"E eis mais um resultado da crise pandémica em curso. João Madeira, Helena Espvall, AnnaMaria Ignarro e Noel Taylor (dois cordofones, contrabaixo e violoncelo, e dois clarinetes, soprano e baixo) pegaram na metodologia surrealista que ficou conhecida como “cadavre exquis” (e daí o nome do quarteto) e cada um/uma gravou em casa no ano que passou (confinamento oblige) uma série de solos improvisados apenas com os tempos predefinidos. Madeira recolheu-os e montou as peças que ouvimos em “Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo” – só numa, a que se ouve logo na abertura, “Adieu Amennotep”, se acrescentou outra regra, o clássico formato ABA. O interessante da situação é que a conjunção de materiais tão diversos tenha resultado tão convergente. Ouvimos e parece que todos os quatro músicos estão a tocar na mesma sala, ouvindo-se e reagindo uns outros.
Para tal efeito muito contribui o facto de cada improvisador ter uma abordagem compositiva da espontaneidade criativa. Ou seja, os motivos sucedem-se, parecendo que uns geram outros. Aqui, o vácuo (entenda-se: o vazio social introduzido pelo vírus da Covid-19 e as medidas políticas impostas para o combater) é mesmo múltiplo, mas com uma multiplicidade que se complementa, dando corpo musical à ideia de que, quando olhamos para o abismo, este mira-nos de volta e nós aprendemos a lidar com essa presença. Uma coisa é certa: se a presente situação deixou os músicos numa situação ainda mais precária do que era habitual, a música, essa, encontrou formas engenhosas de continuar a acontecer. Ainda há esperança para a humanidade."


English (Google translate):


"And here is another result of the ongoing pandemic crisis. João Madeira, Helena Espvall, AnnaMaria Ignarro and Noel Taylor (two chordphones, double bass and cello, and two clarinets, soprano and bass) took up the surrealist methodology that became known as “cadavre exquis ” (hence the name of the quartet) and each one recorded at home over the past year (confinement oblige) a series of improvised solos only with the pre-set times. Madeira collected them and assembled the pieces we heard in “Da Multiplicidade do Vacuo" – only in one, the one heard right at the opening, "Adieu Amennotep", another rule was added, the classic ABA format. The interesting thing about the situation is that the conjunction of such diverse materials has resulted in such convergence. that all four musicians are playing in the same room, listening and reacting to each other. The fact that each improviser has a compositional approach to creative spontaneity contributes greatly to this effect. In other words, the reasons follow one another, seeming to generate each other. Here, the vacuum (understand: the social vacuum introduced by the Covid-19 virus and the political measures imposed to combat it) is indeed multiple, but with a multiplicity that complements each other, giving musical body to the idea that, when we look at it, to the abyss, it looks back at us and we learn to deal with that presence. One thing is certain: if the present situation has left musicians in an even more precarious situation than usual, then music has found ingenious ways to keep happening. There is still hope for humanity."


Rui Eduardo Paes,


"Quartet Exquis takes its name from the Surrealist's word game, called 'Cadavre Exquis'. Each participant in Cadavre Exquis could add only single word, not knowing what words had preceded their own. Just as Cadavre Exquis was governed by simple rules, they created their own guidelines." This is a home recording - from Lisbon, Carcavelos, and Brussels in 2020 - a clear result of the COVID era.The music is on the verge of classical contemporary music (Françios Poulenc, Giacinto Scelsi,...), contemporary "third wave" jazz à la Jimmy Giure, contemporary lm music à la Nino Rota and contemporary free improvisation. An excellent album from the quartet, which "unearthed a
radical method of composition lying among the embers of the Covid-19 crisis."
The highlight of the album is 12 minutes long "Amateur of Velocipedes". In this case,Helena Espvall made a solo recording on cello, and then sent them to each of the other three: The receiving musicians then improvised to the solo, unaware of how the others had responded. They sent their own recorded tracks to João Madeira, who assembled the music that resulted. Another favorite of mine is "Destinée Arbitraire", created in the similar way, based on clarinet solo of AnnaMarie Ignarro. Excellent stuff! "


Maciej Lewenstein




"Il quartetto portoghese Quartet Exquis si è trovato durante il periodo del lockdown del 2020 a confrontarsi con la letteratura surrealista ed il loro metodo di scrivere chiamato “Cadavre Exquis”, in cui ogni scrittore aggiungeva qualcosa ad un testo che non conosceva. E così, sotto la spinta del contrabbassista João Madeira ci si è riuniti intorno all’idea di fare qualcosa di simile anche in campo musicale, arrivando ad un’incisione piuttosto singolare per il modo in cui è stata elaborata in studio. Gli altri partecipanti al progetto sono AnnaMarie Ignarro al clarinetto, Noel Taylor al clarinetto basso e Helena Espvall al violoncello. ognuno ha registrato la propria parte senza sapere quello che gli altri avevano fatto, poi in studio si è messo tutto insieme. Il risultato è soprendente João Madeira, in fondo i musicisti si conoscevano bene prima che la pandemia li constringesse a restare lontani l’uno dall’altro, da questo tipo di situazione, con le antenne puntate sulla sensibilità altrui, è venuta fuori una musica libera, senza costrizioni, allo stesso tempo rilassante e coinvolgente se le si presta la giusta attenzione. È una forma telepatica di comunicazione, messa insieme anche con l’aiuto della tecnologia moderna in studio e che ha aiutato di certo i partecipanti ad uscire da un periodo difficile per tutti."




"The Portuguese quartet, Quartet Exquis, found themselves confronted with Surrealist literature during the lockdown of 2020, especially the “Cadavre Exquis” method of writing, in which each writer adds a part to an unknown text. And in this way, under the guidance of double bassist João Madeira, they united around the idea of creating something similar with music, arriving at a rather unique recording due to the way it was processed in the studio. The other participants in this project are: AnnaMarie Ignarro on clarinet, Noel Taylor on bass clarinet and Helena Espvall on cello. Each musician recorded their own parts without knowing what the others had played and in the studio, everything was put together. The results are surprising; the musicians have known each other from before the pandemic restricted us to stay apart, so from this situation, with antennas aimed at the sensitivity of others, this free music was born without constrictions, simultaneously relaxing and engaging if you give it the right attention. It’s a form of telepathic communication put together along with the help of modern technology in the studio and it has certainly helped these musicians come out of a period which was difficult for everyone."


Vittorio, MuzicZoom

Musica Jazz (originally in Italian)

"Two clarinets and two strings, two women and two men, equally distributed next to one other. An excellent, very elegant album; chamber music that is bright and never stuck up. This is how the “multiplicity of emptiness” comes to us, what this Portuguese quartet conveys to its audience. An album of extreme rigour also because it is engraved in the rules imposed by Covid, carefully mentioned by Noel Taylor, appropriately expanding the question of, “What happens when the musicians improvise without knowing what the others are playing?” Chaos, one might think. We allow ourselves to disagree, borrowing the concept of Cadavre Exquis from the Surrealists where those who arrive after do not know how much has been written previously and this has been transported to the musical field. The result is a strongly interactive new method of composition. To premise what is usually called a “declaration of intent,” this, as mentioned, comes in contact with a work of great aesthetic coherence, very precious under the timbral profile, never predictable or covered up in the dryness of certain chamber music, even jazz, advanced but never presumptuous (or pretentious or specious). In conclusion, an absolute gem."

Jazz Weekly

"In the liner notes, the question is asked “What happens when musicians improvise without knowing what the others are playing?”. They to differ that the result is chaos, but these seven “songs” state otherwise. With AnnaMarie Ignarro/cl, Noel Taylor/bcl, Helen Espvall/cel and Joao Madeira/b there is a taking turns of intros, with Ignarro passing the torch on the fragmented “Adieu Amennotep” giving long tones with Taylor on “Raices” and teaming with some bass pizzicatos for “The Anatomy of Disquiet”. The bow almost saws the bass in half on the altissimo “Destinee Arbitraire” and there’s more edginess than a Hitchcock slasher on “Amateur of Velacipedes”. Dali to music."


Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo é um trabalho da autoria do Quartet Exquis, formação constituída por AnnaMarie Ignarro (clarinete), Noel Taylor (clarinete baixo), Helena Espvall (violoncelo), e João Madeira (contrabaixo). O álbum surgiu da ideia de João Madeira de explorar os processos subjacentes e resultados da aplicação de um cadáver esquisito à improvisação musical, este que é um jogo de palavras surrealista, surgido em meados dos anos 20 do século XX, em que cada participante acrescenta uma palavra a uma frase sem ter conhecimento das palavras que já lhe foram adicionados anteriormente. Este método de improvisação já havia sido experimentado por João Madeira em Imaginary Folk Songs, álbum que o contrabaixista gravou, tal como este Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo, durante o primeiro confinamento de 2020, com Paulo Chagas e Paulo Duarte.

Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo foi gravado impondo directrizes orientadoras a cada tema, com os músicos a tocarem de forma completamente independente, sem qualquer conhecimento do que os restantes improvisadores se encontravam a fazer. Nalgumas faixas, certas variáveis foram mantidas constantes, tais como, por exemplo, as batidas por minuto ou a região tonal, esta mantida aproximadamente fixa recorrendo a solos de cada um dos membros do quarteto, solos esses que foram depois usados como bases sobre as quais os restantes músicos improvisaram. Noutra faixa, foi pré-determinada uma estrutura do tipo ABA com vista a criar um tema que alternasse entre tempo rápido (A) e tempo lento (B). Noutra faixa, ainda, foi acordada a inexistência de qualquer estrutura pré-definida, com a duração total do tema a ser o único parâmetro restritivo. As improvisações individuais foram, por isso, tocadas de forma totalmente livre e espontânea, sem grilhões rítmicos, melódicos ou harmónicos.

O título Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo advém do nome de uma tela de Cruzeiro de Seixas, poeta e pintor português que faleceu no final de 2020, sendo este disco uma espécie de homenagem à sua obra. Os restantes títulos dos temas advêm também eles de obras da autoria de artistas surrealistas, havendo referências tanto a Frida Kahlo (“Raíces”) como a Marcel Duchamp (“En prévision du bras cassé”), entre outros. Os resultados musicais são surpreendentes, principalmente tendo em conta o processo subjacente à gravação do disco. A sonoridade é límpida e elegante, com momentos de miraculosidade musical em que surgem pequenas coincidências rítmicas, harmónicas e melódicas, que nos fazem imaginar que o quarteto partilhou um qualquer tipo de comunicação não-verbal, telepática, aquando da feitura deste disco, porventura advinda do conhecimento de uma linguagem comum de improvisação, subconsciente, quiçá, que permitiu, mesmo a distancia, antever os caminhos mais prováveis de serem percorridos neste acto de composição espontâneo e não-sincrónico. Improvisação não-idiomática baseada em metodologia heterodoxa absolutamente essencial para interessados em música criativa."

English (Google Translate)

Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo is a work by the Quartet Exquis, formed by AnnaMarie Ignarro (clarinet), Noel Taylor (bass clarinet), Helena Espvall (cello), and João Madeira (double bass). The album arose from João Madeira's idea of ​​exploring the underlying processes and results of applying a weird corpse to musical improvisation, which is a surrealist wordplay, emerged in the mid-20s of the 20th century, in which each participant adds a word to a sentence without being aware of the words that have already been added to it previously. This method of improvisation had already been tried by João Madeira in Imaginary Folk Songs, an album that the double bassist recorded, as well as this Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo, during the first confinement of 2020, with Paulo Chagas and Paulo Duarte.

Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo was recorded imposing guidelines for each theme, with the musicians playing completely independently, without any knowledge of what the other improvisers were doing. On some tracks, certain variables were kept constant, such as, for example, the beats per minute or the tonal region, which was kept approximately fixed using solos by each member of the quartet, which solos were then used as bases on which to build. the remaining musicians improvised. In another track, an ABA-like structure was predetermined in order to create a theme that alternated between fast tempo (A) and slow tempo (B). On another track, it was agreed that there would be no pre-defined structure, with the total duration of the theme being the only restrictive parameter. The individual improvisations were, therefore, played completely freely and spontaneously, without rhythmic, melodic or harmonic shackles.

The title Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo comes from the name of a canvas by Cruzeiro de Seixas, a Portuguese poet and painter who died at the end of 2020, and this record is a kind of tribute to his work. The remaining titles of the themes also come from works by surrealist artists, with references both to Frida Kahlo (“Raíces”) and Marcel Duchamp (“En prévision du bras cassé”), among others. The musical results are surprising, especially considering the process behind the recording of the record. The sound is clean and elegant, with moments of musical miraculousity in which small rhythmic, harmonic and melodic coincidences appear, which make us imagine that the quartet shared some kind of non-verbal, telepathic communication, when making this record, perhaps from the knowledge of a common language of improvisation, subconscious, perhaps, which allowed, even from a distance, to foresee the most likely paths to be followed in this spontaneous and non-synchronous act of composition. Non-idiomatic improvisation based on unorthodox methodology absolutely essential for those interested in creative music.

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