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Uncommon Symmetries

by Carlos Santos, Guilherme Rodrigues

supported by


A collaborative project born out of the forced confinement produce by COVID-19 pandemics.

Audio files were exchanged between Berlin and Lisbon during April and May 2020. Guilherme recorded the original shruti box improvisation in berlin, Carlos worked in Lisbon with the recording, extending and re-composing it while adding new material. A second voice, a hybrid of acoustic/digital layer was added enacting a dialogue with the original solo improvisation.

Mix and master by Carlos Santos
June 2020, Lisbon

"Uncommon Symmetries is a product of the early days of the Covid lockdown, a 25-minute piece available as a download only. It began with an improvisation by Berlin-resident Guilherme Rodrigues, best known as a cellist, using a shruti box, an Indian instrument that resembles an accordion, with both a bellows and a keyboard, and which is commonly used as a drone instrument. He then sent it to Santos, who has taken Rodrigues’ meditative, continuous improvisation and enriched it with processing and “a second voice, a hybrid of acoustic/digital layer [that] was added enacting a dialogue with the original solo improvisation.”
The shruti box is one of the world’s great sounds, part of the hyper-resonant world of Indian music that speaks directly to eternity, the tamboura string drone, the resonant gourds of the principal string instruments, the nasal wail of the shehnai conjoined with circular breathing, all calling out towards infinity and all combining happily with the mechanized eternity of electronic drones. At the outset the sound appears to be shruti box alone, but other continuous sounds join in, some lower, some of greater density, some emphasizing the accordion-like voice, others with different sonic characters, suggesting an organ’s greater range, that last effect growing richer as the piece ensues. There are moments of silence and towards the end, bird voices appear, the natural world (or something very much like it) taking up residence amidst the merge of acoustic and digital sounds until the bird sounds alone persist. The cumulative effect is trans-spatial, worlds converging, combining and dissolving into one another in an act of singular transcendence." Stuart Broomer


released September 13, 2020

Shruti Box

Digital Electronics


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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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