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Ernesto Diaz-Infante / Manuel Mota / Gino Robair / Ernesto Rodrigues: Our Faceless Empire

Mark Corroto By

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The meeting of four skilled improvising musicians—two from Lisbon, Portugal, and two from San Francisco—is cause for celebration on these nine ephemeral pieces. Surprisingly, Our Faceless Empire is not a live date; instead, it was made in an Oakland, California studio in 2006. By the very nature of this session, an audience—or any outside noise or distraction—might take away from the overall aura of its sounds.

The meeting emphasizes both the acoustic and the electric. Portuguese players Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and Manuel Mota (electric guitar) join Californians Ernesto Diaz-Infante (steel-string acoustic guitar) and Gino Robair's electrified surfaces and voltage experiments.

The tracks accentuate the quartet's interplay, shying away from the all too common use of tension-and-release and, instead, relying more on a calming equanimity of texture, and sometimes making sound for sound's sake. The players tend to pulse, allow for energies to cycle through and opt for responding to each others' thoughts.

With sounds are almost more visual than aural, Our Faceless Empire sparks the imagination by conjuring forms, colors and perceptions of touch rather than sound. Perhaps it is the energy fields created by the intersection of the acoustic and electric—or, maybe, the Portuguese and the North Americans.


Track Listing: Nosso Rosto Empire; Luftzucker; Mi Conde, el odiosas; O, Bursty Bruegel; Intervalos de confianza; Vida de lujo; Emético Labilty; Um Lilburn em Flovilla; A Cartesian Blaspheme.

Personnel: Ernesto Diaz-Infante: steel-string acoustic guitar; Manuel Mota: electric guitar; Gino Robair: energized surfaces, voltage made audible; Ernesto Rodrigues: viola.

Title: Our Faceless Empire | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pax Recordings

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