Violoncelista de Lisboa atualmente vivendo em Berlim, Guilherme Rodrigues está envolvido com uma série de projetos com músicos de diferentes partes do mundo (já gravou/tocou, por exemplo, com os brasileiros Marco Scarassatti, Alípio C Neto e Yedo Gibson). Formado pelo Conservatório Nacional de Música de Lisboa, o ainda relativamente jovem (nasceu em 1988) mas muito experiente músico conta com algumas dezenas de álbuns em sua discografia, tendo investigado os mais diferentes formatos, de gravações solistas a participações em orquestras. Mostrando o lado mais íntimo de sua música, Rodrigues aparece neste Cascata acompanhado apenas de seu violoncelo. São 23 peças breves, muitas delas com menos de um minuto, registradas em março de 2019 no Tonus Arcus Studio, em Berlim. "The album came from the need to share the total freedom of my person as a cellist. With nothing programmed, arrived at the studio and played for almost two hours. It was fluid as a waterfall", explica o músico na apresentação do álbum. No decorrer do disco, os temas vão surgindo em uma sequência que explora técnicas e possibilidades múltiplas, em um vasto leque oferecido pelo violoncelo, com o resultado sonoro alcançado  variando consideravelmente de uma peça a outra. Como um mosaico, essas peças, apenas numeradas, sem nomes, arquitetam um todo que também pode ser apreciado em sua fragmentação. O violoncelo se revela em múltiplas faces, surpreendendo em diferentes pontos os ouvintes, com as variadas técnicas empregadas por Rodrigues fazendo com que cada tema tenha uma marca própria. Há desde faixas com motivações melódicas mais explícitas, como a tocante "IV", até outras em que a utilização de técnicas estendidas nos leva a territórios de sonoridades realmente novas.

By Fabricio Vieira at FreeForm, FreeJazz



Portugalski wiolonczelista zamknął się w berlińskim Tonus Arcus Studio na dwie godziny i zagrał nieprzerwany potok swobodnych improwizacji. Z przygotowanego materiału wykroił … 23 fragmenty, których odsłuch zajmie nam niewiele ponad 37 minut. Wszystkie one wypełnione są frapującymi, czasami niezwykle pięknymi dźwiękami, podanymi jednak w wielu wypadkach w odcinkach czasowych krótszych niż minuta. Po wysłuchaniu całej płyty recenzent zastanawia się, czy nie wolałby posłuchać całości rejestrowanych w marcu 2019 roku dźwięków, bez cięć edytorskich.

Zostawiamy jednak ową drobną ambiwalencję na boku i zaglądamy do rozbudowanego zbioru improwizowanych mikro etiud. Pierwsza, to zmysłowe jęczenie smyczka, pracującego na dużej przestrzeni, z równie czystym, jak i zabrudzonym brzmieniem. Druga, to ciche szorowanie strun, które nabierają dźwięczności (tu stawiamy pierwszy stempel jakości!). Trzecia, to szarpanie strun i uderzanie w pudło rezonansowe instrumentu, czynione jednak w pogrzebowym tempie. Czwarta, to piękny, czysty, zmysłowy barok. Kolejne epizody, to taniec smyczka na strunach, potem już jego bieg ze śpiewem na ustach, a także powiew zefirka od oceanu, skontrapunktowanego ostrym zgrzytem na gryfie. Na tym ostatnim, bolesnym i groźnym odcinku stawiamy kolejny stempel jakości! Dziewiąta etiuda gładzi nam skronie minimalistycznym pizzicato i pięknie podprowadza pod część dziesiątą (trwającą ponad 4 minuty!), która łączy w sobie szorowanie strun i ambientowe wybrzmiewanie, z akcentami prepare (kolejny stempel jakości!). Jedenasty, to minimalistyczna, barokowa powieść, która frazuje … na rockowo. Dwunasta, to nerwowe ruchy na gryfie i małe przepychanki. Trzynasta z kolei, to garść smykowych akordów, z posmakiem baroku i tanecznymi zadziorami. Czternasta etiuda trwa kilkanaście sekund - jeden posuwisty ruch smyczka po strunach.

Piętnastą opowieść konstruują małe podskoki i ciche piłowanie strun, szesnastą zaś - pojedyncze frazy arco vs. pizzicato, z których rodzi się siedemnasta etiuda – truely arco dancing! Osiemnasta - barok na niskich strunach - nie może się tu obyć bez … stempla jakości! Kolej na kilka zwinnych podskoków, powiewów wiatru i garść głębokiego baroku czynionego na niezłej dynamice. I już jesteśmy w etiudzie dwudziestej pierwszej – uderzanie po gryfie, kilka zgrzytów i drobiazgowe przeciąganie liny (podwójny stempel jakości!). Przedostatnia część, to powrót estetyki minimal – kilka ruchów smyczkiem i repetujące pizzicato. Wreszcie finał – deep, very deep baroque! Po chwili krok ku górze, śpiew i płacz, a zaraz potem finałowe wybrzmiewanie, która daje recenzentowi czas na postawienie ostatniego już dziś stempla jakości.

- Andrzej Nowak, Spontaneous Music Tribune

Violoncelliste maison du label Creative Sources et installé à Berlin depuis quelques années, Guilherme Rodrigues nous propose son premier album solo. Comme il l’explique, « cet album Cascata provient du besoin de partager la liberté totale de ma personne en tant que violoncelliste. N’ayant rien programmé avant d’arriver au studio, j’ai joué durant un peu moins de deux heures. C’était aussi fluide qu’une cascade ». Cascata en portugais. Une quintessence du violoncelle. 23 morceaux courts, concis, expressifs, chacun dédié à une technique particulière ou à une forme précise. Une pression spécifique de l’archet, une approche intégrant multiphoniques et scansions, chant de la corde tendue gorgée de sève, de simples pizzicati balancés tout en langueur, des vibrations tremblées fantomatiques... Un herbier de fleurs rares, une galerie de moments éphémères qui s’imprime dans la mémoire. Une musique intériorisée en guise de réflexion, de dépassement, de conviction pour exprimer le premier jet de la matérialisation d’idées lumineuses et de réminiscenses transfigurées. Concentré dans une démarche minimaliste lower case au début de sa carrière, alors jeune adolescent aux côtés de son père Ernesto et omniprésent dans le catalogue du label familial Creative Sources, voilà que ce jeune musicien s’épanouit pour notre plus grand bonheur en créant un des albums de référence du violoncelle seul à l’instar d’Elisabeth Coudoux dont je n’ai pas encore eu l’heur d’écouter son dernier opus solo. Cascata, une cascade de perles du violoncelle, est traversé par un flux créatif intense frisant la perfection : chaque idée / composition instantanée exprime l’essentiel sans une seule note de trop, ni trop peu.
- Jean-Michel Van Schowbourg

Le violoncelliste Guilherme Rodrigues et le tromboniste Sebi Tramontana se rencontrent ici, sans doute fortuitement, dans un magnifique échange – partage en sept actes numérotés de I à VII et assez courts (maximum 5’27’’). Ils ont plaisir à altérer les sons de leurs instruments, étendant et transformant les possibilités sonores, en renouvelant continuellement les éléments de langages : lexique, grammaire, syntaxe, extrapolation dans une dimension ludique souveraine, la spontanéité du dialogue instantané. Si le violoncelliste fait vibrer le timbre et l’élasticité sonore de son instrument en y ajoutant des techniques alternatives à bon escient, le tromboniste excelle à chanter dans l’embouchure, vocalisant à l’instar des grands anciens (Tricky Sam Nanton, Lawrence Brown ou Roswell Rudd), ses inflexions vocales travaillent et zigzaguent autant que ses sourdines et que sa coulisse. Tout l’intérêt de cet enregistrement réside dans l’adaptation de chacun des deux protagonistes, deux artistes assez, voire très différents, dans la personnalité musicale de l’autre au fil d'improvisations spontanées ET millimétrées. Rien à jeter ! Une forme de contraste chaleureux, humain, une connivence naturelle  et joyeuse, débouche sur les même histoires (de I à VII)  racontées en coups d’archets brefs, glissandi, cadences brisées, phonèmes instrumentaux, vibrations élégiaques, unissons informels, glossolalies du pavillon, bribes de mélodies, concassages du timbre, simplicité apparente des matériaux, bonne humeur sans clin d’œil, grattements de cordes, passage de l’air dans le tube, compressions de la colonne d’air, multiphoniques, col legno…. Guilherme et Sebi ne se perdent pas dans des avalanches de sons, le moindre détail de leurs jeux contribuent à faire passer leur message d’un jour (22-02-2020). J’avais beaucoup apprécié le solo récent de Guilherme Rodrigues, 22 miniatures exquises au violoncelle, Cascata (Creative Sources). Et donc, Han Jiae est sans doute le plus beau et surtout le plus touchant des albums de ces deux improvisateurs. L'image de pochette reproduit un dessin - portrait des duettistes signé Tramontana. À écouter attentivement. Un vrai plaisir !

Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg at Orynx-Improv'andsounds


William H. Gass has a quote (which I will bungle in paraphrase here) about how the amount of time and effort it takes to comprehend a novel is proportional to the time and effort needed to compose it. When taken to the realm of music this principle doesn’t quite hold as much weight, but it presents an interesting issue: is free improvisation disposable music? No matter how much practice goes into forming the skills necessary for it or how obtuse the theory is that binds it together, improvisation is inherently a “tossed off” thing. As Steve Lacy put it: “The difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in 15 seconds, while in improvisation you have 15 seconds.” 

While I can sympathize with those who hear nothing but aimless noodling and pretentious ego in free improv, for me the clarity of musical identity and richness of expression in the form are unrivaled. In no other genre is the choice of how to approach each note given such fundamental importance, and nowhere else are the performers so naked before the audience, tasked as they are with complete responsibility for what they play. Han Jiae is as good of an album of contemporary free improvisation as I have heard. While staying firmly in a melodic mode they run the gamut of techniques and expressions, tastefully and thoughtfully showcasing the unique sonics of each instrument. Sebi Tramontana and Guilherme Rodrigues play with the kind of sympathetic rapport that improv duos thrive on, the kind that allows them to finely thread the needle between supporting the other players ideas and responding to them with original material. It's the kind of sound you can only get from free improvisation, and it’s exactly why the style will never be disposable. — Samuel McLemore

“The Book of Spirals” conta-nos uma viagem. Viagem essa que começa de forma meio atribulada entre escadarias e vales. 


Se ouvirem “swirl” com atenção perceberão o que escrevo. O piano do Rodrigo Pinheiro é indescritivelmente marcante. Ora o degrau está lá subtil e baixinho, ora se demarca entre as cordas dos outros instrumentos e a marimba do Pedro Carneiro.


Ora quem pensa que a viagem é linear, numa auto-estrada em velocidade cruzeiro, que se desengane. 

É para ouvir de headphones, porque cada pormenor tem de entrar bem pelas vias auditivas até que o cérebro processe que é um quinteto e que cada um dá um pouco de si a cada nota. Viajam no mesmo carro, os cinco, mas sem um condutor. São os cinco ao volante, conduzem e deixam-se conduzir.

Anseio por ouvir a respiração de um deles. Sinto que uma respiração presente nos levaria para dentro do carro. Mas lá vão eles. 

Aos sete minutos é como se o carro parasse para saírem e seguirem a pé. Seguem em marcha moderada e mostram-nos o ambiente externo que os rodeia. “Swirl” é isso mesmo! Um rodopio, um turbilhão entre o interior de um carro em andamento e uma caminhada em que nos embrenhamos numa densa e complexa teia de sons, sensações e caminhos. 

E quando a viagem ainda está a começar pensamos que o destino final só pode ser brilhante. A meio de “swirl” é isso que este disco nos promete. Uma viagem com um destino absolutamente introspetivo. 


Aquela marimba que nos faz sentir num cenário de suspense, o contrabaixo repentino e brusco que nos leva de um lado para o outro, o piano que nos faz querer subir a escadaria que surge inesperada no caminho, o violoncelo tão subtil que nos apazigua e a viola que nos acompanha entre diálogos nesta longa viagem cheia de curvas e contra-curvas.


Em 22 minutos, entrámos e saímos de um carro em andamento, caminhámos num bosque cerrado onde do nada surge uma escadaria e acabámos sentados, ao lado do quinteto, à espera de recuperar a respiração. 


Do esperado ao inesperado, há tempo para que tudo decorra. Quando entramos em “whril” continuamos atentos à história. Que se adensa, se torna mais embrenhada, intensa e complexa. E claro que se torna mais complexa, estamos a falar de Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues, Hernâni Faustino, Rodrigo Pinheiro e Pedro Carneiro.


Continuamos num corropio, num turbilhão que se torna de tal forma intenso que para trás ficam todos os lugares por onde já tínhamos passado nesta viagem.


Entramos em novos ambientes, novos cenários, que aceleram o ritmo da respiração e nos deixam na dúvida sobre o destino para onde afinal, tão certos, caminhávamos. A viagem não é linear. E sobre isso eu já tinha avisado. E quando fazemos viagens sem destino pré-definido o prazer de acompanhar o quinteto cresce. Quantos de nós não gosta de se colocar num carro com destino incerto e ir experienciando as peripécias que o inesperado nos pode trazer.


“Twirl” é o momento em que sabemos que estamos a caminhar para o fim do disco. A forma clara com que se anuncia prepara a nossa mente para não deixar passar um único pormenor. 

É incrível como nos sentimos a voltar ao início da viagem. Voltamos aos poucos à escadaria que surge escondida após pararmos o carro.


Voltamos aos momentos que nos fizeram iniciar a viagem. Deixamos o rodopio de “whirl”, esquecemo-nos que estamos em “twirl” e sentimos que voltamos onde tudo começou - “swirl”. Mas isso pensamos nós, porque aos 15 minutos temos de preparar-nos porque a viagem, que parecia estar a terminar, sofre um rodopio. E quando a viagem acaba, sentimos que afinal não estamos no ponto em que começámos. 


Nem pensar!

Um disco para ouvir atentamente onde os cinco conduzem e são conduzidos e nos levam numa viagem com o tempo certo para nos perdermos entre estradas, bosques, escadarias e afins. 

By Margarida Azevedo 

Este encontro Japão-Portugal ocorreu em setembro de 2019 no Barber Fuji, em Saitama. Naoki Kita (violino), Naoto Yamagishi (percussão) e Guilherme Rodrigues (violoncelo) se uniram para uma sessão de improvisação livre, que rendeu cerca de 40 minutos de música repartidos em quatro temas. Aqui temos perceptíveis influências do free impro japonês, inclusive com elementos noise sensivelmente presentes. A gravação mostra o trio em áspero diálogo, que tem nos momentos mais ríspidos seu melhor. A música oscila entre passagens mais detalhistas e pontos de ataques ruidosos mais explícitos, em sequências que guiam os ouvintes por labirintos sem muita clareza de para onde se está indo. De um modo geral, as peças começam de forma mais calma, com os sons vindo e crescendo aos poucos, sendo por vezes um processo muito imagético, chegando a parecer ter sido desenvolvido com o propósito de dialogar com imagens. A faixa III  é a que melhor condensa a proposta do trio, com a música logo rumando para seus picos, soando especialmente cortante passados menos de três minutos. De pizzicato delicado a linhas rascantes, violino e violoncelo compartilham trilhas entrecortadas pela percussão em uma sonoridade que pode oscilar na mesma peça entre ecos meditativos e ataques penetrantes.

By Fabricio Vieira at FreeForm, FreeJazz



I also want to note a new eponymous trio album from cellist Guilherme Rodrigues (b.1988) & two Japanese musicians who've been working in Berlin, Naoki Kita (b.1972) on violin & Naoto Yamagishi on percussion: Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi was recorded — notably in Japan — in September 2019, and consists of four tracks uniting contemporary Lisbon-Berlin investigations with a (perhaps) more Japanese sense of line or even noisy starkness. The result is also something of a milestone for Rodrigues in developing his own style.... (He has a solo album, Cascata, due to appear soon as well, but I haven't heard it.) And although percussion is nominally a rather different instrument, and does sometimes involve more traditional striking, Yamagishi — who has a prior solo album on Creative Sources himself, as well as another digital-only trio release with Rodrigues — often produces various frictional sounds himself, such that the trio can seem like an integral group of bowed strings (albeit the largest having a rather jagged sound). To this, Kita brings an emphasis on continuity, moving through various stylistic invocations while usually maintaining line — a style also found on Arzt, another string trio album on Creative Sources, this time from 2017 & involving Ernesto Rodrigues (unusually) in the lowest part — sometimes down to a lonely drone in harmonics. Although Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi involves something of a "string" trio via timbral matching, then, it also tends to involve rhythmic contours. And not so unlike the recent First and Second (or indeed Switches), a variety of material tends to be arrayed linearly, making for a different exploration of line. There's a detailed feeling for individual sounds as well, but also an evocation of space & distance, or even inside & outside — as worldly invocations mix with internal passions, especially as articulated by cello. (And I should also note that this trio is superficially similar to that on Dethick, as discussed here in May 2019, there with two Japanese musicians around Angharad Davies, and with nominally the same — albeit uncredited — set of instruments: The latter tends toward smoothness, however, rather than a rhythmic profile, and perhaps more significantly in this context, primarily interrogates three-dimensional space rather than line per se. One might note e.g. that "crystalline" references a 3d concept....) The sense of musical line on Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi can also present as something of a sparse travelogue (including cinematically at times) — as noted of other albums here in the past — but can generate new perspectives as well, particularly in its sense of extension (or even distension): A sort of Cageian feel for extending continuity thus comes to suggest almost a cantilever, or maybe the wire strands of Calder... as maximal influences (noir, carnival, distant rural skulking...) are distilled into a sort of perspectival but sometimes noisily dissonant minimalism. In this sense, the lines of Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi sound constructed or (perhaps tenuously) erected, rather than merely following (or traveling) the contours of preexisting space. And so in its creative engagement with humanity & humility, the trio can sound lyrical or romantic as well, albeit concluding the album with some quirky rumbling counterpoint.

1 July 2020, Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts, Medieval.org



La soirée japanaise II

 ***** Naoki Kita, Guilherme Rodrigues & Naoto Yamagishi

For me, this trio album, recorded live at Barber Fuji in Saitama, Japan in September 2019, is the most beautiful album of Guilherme that I know. It was mixed, mastered and cover art by Carlos Santos, and released in May 2020 in the middle of the Covid19 crisis. It contains 4 track, each of them being a masterpiece of meditative free improvised chamber music that combines Western aesthetics with Eastern meditative depth. "I" starts with a pulsating pizzicato of the violin and cello, and incredible percussion sounds. Guilherme and Naoki starts then to bow in a distorted, expressive way, and return to "fake" sounds end effects. There is a certain tension in the air, yet at the end everything return to a peaceful synergy. "II", the over 13 minutes long highlight, is similar, yet very different. Again, "fake" sounds of hard-to-guess-origin are omnipresent in the beginning, but then full of expression bowing starts. The final is again more peaceful and joyful, with repetitive, minimal motifs. "III" is a shorter track that combines abstraction and openness with the minimal music elements. The closing "IV" is a 10 minutes long musical journey between West and East with violin sounding sometimes like koto and cello like an approaching thunderstorm. 

 I am ashamed of not knowing Naoto Yamagishi (born 1979) earlier -- for me one of the most interesting percussion discoveries of the recent years.
Creative Sources - CS XXX CD Naoki Kita (v); Guilherme Rodrigues (clo); Naoto Yamagishi (perc). September 2019. 


By Maciej Lewenstein


Three wind instruments, three strings, piano, percussion and electronics - the Red List Ensemble can boldly set off on a post-cameralist journey through the nooks and crannies of sounds, their complex textures, creating a multi-layered narrative, realised in real time, often using so-called extended techniques. In other words, we are at home!
At the start of the performance, the musicians propose small, broken phrases, interspersed with longer sound passages. Some of the artists' actions seem to be pre-programmed (predefined) or saved on - perhaps - non-existent five lines. Everything is done here in focus, without haste or excessive escalation of emotions. Noises and rustling, breathing and sound jigsaw puzzles - this is a small orchestra that is looking for a dramatic point of attachment. Electroacoustic freedom created mainly by acoustic sounds. Chamber music charged with concepts, which explodes from time to time, and then quickly returns to the contracted structure of the story. Nerves on the lead, patience, meticulousness and dramatic omission. The invisible conductor perfectly controls the temperament of nine instrumentalists. In the middle of the first part a dramatic silence begins to rise above the stage, interrupted by electroacoustic incidents. The narrative, however, takes on a collective character and the direction of the journey is indicated - the brass bands discuss with the strings, while the cheerful piano and nervous percussion sow occasional ferments. The electronics add their three inferiorities, as well as the broken phrases of the saxophone, clarinet and trombone. The story is agilely extinguished by acoustic details.
The beginning of the second story sinks into silence. The instruments seem to generate nano sounds, single micro stamps of phony, and the musicians breathe deeply and sweat from waiting. The narrative resembles a puzzle consisting of a thousand elements - filigree acoustics and somewhat illustrative electronics, created for films describing the conquest of space in the middle of the last century. Foggy resonance, low, slender strings, dry wind jets and flat percussion. After 10 minutes flow gradually starts to take life, without any dynamic attributes. Finally, after 17 minutes, the minimalist piano builds an intriguing exposition, which is adorned with brass halfdrons. After the next few minutes, the intricately created story grows brilliantly, and then it disappears just as attractively.
The piano does not lose the resonance from the previous part and a clever sequence of sounds opens the third story. Single jerks by the strings, patches of wind-breathing, intricate, again a little puzzling spider web of events. Acoustic instruments without the support of electronics begin to activate their actions, and a signal to increase collective creativity is given by a loud shot from the cello, perhaps showing that it is the musician holding this slender instrument in his hands that is the main driving force behind the Red List Ensemble. The sound arrives in a unit of time - our participation includes longer para-jazz exposures of the saxophone, clarinet and trombone, supported by relatively active drumming. In the middle of 12 minutes, the narrative sensually fades away, and the phase of the bodily drones envelops the stage. The aura of electroacoustic dark ambient lasts until the piano starts its small but charming preparations. This event takes place after 15 minutes. Stains of non-invasive electronics additionally build up tension. Murmuring, noises, small phrases - the subcutaneous life of the narrative takes on a blush. The collective swarm of creation begins to pay off for the musicians. After 20 minutes they start to play really loudly (for the terms of this story), their rehearsals taste almost post-industrial. After another two minutes, at the signal of an invisible conductor, the RLE starts searching for the last sound. He does it in a very stylish way, step by step, after all, the aesthetics of chamber suspense is his strongest weapon.

The Red List Ensemble Scope (Creative Sources, CD 2020); Marko Hefele - violin, Rieko Okuda - piano, Michael Thieke - clarinet, Guilherme Rodrigues - cello, Matthias Müller - trombone, Mia Dyberg - alto saxophone, Klaus Kürvers - double bass, Sofia Borges - percussion instruments and Richard Scott - electronics. Recorded in January 2019, StudioBoerne45, Berlin. Duration - 63:47.
In SpontaneousMusicTribune by Andrzej Nowak


Músico português que hoje é parte activa da cena berlinense da improvisação, o violoncelista Guilherme Rodrigues é o mentor (que não o líder, pois trata-se de um colectivo não hierárquico) deste Red List Ensemble em estreia discográfica. Nele encontramos também uma improvisadora (além de compositora e intérprete de música contemporânea) de origem lusitana que escolheu Berlim como cidade de habitação, a percussionista Sofia Borges, ao lado de figuras de diversas nacionalidades que na Alemanha têm a base do seu trabalho, designadamente Marko Hefele (violino), Rieko Okuda (piano), Michael Thieke (clarinete), Matthias Muller (trombone), Mia Dyberg (saxofone alto), Klaus Kurvers (contrabaixo) e Richard Scott (electrónica).

Na linha das preferências da música erudita desde o século passado e da música improvisada que se emancipou da herança do free jazz, as opções daquilo que ouvimos em “Scope” vão para o timbre (e daí os cromatismos que atravessam todo o disco) e para a textura (a criação de massas sonoras de densidade vária). Se são essas também as características da tendência reducionista da improvisação, com a qual alguns destes músicos estão identificados, a abordagem é outra e define-se pela relacionação do “near silence” com o ruído, numa obliquidade performativa que volta a cruzar em John Cage as noções de que tanto o silêncio como o som supostamente não musical podem ser matéria da música. O interessante é que, dentro deste quadro em que quietude e intensidade se vão mesclando e em que o muito pequeno, enquanto condição, não contradiz a quantidade com que tais diminutos elementos vão surgindo (o reducionismo advogava, para além de uma diminuição de volume, também uma diminuição de sons tocados), a influência do jazz faz-se algumas vezes sentir, sobretudo nas intervenções de Muller, Thieke e Dyberg. Há, de resto, por aqui um curioso regresso a conceitos mais convencionais de harmonia e de ritmo, em alto contraste com o uso de técnicas alternativas na execução dos instrumentos. Um álbum que merece escuta atenta.

In Jazz.pt by Rui Eduardo Paes


Another masterpiece released los tiempos de colera on April, 3rd 2020.
Red List Ensemble was founded in Berlin in 2019 by Guilherme.
Quoting liner notes: "The ensemble's textural approach presents us with a cellular music created from an eminently timbral dimension, open to truly free and infinitely variable acoustic and electronic possibilities." This beautiful album was recorded at StudioBoerne45 in Berlin. The music forms a coherent superposition of free improvisation, composed free improvisation, contemporary classical music. It is mostly acoustic, but includes very important electronic elements provided by Richard Scott. "Scope" has three parts. "I" lasts 16 minutes and is notable for incredible work of strings (Guilherme Rodrigues and Marko Hafele) and winds entries. Here the connection to XXth and XXIst century classical music is very clear. "II" is different: it starts very quietly, with various effects, breaths and breathing, delicate percussion accents, and so on... After 5 minutes electronics enters, dominates and retires, being accompanied by strings, percussion and winds. Winds produce a quiet repetitive fragmented sounds and effects inviting strings to join. The final few minutes, with piano taking the lead, are magisterial: it is free minimal music at the highest possible level. Part "III"
is the longest and lasts over 27 minutes. It starts with wonderful, but short piano introduction. The strings enter, as well as the beautiful live electronics, and then the winds. The sounds of this collective improvisation appear to be independent and independently fragmented, but augment and get correlated. Collective improvised synergy rules the game, in which acoustic and electronic parts intertwine and create a true wonder. It is the music that cannot be compared to anything else, an artistic
discovery of incredible importance.
By Maciej Lewenstein


Portuguese, the Berlin-based cellist Guilherme Rodrigues founded the Red List Ensemble as an experimental, sonic lab. This international nonet real-time textual approach would focus on timbral search, would blend free and infinitely variable acoustic and electronic possibilities while using an extensive array of techniques in order to create a universe of complex and unusual dynamics and organic mutations. The Ensemble features, among others, Japanese pianist Rieko Okuda, German clarinetist Michael Thieke, Danish sax player Mia Dyberg, and Britsh electronics player Richard Scott. The debut album of the Ensemble, «Scope», was recorded at StudioBoerne45 in Berlin In January 2019.

The three, untitled extended pieces explore the distinct languages and improvisation strategies of the Ensemble musicians, informed by free jazz, free-improv, and contemporary music, but liberated now from these legacies and distilled into a loose and reductionist, non-hierarchical collective interplay. The nuanced focus on micro-sound events and textures involves dynamics in which the silence/noise dichotomy has an important determining role.

There are endless games of contrasting gestures, between the subtle rhythmic patterns, the harmonic exploration, and the continuous timbral search. The dynamics in the first piece tend to the chaotic, urgent pole but shift into a quiet, enigmatic one, slowly gains more timbral dimensions and more intensity and surprisingly ends in a clear harmonic manner. This undercurrent resurfaces again and again in the last, third piece, intensifies by the contributions of sax player Dyberg and trombonist Matthias Müller and the rhythmic conception of the whole Ensemble and often sounds more as a highly reserved version of free jazz meets free-improv session.

Listen carefully with wid, open ears.

By Eyal Harevueni , Salt Peanuts

Un duo violoncelle (Guilherme Rodrigues) et saxophone soprano et sopranino (Harri Sjöström) basé à Berlin. Guilherme est attaché à la mouvance Creative Sources, label portugais dirigé par son père Ernesto et pour lequel il a enregistré une quantité innombrable d’albums dans la veine lower-case « minimaliste radicale. Harri Sjöström est connu pour avoir joué régulièrement avec Cecil Taylor, Phil Wachsmann, Paul Lovens, Gianni Mimmo.  Dans cet opus enthousiasmant, Guilherme nous fait découvrir son talent de violoncelliste plus proche de la tessiture « normale» de l’instrument en totale empathie avec le jeu étiré, serpentin et intense d’Harri Sjöström.  Chacun d’eux mettent en valeur une pluralité de caractères sonores expressifs, vibrants, cachés, découverts dans l’instant de leurs instruments respectifs. Angles, accents, épures, sursauts, extrêmes, graves ou suraigus. On pourra comparer avec le duo de Gianni Mimmo et Daniel Levin qui partage la même instrumentation (Turbulent Flow /Amirani). Ce que j’apprécie particulièrement dans ces Treasures est l’éventail follement exhaustif de très nombreuses variations dans le choix des timbres et les imbrications, tuilages, juxtapositions, contrastes, enchaînements, tournoiements,  qui les associent et nous donnent le tournis. Une forme de virtuosité véloce est contournée au profit d’une expressivité intense, d’échanges fructueux au niveau des palettes, des couleurs, des reflets rougeoyants, ambrés, ocres, fauves …. Je ne peux m'empêcher de réécouter cette merveilleuse suite d’histoires aux multiples rebondissements. C’est assurément un enregistrement unique de deux individus ouverts l’un à l’autre et qui dépasse leur valeur intrinsèque propre, grâce à leur intense écoute mutuelle et la compréhension profonde de leurs registres intimes particuliers à partager expressément dans leur rencontre. Une musique pleine de plaisirs et de générosités. Un très grand disque.
Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (Orynx)

Bringing together a wealth of experience in contemporary improvised music, Berlin-based cellist Guilherme Rodrigues and soprano and sopranino saxophonist Harri Sjostrom developed these 12 pieces, combining and contrasting their instruments, at times seeming to complete each other's phrases, in a remarkably sophisticated and virtuosic "Treasure". The Squid’s Ear.

An atmospheric duo of the two musicians, who both live in Berlin. As the liner notes point out: "they bring forth an unfamiliar, yet distinctly European idiom that owes a lot to the history of jazz (and the legacy of
 Giuffre, Lacy, Dolphy, and Cora, Honsiger, Reijseger, Holland) as well as contemporary music, reminiscences of which are so clear sometimes." They play twenty short miniatures lasting from one to seven minutes, and to and half on average. The associations with the music of Anton Webern, Helmut Lachenmann and Giacinto Scelsi music are in place. The synergy between the violin of
 Guilherme and the saxophones of Harri is incredible. I, somehow, like particularly the pieces for sopranino for their specic sound complicity. Very beautiful album, highly recommended!
By Maciej Lewenstein

 

Há discos assim, e o facto de não haver muitos que assim são valoriza-os ainda mais. Quando dizemos “assim” é porque a música que está lá dentro tem em si mesma – mesmo que não consideremos quem a criou e as histórias que lhe deram realidade – algo que a liberta das leis da gravidade e a torna especial. Não era preciso mais nada para que discos como este se impusessem num circuito, como o da música improvisada, em que as edições se fazem em todo o mundo às centenas, senão milhares. No caso de “The Treasures Are” há, no entanto, algo de extra a ter em conta, e esse extra está no facto de nele encontrarmos um pioneiro da livre-improvisação europeia, o finlandês Harri Sjöström, há quase quatro décadas radicado em Berlim, a tocar com um dos seus mais jovens valores, o português Guilherme Rodrigues, também ele com casa montada na cidade alemã: é como se nas 20 miniaturas que compõem o álbum, envolvendo nada mais do que um saxofone sopranino (ou soprano, por vezes) e um violoncelo, estivéssemos a assistir a uma passagem de testemunho. Ou melhor: à transmissão de uma herança.
 Sjöström foi aluno de Steve Lacy, privou tanto com John Cage, o compositor que demonstrou que o silêncio não existe, que também é música, como com George Russell, o inventor do Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. Este é o mesmo Sjöström que teve durante anos uma colaboração intensa e extensiva com Cecil Taylor, que tocou com luminárias como Bill Dixon, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey e Vinko Globokar e que tem estado sempre presente na nata da chamada improv, em repetidas parcerias com gente como John Russell, Phillip Wachsmann e Lawrence Casserley. Tal figurão da música do instante criada com referências simultâneas nas tradições do jazz e da clássica não teve dúvidas em emparceirar com o miúdo de Lisboa que foi crescendo na música em grupos vários liderados pelo seu pai, o violetista Ernesto Rodrigues: o que ouvimos ambos fazer em conversações espontâneas tão empáticas, apesar de nunca enveredarem por mínimos denominadores comuns, que mais parecem ter sido escritas, chega a ser motivo de espanto. A música dança, eleva-se do chão e fica-lhe uns metros acima, tornada gesto absoluto, escultura móvel, sendo a própria mobilidade que a torna visível. Guilherme Rodrigues fica agora com a responsabilidade de levar para o futuro o legado que Sjöström lhe deu em vida e percebemos nestas peças com toda a clareza que o fará com desvelo… Rui Eduardo Paes (Jazz.pt

Another inspired, multi-generational combination of musicians is to be found on The Treasures Are, a duo recording from Sjöström and the younger cellist Guilherme Rodrigues. All of the music on the recording presumably was improvised, but the quality of the interplay is such that parts sound as if they had been composed prior to the performance. Much of the credit for this goes to Rodrigues, who seems largely to be responding to Sjöström’s inventive leads throughout much of the recording. Rodrigues has an almost telepathic ability to complete Sjöström’s phrases, create lucid, coherent harmonies from Sjöström’s melodies, and spin Sjöström’s lines into impromptu canons. Both Sjöström and Rodrigues take the music to many places–from abstract expressionist squeals and squeaks, through freely atonal lyricism, to quasi-conventional harmony—without losing a sense of continuity or stalling for time. In sum, a quite beautiful performance of contemporary European improvised music from two highly attuned players.
Daniel Barbiero (Avant Music News)

O veterano saxofonista finlandês Harri Sjöström se uniu em duo ao violoncelista português Guilherme Rodrigues para esta sessão realizada há pouco mais de um ano, em novembro de 2018. Sjöström, com umas quatro décadas de história na música improvisada, na qual se destacam diferentes gravações que fez com Cecil Taylor, vive na Alemanha há bastante tempo e foi lá que formou esta parceria com Rodrigues. A dupla criou um total de 20 peças, a maioria bem curta, entre 1 e 3 minutos, para compor este The Treasures Are. A música é improvisação livre do mais alto nível, com precisão, inventividade e técnicas apuradas gestando uma sonoridade desafiadora aos sentidos e de grande apelo expressivo. Focado na família mais aguda dos saxes – toca aqui soprano e sopranino –, Sjöström trava verdadeiras batalhas com Rodrigues, mas sempre em uma disputa que visa a unicidade e, daí, o surgimento de temas de complexidade elevada, mas atraentes à escuta. Há peças em que a voz mais enérgica e cortante do duo sobressai, como III e X; e há outras em que temos a oportunidade de vê-los em voltagem mais relaxada, como em VI e XIII. Dentre as várias pequenas peças que nos levam de um extremo a outro, há o tema central, XI, que traz quase oito minutos e funciona bem como uma maneira de vermos o diálogo do duo se desenvolvendo de forma mais ampla e variada. De uma possibilidade expressiva a outra, a multiplicidade de ideias de dois músicos em sintonia perfeita.
Fabricio Vieira (FreeForm, FreeJazz)




Ernesto Rodrigues has been releasing so many improvising string ensemble albums, especially with his son Guilherme on cello, but also in various other contexts (e.g. the Lisbon String Trio), that they almost become their own genre. Moreover, Ernesto's recordings with Guilherme & Dietrich Petzold (on violin, viola, and sometimes other instruments) have become so numerous of late that they start to form a subgenre: In particular, while their series of interactions began (at least on recording) with Sacred Noise (a double album recorded in October 2016), much of this activity occurred in 2018, with the quartet album Get Your Own Picture (a meaty, hour+ long album recorded in Berlin in October 2018) being the latest installment. Get Your Own Picture actually follows (by recording date) closely on the heels of two "Creative Sources Digital" albums already appearing with Petzold & recorded a few days earlier that month (as already mentioned in December 2018), but also shortly after the second trio album, Ljubljana (also discussed here in December 2018) & the quartet albums Crane Cries (discussed April 2018) & Dis/con/sent (discussed October 2018): The latter, along with the digital-only releases, features Matthias Bauer on bass, while the former involves Elo Masing on violin (& thus, unusually for this developing genre, includes no bass) to form a more classical string quartet. And I say "more" because Petzold not only switches between violin & viola on Crane Cries & elsewhere, but sometimes includes e.g. keyboard, or even jagged bowed metal on Dis/con/sent.... Get Your Own Picture, however, not only continues to reprise the "jazz string quartet" with double bass, but involves Jan Roder for the first time: Roder had been discussed here (in May 2017) around Happy Jazz (with Olaf Rupp), and his participation apparently yields a more generally classical motivic & assertive atmosphere. Get Your Own Picture is then an extensive album, alternating shorter & longer tracks — & although the shorter tracks aren't necessarily punchier than passages within the longer sequences, the album does begin that way (i.e. almost in a late Beethoven-esque mode), before becoming sparser on the second track, which does itself eventually return to more straightforward melodic figures.... There's thus more traditional counterpoint, and more motivic repetition in general, than on many Rodrigues albums, but extended technique (e.g. in pizzicato or harmonics) is also sometimes featured beyond the basic arco sound: There's thus some "quiet scuffling" at times, but also boisterous "traffic" activity amid a variety of procedural journeys.... Given the ensemble & concomitant sophistication, a ready comparison is with the Stellari Quartet & its recent release Vulcan (itself recorded back in 2016), on which an ongoing group of four virtuoso string players develops a variety of styles & interactions over an extended series of tracks — apparently deriving from at least a couple of sessions & maybe more: Such an approach to performance & selection yields a rather weighty tome for the listener, deriving from years of interactions, whereas Rodrigues releases albums prolifically (often quite soon after recording).... Rather than such a dense & singular result (as Stellari makes an impression in part by being distinctive), Rodrigues' output thus consists of endless internal variation, both in quotidian inspiration & via a developing series of musical partners: It comes to elaborate its own sense of familiarity, and bares that development to the listener by releasing so much similar music, even if one outcome of such an orientation is to diminish the impact of individual issues. (In turn, the "process" becomes that much more transparent.) Within that context, then, Get Your Own Picture provides a relatively accessible (even melodic at times, yet still stimulating) snapshot of Rodrigues' work with Petzold in Berlin in 2018.
Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts

Sometimes the legendary abundance of Creative Sources releases can be a double-edged sword. While it does warrant the awareness of diverse lexicons introduced by artists of varying renown and extraction, the risk is also high of overlooking precious stones amidst the mass. Mycelial Studies – staged on June 28 and 29, 2018 in Munich by Udo Schindler (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and cornet), Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and Guilherme Rodrigues (cello) – potentially belongs in that category. The concerts are now immortalized on a 2-CD set comprising about 130 minutes of music that appears surrounded by a halo of importance (for lack of a better word).

The latter trait is suggested by several factors. To begin with, Schindler and the Rodrigueses exude rigorousness, reflected in each fragment of what they play. The trio acts as seriously as a speechless gathering of monks prior to a ritual. The most crucial aspect in such a typology of performance is the capacity of dissecting the timbral grain to collect every penny of substance and gravity. The inquisitive listener perceives individual notes, the superimpositions and permutations, and – naturally – the resulting impulsive counterpoint. But even in the parts where the propagations of tones and phrases promotes severe intricacy, the original silence from which everything comes is always discernible. You can feel the molecules in the air before they start to vibrate after the triggering gesture.

Having said that, there are moments that literally verge on dramatic, the parallelism of urgencies pushing the interplay towards areas of (still elegant) pre-explosiveness. Three men dance barefoot in between strident clusters, serpentine lines, sharp harmonics. In total control of dynamics and pigmentations, their ears are perennially perked up to catch the infinitesimal motion. The marriage of chronic arrhythmia and imperturbable atonality symbolizes the sort of equality/equanimity only achievable through a dispassionate analysis of the problems presented by a conversation. However, where regular folks inevitably fall – namely, placing the ego firmly in charge in a growingly pointless chit-chat – musicians at this level of perception keep indicating methods for fortifying a healthy rationalism, without forgetting the necessary visionary hues.


By Massimo Ricci, September, 2019