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about

Recorded on 2nd October 2008, at Tcha Tcha Tcha Studio, Lisbon, Portugal.
Recorded by Diogo Tavares.
Mixed and mastered by Ernesto Rodrigues and Carlos Santos.
Graphic design by Carlos Santos.
Production by Ernesto Rodrigues.


Light? There’s never been any lightness to the Rodrigueses’ playing. Physically, there’s often a lot of pressure applied with the bow; intellectually, their music is consistently ripe with thought and pregnant with meaning – aerial perhaps, but light, never. Yes, I know, it’s not lightness this title is about. It’s illumination, brilliance, luminance – all words aptly describing (in reverse order) the father-son duo’s music, this particular quartet session, and the result of experiencing both. Thought, focus, the resonance of each musician’s soul with his instrument and his colleagues: all these factors are enlightening, casting – yes – a light on the music at hand. But they don’t explain everything. How could they? How could one truly explain the magic of genuine collective improvisation? The act of performing as one yet as separate personalities? The feat of achieving cohesion without resorting to predictability? The incredible level of “telepathy/synergy/complementarity” between Ernesto, Guilherme, David, and Nuno? The uncanny way this quartet lays out and articulates sounds so that the listener may feel like a participant, someone as accountable for the success of the recording as the musicians involved? In following the Rodrigueses’ adventures through the catalogue of the Creative Sources label, I have often tried to explain all this and know that I am doomed to fail, always. Light, therefore. There shall be light as you listen to this CD. But the music itself is far from sunny. It has its dark corners, its shadows, its pitch-black Lovecraftian recesses – moreso than most of the recordings involving the Rodrigueses, and especially in the second piece, where a sense of impending doom (un)resolves in a very strange way. An ironic use of the word “light”, then? Perhaps, although in this case, that which is absent (light) could hurt your eyes if it were used maliciously. Speaking of maliciousness, David Stackenäs – the X factor in this aligment – is maliciously playing the agent provocateur part; his acoustic guitar work, gritty, grating, highly experimental and unique, sits wonderfully well between the tensed-up textures of the Rodrigueses’ stringwork and the quiet, inner-reaching tones from Nuno Torres’ saxophone. But does it hurt, this wound? Revelations always hurt – at least a bit – our preconceived ideas, if nothing else. And that might happen to you, especially around the nine-minute mark in the third piece, when Stackenäs chooses the path of most resistance, triggering the most unruly moment of the album. That’s when a lightbulb might come on in the heads of the most blasé of listeners: “Oh my, they’re having fun too!” If you’re all stuck up about non-idiomatic improvisation, that kind of enlightenment could leave a mark! François Couture

credits

released February 5, 2010

Ernesto Rodrigues - viola
David Stackenäs - acoustic guitar
Guilherme Rodrigues - cello
Nuno Torres - alto saxophone

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Ernesto Rodrigues Lisbon, Portugal

Ernesto Rodrigues (August 29th 1959) has been playing the violin for 40 years and in that time has played all genres of music ranging from contemporary music to free jazz and free improvisation, live and in the studio.
The relationship with his instruments is focused in sonic and
textural elements as well as the use of extended techniques.
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