The Portuguese large improvising ensemble String Theory is heard live during the CreativeFest#12, at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018, in an extended improvisation of incredible layering and restraint, making an amalgam of mostly acoustic string sources sound electronic and hallucinatory, an incredible achievement in string sonics. Aside from resonator guitar and eBow (applied to a zither), the group merges the sounds of viola, violin, classical guitar, cello (4 of them), 12 string acoustic guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, and four double basses. The subtle interplay, slowly evolving and weaving in intensity is extremely detailed, rewarding the attentive listener with various stratum of sound. Ernesto Rodrigues continues to develop some of the most fascinating large ensemble work in a unique approach to improvisation, and String Theory is among his finest organizations. Squidco
String Theory is a large ensemble, here consisting of eighteen members, unsurprisingly made up of instruments involving strings of one sort or another, ranging from regulation string quartet elements to guitars, zithers, a psaltery and a piano (the latter played inside the body). Musicians include many who have long been involved with the improvisatory scene in Portugal including Ernesto and Guillermo Rodrigues, Abdul Moimème and Carlos Santos. This is their fifth release.
Krypton is a relatively short (31 minutes) piece, presumably entirely improvised, recorded live at a festival in Lisbon. The playing is generally restrained, seeming to aim at striking a balance between a steady-state flow and a complex, low-key level of burbling activity, layering arco approaches by some against soft pizzicatos from others. The volume, while generally subdued, ebbs and flows within these softer parameters, creating a very natural, unforced feeling while allowing for what might be heard as "climaxes" were there any intent behind the structure. Here, it's more like a slightly stronger gust arriving on an already gently breezy day. The effect is both meditative and a little bit agitative, a fine mix, not "in your face" but also engagingly stubborn. It's approachable enough to draw in the innocent listener but has more than enough integrity not to spoon-feed anything. For more experienced listeners, no new ground is broken but Krypton nonetheless offers a rewarding experience of a large group of excellent musicians making lovely music. Brian Olewnick (The Squid’s Ear)
In addition to IKB Ensemble and Variable Geometry Orchestra of Ernesto Rodrigues, the family has yet more large size enterprises: Isotope Ensemble, and String Theory Ensemble, sometimes
reduced to String Theory. For the last 45 years string theory in physics is considered to be the best candidate of Theory of Everything, although its phenomenological, observable predictions hardly exist. In contrast String Theory Ensemble is firmly related to real life: it includes both Ernesto and Guilhermo (who, interestingly, plays zither), and plenty of string and chord instruments. Maybe for this reason free minimalism of 32 minutes long "Krypton" remind me a little of that of IKB Ensemble and "Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus".
So, we hear here long repetitive tones, changing only the color or only the shade. In principle, there is less "fake sounds" and most of the instruments can be clearly distinguished, but there is also plenty of percussion like
sounds created most probably by unorthodox use of the string instruments. The mood, although relatively quiet, is very dramatic and tense, especially in the second half and the nal parts. It all sounds like a galactic symphony
of strings, zithers, guitars, double basses, like an ode to contemporary music. Great artistic work that stimulates concentration, pensiveness, reverie, and musings. Maciej Lewenstein
The Portuguese large improvising ensemble String Theory is heard live during the CreativeFest#12, at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018, in an extended improvisation of incredible layering and restraint, making an amalgam of mostly acoustic string sources sound electronic and hallucinatory, an incredible achievement in string sonics. Squidco