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Jardin Carré

by Carlos Santos

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    Close on the heels of the latest Lisbon String Trio releases and discussion, Jardin Carré is such an album, so a few more remarks: I had already noted Jardin Carré as an example of a stark or classic cover on Creative Sources - rather than collage or DIY (or, although with overlap, geometry) - and it was indeed recorded about three weeks after From Faust, in March in Paris: It's a single track of more than a half hour, with French double bassist Fred Marty joining Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues to form another string trio, supported by Carlos Santos (who also did the covers) on electronics.

    As the square on the cover (and reflected in the title) might imply, Jardin Carré suggests a kind of framing, i.e. a musical view from a distance - so suggests, perhaps, a consideration of ocularcentrism quite unlike on Theia - and in turn objects (per se) at a distance (rather than immanent or embedded). Such a perspective tends to revolve around Marty (b.1970) on bass: Although I wasn't previously familiar with him, Marty has an earlier duo album on Creative Sources, as well as with Jean-Marc Foussat. His style reminds me a bit of Pascal Niggenkemper, absent the sudden resonance shifts, but with a kind of rumbling and buzzing main line (that suggests for me Niggenkemper's participation on e.g. Lignes De Cretes - another album of vistas, as discussed here in February 2017, albeit very different in so many other ways - with Jean-Brice Godet).

    Indeed, Jardin Carré is very potent at times, sometimes evoking a Scelsian vibe, and in fact the buzzing bass might be attributable to Uitti/Scelsi-style string mutes or vibrators. There is often a kind of gritty or grinding quality as a result, one the other strings sometimes share (and which the bass does not always adopt), such that the "grain" of the string tone itself becomes an important musical object. (The buzz might also be compared, at times, and despite a generally busier musical surface, to that of the rudra veena - a string bass, albeit not bowed - or more simply to the tanpura: Both are fitted with metal strips or brackets to bounce against the strings and proliferate high harmonics.) One might compare the ensemble itself to that on 0 minutes and 0 seconds, where Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues are joined by a bassist and electronics artist: The latter is more formal and inward looking, as noted in June, unfolding between smoothness and segmentation. And there, the electronics are "oscillators," focusing on clear tones, whereas the use of electronics on Jardin Carré is rather more subtle: There are some high electronic tones at times, although these might be inflections of string harmonics, just as some "bend" is added to the bass at times.

    Usually, electronics are not noticeable, however, such that - as on Boulez Materialism, as discussed earlier this week - they appear to be involved largely in mixing and perhaps looping. (The latter is hard to judge.) Is the focus on grit and grain enabled by real-time electronics? I'm not sure, but in any case, the subtlety of the electronics - and one might not notice them at all - adds to the mysterious emergent aura of the album. Whereas such a discussion might suggest a "single tone" emphasis, and there are indeed some rather minimal episodes, particularly later in the album, there is also quite a bit of polyphony, and not all of it's noisy: There are sometimes long lines from all three strings, sometimes even lyrical in a nineteenth century sense (especially from the viola), although generally embedded in a gritty atmosphere. (The resonant alignments of the string trio on Jardin Carré might then be compared to those on Proletariat, although the latter is probably more about harmonic verticality, and definitely more about "straight" string technique.) There is a further emphasis on continuity in general, pace the quieter episodes, particularly as the remainder of the quartet might "contract" to accent or ornament a central bass line.

    Although there can be a feeling of sameness or circularity at times as a result, and sometimes a preliminary quality, I've found Jardin Carré to be quite engaging, particularly as a contrast with other music: I had originally parsed it as little more than an appendix to the Lisbon String Trio series (being a string trio plus another musician, after all), but it's taken on a life of its own, reliably leaving me listening calmly to the sounds or silence around me after it ends.... Moreover (perhaps with 0 minutes and 0 seconds providing a sense of reinvigoration), there appear to be a number of new albums on the horizon to feature Ernesto and Guilherme Rodrigues in trios or quartets with other string players, etc. (Not that this or similar combos are new, but there seems to be a renewed energy....) These would also appear to involve more radical concepts than the Lisbon String Trio series, so once again, we seem to be in the midst of a notable creative outpouring: If 0 minutes and 0 seconds and Jardin Carré are an indication, it'll involve more reworking of musical affectivity (i.e. relation) per se."-Todd McComb, Jazz Thoughts
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1.
Jardin 1 16:18
2.
Jardin 2 20:32

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Ernesto Rodrigues: Viola
Guilherme Rodrigues: Cello
Fred Marty: Double bass
Carlos Santos: Electronics

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released August 12, 2018

Recorded live at Tiasci, paris on 21st March 2018 By Carlos Santos
Mix, master and graphic design by Carlos Santos

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Carlos Santos Lisbon, Portugal

Musician, sound artist, sound collector, digital audio manipulator and graphic designer. Interested in field recordings, soundscape composition, improvisation and electroacoustic music. Uses maxmsp software, microphones, speakers, piezo elements, modular synthesizers, spaces and a pair of ears in good working condition. Works as a graphic designer, sound art practices, field recording. ... more

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