Asteres Planetai

Ernesto Rodrigues :: viola
Nuno Torres :: alto saxophone
Mike Bullock :: modular synth

Lisbon, 2013
Record by Paula Soares at Tcha3
Mixed and mastered at the Circular Ruins by Mike Bullock
Cover design by Carlos Santos
Produced by Ernesto Rodrigues
Creative Sources 2013


REVIEWS

Curiosamente, ou nem tanto assim, é menos gestual o sintetizador de Mike Bullock em “Asteres Planetai”, registo em que Nuno Torres completa o trio. A qualidade bruitista da música repete-se, desmistificando a ideia de que a electrónica analógica cria mais grão, e mais uma vez aplicam-se perspectivas não literais de movimento. O que, de resto, favorece a envolvência onírica desta incursão. Rui Eduardo Paes (Jazz.pt)

The title of this release is Greek for “wandering stars,” the name the ancient Greeks gave the planets, whose orbits appeared irregular compared to the observed circular motion of the so-called fixed stars. It serves as a nice metaphor for the sounds created by these three instrumentalists which, like the observed paths of the planets, converge and diverge in patterns that resist reduction to simple figures.
Recorded in June 2013 in Lisbon, the three improvisations presented here feature Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Nuno Torres on alto saxophone, and Mike Bullock on modular synthesizer. All three tracks consist of sound construction built up of quiet textures and drones interspersed with moments verging on silence. The subtle dynamics are occasionally broken by upsurges in volume, which are all the more dramatic given the general understatement of the playing. The twittering, humming and burbling sounds of Bullock’s modular synth act as a sort of frame within which Rodrigues and Torres set out their own sounds. Both approach their instruments as material to be broken down into constituent parts: Rodrigues anatomizes the viola through exploratory string tapping, plucking, and a skittering bow, while Torres somehow makes reed, breath and metal tube audible as separate sound sources. In sum, this is improvisation of a gratifyingly nuanced. kind. Daniel Barbiero (AMN Reviews)

Nice title… :-) From June, 2013, a trio with Rodrigues again on viola, Torres on alto saxophone and Bullock eschewing bass in favor of his modular synth. As one might expect, quite different from the above, more visceral including the in and out usage of drones or drone-like passages effected, I think, both by the alto and the synth. It’s not frenetic by any means just a few notches higher on the urgency scale than “Late Summer” as well as sporting an expanded sonic palette. Torres does a welcome job of allowing the listener to forget that there’s a saxophone present while, on the other hand, Rodrigues engages in a tad more “traditional” technique extensions on the viola. Bullock seems to supply much of the material here, unless I’m confusing sources (quite possible), issuing metallic bubbles here, static there and various shades of sine-age throughout and interpolating a surprisingly loud and “inappropriate” noise on occasion which is much appreciated. It closes with watery gurgles…Not as captivating as the Malfatti trio but solid enough and well worth hearing. Brian Olewnick (Just Outside)

Os astrónomos gregos utilizavam a expressão “asteres planetai” – “estrelas errantes” – para classificar os objetos que aparentemente se movem no céu. Ao longo das três faixas deste disco o trio constituído por Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Nuno Torres (sax alto) e Mike Bullock (sintetizador modular) desenvolve uma música que parece viajar na atmosfera sideral. Não é um voo tumultuoso, é um trajecto planante em piloto automático, sem surpresas, sem grandes desvios de rota ou obstáculos de maior. De uma forma geral o trio revela estar muito focado e coeso. Os pontuais momentos de maior intensidade partem do sintetizador de Bullock. Rodrigues, Torres e Bullock podem não ser estrelas, mas vão-se movendo, ainda que de forma tranquila. Nuno Catarino (Bodyspace)

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