Portuguese violist Ernesto Rodriques has appeared as a leader/co-leader on almost two-hundred recordings. He has recorded with The Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, the Luso-Scandinavian Avant Music Orchestra, and several other ensembles. Rodriques was in Lisbon in 2018 when Portuguese native Abdul Moimême
and American saxophonist Patrick Brennan
were recording their duo venture Terraphonia
(Creative Sources Recordings, 2019). At Rodriques' suggestion, the artists launched a project that would pair their experimental skills with an improvising Lisbon string quartet. The resulting album, The Sudden Bird of Waiting
, is an unusually creative collection that defies description.
Brennan's saxophone (and occasionally, cornet) can be an unfathomable portal to a different musical language, and Moimême's dual customized electric guitars are played together with a bow or other device, and prepared with an assortment of items. The string quartet is a variation here; violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Except for Brennan, the artists had collectively worked on Sul
(Creative Sources, 2018), a large ensemble free improvisation project that included percussionist Andrew Drury
. Bassist Hernâni Faustino appeared with Jon Irabagon
on Absolute Zero
(Not Two Records, 2013), and on Birthmark
(Clean Feed, 2017) with Lotte Anker
. Miguel Mira has worked extensively with Rodiques across a dozen recordings, including Incidental Projections
(Creative Sources, 2017) with Fred Lonberg-Holm
The music on The Sudden Bird of Waiting
cannot be described in conventional terms. "O largo aberto das diafonias alertas" rises out of silence, carefully ticking off the contributors and building to a fully engaged sextet. In its late stages the piece takes on a grounded solemnity, but at all points in its thirteen minutes it suggests a surreal consciousness. An interchange between Brennen and Faustino begins "Deslize Möbial. The strings then take the piece on an open-ended colloquy. "Nextness" is driven by the persistent alto, broken up by a rhythmic Brennan spoken word reading of a Randee Silv passage. On "A que distância?" the instruments appear as physical motions, never quite falling in line with each other but awareand empatheticof the surrounding movement.
There is a lot of complicated unpacking to do here, but much of The Sudden Bird of Waiting
has an inexplicable warmth even in its overt abstraction. Like Brennen and Moimême's previous work, much of the interest is generated by the sextet giving alternate voices to their instruments. Moimême often shape-shifts in his adherence between strings and saxophone, when he isn't emitting hybrid sounds. It makes tracking his influence challenging, but that is by design. This is daring experimental music, spontaneous and cerebral.
O largo aberto das diafonias alertas; Deslize Möbial; Nextness; A que distância?; O pássaro repentino da espera.