks and clunks, rising and falling again to build anew. At around the 13-minute mark a denser collection of squeak eventually dissolves into a rich shifting drone. During the busier sections, alien timbres arise, sounding more like ghostly wind instruments than bowed strings. I swear I can hear a flute at one point. It's 26 minute play time seems to zip by in an instant.
The second, longer piece seems to carry on logically from where the first ends. Indeed only a quick check of the CD player's counter confirms that things have begun over. Here the quartet spreads out a bit, with two duos at times sparring with each other, feedback-like whines hanging over low-end tussle. The rise and fall familiar to many listeners of improvisation would seem to be the modus here. Ideas are offered, added to and expanded for short periods before easing away to near silence, like a string of beads or a list of favorite notions. Like most Creative Sources discs, the recording here is gorgeous, allowing close inspection of the grain and whistle. Jeph Jerman (The Squid’s Ear)

Also from Portugal, but then of a totally different nature, is the Iridium String Quartet. Here there are no sudden bursts of energy, or agitated changes of nervous interaction, or big intervals between high and low registers, but two long gliding improvisations with subtle and minor changes in tone, but a wealth of timbral changes and shifts in sound color and intensity.

The quartet are Maria da Rocha on violin, Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, and Miguel Mira on double bass. Despite the horizontal structure around a single tone, the music is not slow of flat, it keeps shimmering and changing in intensity, like some raw organic process taking place, and then the album's title comes to mind: Iridium is a metal that is among the most dense and difficult to work of all known substances. The titles of the two tracks refer to the boiling point (4428°C) and its melting point (2466°) and maybe that's what you hear, the slow transformation of something unwieldy into something else, into another substance by adding energy to it, adding fire to hard matter and to gradually make it change, to make it soundshift in front of your ears, to create sonic vapours out of hard compounds, to create sonic fluids out of the very foundations of our existence. It sounds like a churning cauldron of redblack turbulence. It is fascinating and as usual, beyond any known musical category. Calling it minimal or even drone would do the music injustice, because it's too rich for that. The instruments work in different layers and change constantly despite the strong tonal centre. They add, they withdraw, they deliver piercing overtones or carefully paced plucking or endless bowed murmurs. 

To listeners not familiar with the work of Ernesto Rodrigues, I can only recommend them to give it a try, and to listen a lot to this album, with undivided attention. Each listen will make it richer and more lively and deeper than before. Stef (The Free Jazz Collective)

I like the idea of an improvising string quartet, and particularly given the extended lineage of the string bass in jazz, that such a quartet should be violin-viola-cello-bass, rather than doubling the violin, makes good sense to me too. So I was happy to get a chance to hear the Iridium String Quartet (recorded last November in Lisbon) featuring Maria da Rocha on violin, Ernesto & Guilherme Rodrigues on their regular viola & cello, and Miguel Mira (here on bass, instead of the cello he plays on e.g. Earnear). This is the first I'd heard (of) da Rocha, and she seems to fit the rest of this group well. The two tracks are named for the melting & boiling points of iridium, and feature a kind of Scelsian string quality... a sense of becoming, metallic scraping... almost industrial at times. One can imagine the changes of state being invoked. As one might also imagine, the quartet can still seem kind of monochromatic at times. There tends to be a rather unified sense of gesture, with a single pulse, relying partly on register (or even pitch) changes for articulation. One might ask what emerges, i.e. what is brought to presence, and in this case, I hear more of the immanent concerns of Nor, i.e. an emergence that isn't from "elsewhere," and likewise doesn't really come to presence. This seems like a first album for the group (which it presumably is), and I believe there is considerable potential, particularly exploring more multi-pulsed interactions. It's already worth hearing. 24 May 2016. Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts