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.
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