Reviews | Live at Casa da Música

Is one hour-long untitled piece that constantly changes dynamics. It starts off with two glassy slide guitars, slowly rises into a boisterous horn-led massive group shout, and continues alternating soft, small instrumental combinations and loud massed rumblings for the duration of the performance.
With this large a group there is invariably a lot of variety throughout. In the larger sections you can hear a trumpet ringing out Spanish cadenzas, saxes bellowing, guitars crashingand a vocalist howling in tongues over it all. The quieter parts feature, among other things, trombone bleats, a chorus of flutes, a snatch of accordion and even just a thick electronic hum. No soloists are identified so it’s impossible to pinpoint most players but there is a striking sound collage about halfway hrough where the two drummers have a bashing duet and are joined by, first, Chiara Picotto’s guttural vocal noises and then Peter Bastian reciting poetry. There is enough detail in this performance to make it constantly intriguing and the pacing is so well done that the volume changes are always effective. This orchestra’s swooping, soaring music is a fine addition to the growing field of large group improvisation.  By Jerome Wilson  Cadence


Only now I finally managed to listen to this, a 33-element orchestra conducted by Ernesto Rodrigues who also handled violin chores in it, performing together with several names that we found on past Creative Sources recordings, plus someone else whose activities I’m not familiar with; the taping occurred in 2007. Given the considerable quantity of instrumentalists and the unevenness of the music flux, you could easily envision Rodrigues having a hard time in controlling things. Still, the overall effect is quite agreeable, sort of Centipede meets Portuguese improvisation with a tendency to extreme blast-outs on the one hand and calmer vistas replete with sliding guitars, slow surges and pre-recorded tapes on the other. In virtue of the difficulty of creating truly memorable matters in such a one-off perspective – not to mention a rather inconspicuous recording quality – the CD is surprisingly good and almost entirely deprived of encumbrances, an appreciable vital pulse maintained throughout a full hour. The secret (maybe): VGO don’t remain too long mumbling and pondering around occasional moods and functional ideas. Their instant organization of the acoustic mutability always appears relatively tight, litheness and fun the keywords most everywhere. By Massimo Ricci  Touching Extremes