According to hexagram 51 in the I Ching, "True quiet means keeping still when the time has come to keep still, and going forward when the time has come to go forward. In this way rest and movement are in agreement with the demands of the time, and thus there is light in life."*
The Creative Sources release Lisboa is a sublime illustration of the ability to honor stillness. The five pieces were recorded by a powerhouse group of European improvisers: violist Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues are from Portugal; pianist Lisa Ullén is from Sweden; and laptop and objects master D'Incise as well as drummer and objects master Cyril Bondi are from Switzerland. Yet on this recording, the group's power consists precisely in their ability to hold back, to wait with open ears and then step forward at the music's behest.
Recorded in Lisbon in January 2012, in a small studio with a grand piano and the warm Portugese night outside, Lisboa consists of five tracks that slip together so effortlessly, they feel like a comprehensive suite. The group creates a one-voice of gentle electronic doings — a few ghostly piano chords, some faraway booms, occasional remote bowing, bells here and there, a shifting family of drones, and various mysterious aural creatures born from electronic parents. Nothing is particularly loud or jarring; everything occurs in the range of the subtle and slow, and perhaps it is the tender pace of the suite that ultimately makes it so refreshing. This music is the opposite of hurrying: it uses time and sound in a way diametrically opposed to the great rush that humanity seems so intent upon.
Entering this recording feels like stepping into a faraway dream, a world gently haunted by vanishing sound. It's a timeless space of no reference, and as a result the music is immensely peaceful and pleasing. Lisboa is an elegant dance of cooperation, a bouquet of sound by electroacoustic masters — and thus there is light in life.
*The I Ching: Or Book of Changes. Translated by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967, 1st ed. 1950).
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