“Recordings, dating from 2010-2011 (Namouche Studios, Lisboa), by a Portuguese trio ended up last year as a CD-release for the Canadian Tour de Bras-label that concentrates on new and improvised music mainly of Canadian origin. I’m glad they made an exception with this charming release. Cellist Miguel Mira is the veteran of the three. A multi-disciplinary artist who plays jazz and improvised for many years now. Joao Camoes (violin) is classically trained but discovered improvised music after moving to Lisboa. He is involved in numerous initiatives and has also his own projects around (Open Field String Trio, Nuovo Camerata, etc.). Pianist Pinheiro also has a background in classical music before entering improvised territories. Their eight improvisations on this record are all of a subtle and delicate nature. You have to concentrate while listening to their excursions in order not to miss something. And that is a rewarding experience I can say. The use a wide range of dynamics and intensity. In their own words the music is “focused on the balance between a contrasting counterpoint, polyrhythms and fluid soundscapes”. They use extended techniques in a relevant manner, as an integrated part of their musical vocabulary and grammar. Pinheiro is fantastic in pieces like ‘Airfall’. But above all it are their intimate musical constructions that impress and are completely convincing. Hope this trio is still around!”
Dolf Mulder / Vital Weekly
“João Camões (violon alto), Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) et Miguel Mira (violoncelle) possèdent l’art de naviguer large. Parfois s’affrontent, s’invectivent (Theorical Morning, Stifling Contretemps), donnent à leurs phrasés des tempi distincts (Imprint) mais ne sont jamais aussi convaincants que lorsqu’il s’agit d’ariser leur fougue (Dream Theory).
Se détachant, les voici pénétrés par d’étranges songes. Tenant la matière, se servant d’un piano pour détendre et affirmer une harmonie, violoncelle et alto délient les cadres et, par petits traits, explorent les recoins les plus obscurs de ces temps allongés, étirés. On entendra alors de fins craquements, de fins ricochets. Ils se recentreront alors. Iront jusqu’à s’effacer, s’éteindre. Mais au loin, résistera la riche résonance d’un piano toujours prêt à devancer l’aventure. »
Luc Bouquet / Le son du grisli
A trio concerned with the linkage between notated and improvised sounds is Lisbon-based, EarNear; its self-titled debut CD appears on the Rimouski-based TourdeBras label (TDB90012 CD tourdebras.com)
. Conversant in many genres, violist João Camões, pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro and cellist Miguel Mira expose textures unique and unexpected for a chamber ensemble. Although strident, speedy and high pitched much of the time, generic continuum is maintained with Mira connectively thumping out what would be the bassist’s role in jazz. On the other hand barbed wire-like sharpened sweeps from Camões, plus inner piano plinks, plucks and crackles confirm the modernity of the performance on tracks such as Airfoil. The responsive nature of the trio’s narrative is such though, that even Gõmbõc, the lengthiest and most cerebral performance, is tempered with sympathetic piano chording and bass string pressure. This leads to a tonal resolution of what begins as a cacophonous battle, with rugged low-pitched string scrubbing on one side and euphonious textures expressed in bell-like, near-harpsichord vibrations on the other.
Ken Waxman / The Whole Note
A primeira a referir é a mais preciosa: Rodrigo Pinheiro participa na estreia dos Earnear na canadiana Tour de Bras, juntamente com João Camões e Miguel Mira, este igualmente bem conhecido além-fronteiras devido à sua inclusão no Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio.
Muito graças à instrumentação envolvida – viola e violoncelo para além do piano de Pinheiro –, o formato desta muitíssimo aliciante proposta é o da música de câmara em versão improvisada, e se uma das técnicas utilizadas, o contraponto, provém da herança em causa, têm outra proveniência os restantes elementos. Designadamente, a polirritmia, vinda de África por via do jazz, e um “soundscaping” referenciado na electroacústica experimental e no ambientalismo.
A atitude irreverente, extravagante até, do trio abana com os modelos camerístico e da própria música improvisada, pelo que o minuto seguinte pode trazer algo de que não se está à espera. Camões e Mira fazem maravilhas neste “Earnear”, mas o que Pinheiro nos oferece aproxima-se do sublime. Quando a sua mão chega às últimas notas do lado direito do teclado, é como se ouvíssemos vidro a partir-se.
Rui Eduardo Paes / jazz.pt
Il s’agit d’un trio instrumental avec João Camões à l’alto, Rodrigo Pinheiro au piano, et Miguel Mira au violoncelle. Enregistrement de 2014, au Portugal. Après quelques instants d’écoute, j’ai failli passer à autre chose, considérant un peu hâtivement que cette musique me fatiguait déjà il y a quarante ans, et que…Puis, par conscience professionnelle (ou quelque chose d’approchant), j’ai laissé les tours succéder aux tours, et fus plutôt agréablement surpris par une musique qui ne doit que très peu au jazz moderne, aussi virtuose soit-il, mais qui se libère très vite de tous idiomes soporifiques. A suivre donc, cette proposition très personnelle.
Dino / Revue & Corrigée
Improvisation worthy of serious consideration should always include a degree of hostility in a positive, and ultimately creative sense. Or – at the very least – set the listener uncomfortable from more than a single point of view, among them the inevitable human tendency to classification. In truth Earnear, debut recording of the namesake trio, answers to these and other questions, having given this reviewer quite a hard time – in spite of repeated attempts – for its absolute unsusceptibility to a rigorous formalization of its nature.
The eight tracks introduce to a responsive synergy, explicated in diverse types of probing by players in obvious command of their instrumental attitudes. Aspects related to the aggregation of voices in search of a common thread are immediately visible in the opening “Imprint”, one of the most agitated pieces together with the similarly animated “Stifling Contretemps”. The talkative interplay, the will to show the potentialities of the respective instruments, the near-immoderate involuntary counterpoint give sometimes the idea – if you pardon the oxymoron – of an amicable fight. Across lucid-to-chaotic structures, acoustic representations of perspicaciousness materialize.
However, Earnear reveal their finest intuitions while intent in attentively exploring and enhancing the space around the pitches (and derivations thereof). Unequivocally attributing equal evocative power to rich resonances and exiguous noises, they generate truly beautiful sonorities (“Dream Theory”, “Airfoil”). The copious harmonic content of each timbral manifestation helps in eliciting secretive chiaroscuros and intriguing ruptures of silence. “Restraint” is not an unknown word for these musicians; still, the quiet procreation of diminutive sonic shapes does not rule out spikes of dynamic energy (“Theoretical Morning”). You will need to put the hours in to detect the particulars: headphones are strongly recommended, for every small movement counts in the music’s overall balance.
Camões, Pinheiro and Mira succeeded in relinquishing a large part of the egotistical features of their improvisational personalities, essentially voicing a collective acumen by adding elements of neatness even to the sections partially affected by a lack of proper organization. This ensures the total absence of flabby debauchery in the performance, whose level of incisiveness remains adequate throughout the disc.
Massimo Ricci / Touching extremes