Ernesto Rodrigues

Cesura

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The most daring experimental music is often met with great skepticism. This quartet marvelously represents the paradox of cutting-edge music: the trained ear almost immediately detects an incredible level of focus in the playing and an astounding resourcefulness in obliterating idiosyncratic clichés -- yet the common listener hears only scratches and grunts and will most likely call it a con or judge it as not being music at all. Viola player Ernesto Rodrigues; his son, cellist Guilherme; bassist Margarida Garcia (playing an electric double bass, a rare choice among free improvisers); and accordionist Alfredo Costa Monteiro all focus their attention on the sound conceived as a material object, thrown into the tri-dimensional space comprised between listeners' ears. Their music carries the labor of having to make critical artistic choices every tenth of a second, the joy of succeeding in doing so, and the excitement of four artists communicating on a level that is both highly intellectual (in its abstraction) and deeply atavistic (in its coming back to an unregulated form of expression). What does all this rambling say about the music, you may ask? It says that the music consists of softly screeching strings, of an accordion being scratched and tapped (a note is occasionally squeezed out, at the threshold of a vibrating reed), of a bass purring away -- music redefining itself while redefining your understanding of music, constantly sidestepping your expectations. The intersecting discourses are articulated in cut sequences, like alexandrine verses and their pauses ("cesura" in Portuguese). This is a stunning recording.

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