«It starts with a shouten «Hiken!» and the Argentinian duo Elgier and Quinteros immediately let fly. He plays piano, she plays cello, and together they make more racket than most quartets, their chaotic improv conducted with a jerky energy that verges on the comedic. Explosive moments are balanced by subtler pasagges where the pair hunker down, working microscopicaly at their instruments with the surprising grace of a contortionist folding himself into a suitcase». The Wire
Por «the modern folk music of america»
alex elgier and cecilia quinteros – hiken!
‘hiken!‘ is a long form improvisation for cello and piano by the argentinian duo of alex elgier and cecilia quinteros. it’s an abstract and energetic piece of music, starting with a vocal exclamation before diving into the languages and possibilities of the two versatile instruments involved. the textures and moods vary throughout the length of the song from chaotic to meditative, with moments that celebrate the maximum presence of sound and spans that revel in its near absence.
i especially enjoy the passage from roughly 5 to 9 minutes in, a middle-intensity rumble that foreshadows a lull in the piece, as well as the stately, dissonant climax around minute 14, which is followed by a meticulous study in melodic and rhythmic decay. there are tons of beauty to be lifted across the length of this song, with the potential to manifest itself differently with repeated listens. highly recommended for fans of free jazz and contemporary classical music.
The collaboration of acoustic strings with synthesizer can be a challenging. Both strings and electronics are capable of great timbral range, but of qualitatively different sorts. Combining them in real-time performance opens up many different possibilities, and therefore requires some judgment on the part of the collaborators. One such possibility is to set out a contrastive juxtaposition in which each contributor retains its characteristic voice. That is the possibility realized by synthesizer player Cecilia López in her collaboration with double bassist Amanda Irarrazabal and cellist Cecilia Quinteros in a set of pieces recorded live in Buenos Aires this past July.
Over the course of six tracks and 31 minutes, López, Irarrazabal and Quinteros work a creative parataxis in which strings and synthesizer occupy distinctive spheres. Both string players explore expanded sound palettes, but no matter how extended the techniques drawn on, the rasp or creak of bowhair on string, the snap of metal against fingers or wood and the physical thump and projection of pizzicato passages all serve to announce the quintessentially acoustic presence of double bass and cello. The sonic balance of these pieces tends to tilt toward the strings, but those moments when the synthesizer comes through are notable for introducing characteristically electronic colors into an otherwise predominantly acoustic weave of sound.
Eriza – Arde
By: Will Pinfold
Released on July 18, 2016 via Pan Y Rosas Discos
The poet Philip Larkin once, somewhat uncharitably, described Ornette Coleman’s great Free Jazz as a ‘patternless reiterated jumble’, but whereas to modern ears the Coleman double quartet’s sax/trumpet/bass/drums/clarinet lineup sounds quintessentially jazzy, the texture of Argentinian-based improvisational trio Eriza’s piano/bass/cello is far less easily identifiable by genre. The music too, is closer to Larkin’s description, but here, as in its original context, whether it constitutes a criticism is purely subjective. Arde certainly feels patternless, but Eriza’s is (on this album at least) essentially an expressive rather than reflective approach and when it succeeds it does so on an intuitive, primal level.
The three longish (12, 9 and 17 minute) pieces (culled from two live performances, in November 2015 and June this year) are varied in tone, but all share a sometimes frenzied, unmusical (or even anti-musical) unpredictability that makes them hard to assimilate, but also hard to enjoy as music; the appeal is far closer to that of a harsh noise project like Merzbow, although the texture and technique are entirely different. Having said that it’s patternless, a methodolgy of sorts does emerge in the three pieces, each of which begins with an audibly tentative section as the musicians feel their way into the improvisation, and each piece at some point builds to a peak of manic intensity. It’s a remarkably Dionysian, ritualistic experience, especially given the absence of any kind of regular rhythm or tempo, and it’s a testament to the skill of the players, Tatiana Castro Mejía (piano), Amanda Irarrazabal (bass) and Cecilia Quinteros (cello) that they generate so much expressive power without drawing on any traditional musical forms.
The downside of this approach is that the three pieces, though all intermittently powerful are also fairly similar, especially the first two (both from 2015), since the ambience and acoustics are identical on both. ‘November 11, 2015 Part One’ opens with unpromising assorted squeaking and sawing from the stringed instruments and maintains an edgy tension throughout, enhanced by a sinister piano figure that emerges a few minutes into the performance. Although without traditional percussion, there are a plethora of knocking, slapping, scraping and smearing noises that punctuate each performance. At their most powerful, Eriza make a strongly atmospheric, unified if not harmonious noise, but the first track, though interesting throughout (especially in its last, actually quite jazzy passage) never really establishes a mood that lasts beyond its duration.
The second track is taken from the same performance and embodies even more strongly the strengths and weaknesses of Eriza’s approach. Opening with an onslaught of bustling, clattering percussive noise made apparently by battering the stringed instruments (with their bows?) while the piano plinks in exactly the way it would if an untrained person was thumping it, it’s extremely energetic, but initially (on the recording at least) not hugely gripping. The track moves into extreme territory with the introduction of some visceral (and perhaps cathartic) vocals, with two bellowing/shouting/screaming voices which segue into an almost manaical sopranissimo; for the unengaged listener it’s a bit silly, but it does add another texture to the strange and distinctive cacophony. Much better is the tense, slow last passage where the violin, bass and cello scrape ominously against tentatively struck piano chords, creating an airy ambient reverberating quality that yet becomes extremely oppressive before its abrupt ending.
At seventeen minutes, the third piece (dating from June 2016) is the longest, but in its initial phase, the least successful of the three, while also having the best actual sound. For a good seven minutes, it seems to capture the trio as they wheeze and prod around but never quite gel with each other as they do in their more coherent moments. After a brief pause they reconvene with what is possibly the most ominous but also one of the most affecting passages on the album. Grim and at times even beautiful in a stark, bleak kind of way, it exemplifies Eriza’s apparent tendency to actively shrink away from anything that could be perceived as pretty or sentimental. There is a brief section lasting for around a minute, where Cecilia Quinteros’ cello is played with an almost formal ‘cleanness’, but, as if rebelling against this moment of conventionality, she brings it to a close with a vicious scraping noise before the group again joins in a kind of competition to reach the most extreme noise capable in an acoustic instrument; an orgy of scrapes, bangs and jittery wails that reaches a kind of manic peak as the album ends, leaving in its wake a rather blissful silence. Again, the comparison that springs to mind is not avant garde jazz or classical music, but noise, or the noisy ‘chamber doom’ of Mohammad, although Eriza’s work is mostly less dense and oppressive and naturally less ‘composed’.
Arde then, is an extremely dynamic and inspired work, but one to be approached with caution unless untrammelled, unfettered creativity at its least compromising and tuneful is your thing.
«eriza is an argentinian improvisational jazz trio featuring cello, bass, piano and vocals. their latest release, ‘arde‘, is a collection of three free improvisations recorded live. the music is visceral, free and aggressive, coming on like a blinding storm with clacking, grinding and pounding, accompanied by screams and shouts.
Review: Cecilia Quinteros + Wenchi Lazo – YAS
Two instruments, two very different improvisatory circumstances. I hear Cecilia Quinteros’ cello through a very organic lens: the fierce strike of the bow, the fingers skipping up and down the neck, the sound rushing into the resonant wooden body of the instrument. Changes in timbre are conducted through changes in physical pressure, bow angle and bowing speed, from squeals of high harmonics to splutters of choked pizzicato. In contrast, Wenchi Lazo uses electronic FX to crush the signal of his guitar, often shedding all resemblance to the source signal as it crumples into distorted burps or liquefies to form beautiful, high-frequency droplets. On my left, I hear the expressive potential of physical movement and muscle. On my right, I hear the pliability afforded by communicating via immaterial electronic signal. The gymnast and the scientist. Both players try to fathom the sudden and unannounced transformation of the other (the gymnast blinded by feats of sonic construction, the scientist taken aback by yoga-like contortions in physical posture), responding to each shift in emotional state with instinctual bleats of anger or confusion or shock. Whichever arrives first.
For much of its playing time, YAS resembles the babble that emerges when the body reacts before the mind can render the response coherent: Lazo produces spurts of distortion that sound like someone forcing air out of tight lips, while Quinteros hacks at her strings as if trying to saw the cello in two, panting in frantic harmonics and frictional scrapes. Both send their hands scrambling up and down the instrument neck, producing mad dialogues of flurried pitches and botched notes, not so much communicating with eachother as barking in primal exclamation. It’s beautiful to observe, and regardless whether I’m hearing Quinteros’ palms smacking the cello body or Lazo’s estranged slugs of electronic noise, the sincerity of each emission never feels in any doubt.
CECILIA QUINTEROS/WENCHI LAZO. Yas. Edición independiente.
Por Jorge García
La música improvisada tiene en nuestro país muchos más cultores de lo que generalmente se piensa, y son muchas las variantes que se proponen dentro de este específico terreno. En este caso es el dúo integrado por Cecilia Quinteros en cello y Wenchi Lazo en guitarra eléctrica y procesadores el que se entrega a la deconstrucción de las distintas variantes del jazz, algo que ya se puede apreciar desde los títulos del disco y de los temas (Yas, Jot, Suin, Vivop, Cul, etc.). Por supuesto que quien espere encontrar alguna referencia a esos estilos en los distintos temas se llevará un lindo chasco, ya que solo funcionan como una suerte de guía para la sucesión de desaforadas improvisaciones del dúo. Quinteros realiza un auténtico tour de force con su instrumento, ya que utiliza el arco, los dedos y también la caja y las cuerda como instrumentos percusivos, en tanto que Lazo arranca de su guitarra los sonidos más imprevisibles, plagados de distorsiones, disonancias y todo tipo de efectos, convirtiendo ambos músicos cada una de las improvisaciones en un hecho único e irrepetible. Un disco para escuchar con los oídos abiertos y destapados y sin pensar en otra cosa durante su audición.
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