Sometimes the legendary abundance of Creative Sources releases can be a double-edged sword. While it does warrant the awareness of diverse lexicons introduced by artists of varying renown and extraction, the risk is also high of overlooking precious stones amidst the mass. Mycelial Studies – staged on June 28 and 29, 2018 in Munich by Udo Schindler (bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and cornet), Ernesto Rodrigues (viola) and Guilherme Rodrigues (cello) – potentially belongs in that category. The concerts are now immortalized on a 2-CD set comprising about 130 minutes of music that appears surrounded by a halo of importance (for lack of a better word).
The latter trait is suggested by several factors. To begin with, Schindler and the Rodrigueses exude rigorousness, reflected in each fragment of what they play. The trio acts as seriously as a speechless gathering of monks prior to a ritual. The most crucial aspect in such a typology of performance is the capacity of dissecting the timbral grain to collect every penny of substance and gravity. The inquisitive listener perceives individual notes, the superimpositions and permutations, and – naturally – the resulting impulsive counterpoint. But even in the parts where the propagations of tones and phrases promotes severe intricacy, the original silence from which everything comes is always discernible. You can feel the molecules in the air before they start to vibrate after the triggering gesture.
Having said that, there are moments that literally verge on dramatic, the parallelism of urgencies pushing the interplay towards areas of (still elegant) pre-explosiveness. Three men dance barefoot in between strident clusters, serpentine lines, sharp harmonics. In total control of dynamics and pigmentations, their ears are perennially perked up to catch the infinitesimal motion. The marriage of chronic arrhythmia and imperturbable atonality symbolizes the sort of equality/equanimity only achievable through a dispassionate analysis of the problems presented by a conversation. However, where regular folks inevitably fall – namely, placing the ego firmly in charge in a growingly pointless chit-chat – musicians at this level of perception keep indicating methods for fortifying a healthy rationalism, without forgetting the necessary visionary hues.