Rhizome (Phonogram Unit)

Daniel Levin cello
Rodrigo Pinheiro piano
Hernâni Faustino double bass


The dictionary tells us that a rhizome is an elongated underground plant stem that produces offshoots and extended roots separate, and not resulting directly, from the characteristics of the actual plant. In the 1980s, French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari borrowed the word to describe historical and cultural networks of information and communication which may derive from multiple, non-hierarchical sources of influence or attraction with no predetermined organization or unifying coherency. In The Mechanic Unconscious, Guattari explained, “Any point whatsoever on the rhizome will be able to be connected to any other point…will not be formalized on the basis of a logical or mathematical metalanguage…will be able to allow semiotic chains of all kinds to connect [in addition to linguistic]…it will imply the implementation of various collective assemblages of enunciation.” Looked at from another perspective, we may recognize this as musical improvisation in its seldom encountered state of ultimate freedom – not a style, but an escape from conventional form and meaning.
Improvisation has come to represent a number of types of spontaneous activity, some based upon a variational approach to given material or structure, a reconsideration of previous modes of expression, or the development of an alternative syntax within a specific musical language – where the “roots” (that is, the decision-making) of the transformational process derive from memory, whether experiential or intellectual. But “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” as the White Queen told Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. The ability to project and extend a musical idea into an environment of seemingly unrelated activity requires an awareness of possibility, a logic of continuity as discovery. This is the foundation from which this trio seeks its identity.
Coming from various backgrounds and a remarkably broad range of stylistic experiences, including dozens of recordings with the cutting-edge of musicians in America and Europe, Daniel Levin, Rodrigo Pinheiro, and Hernani Faustino joined together here for the first time as a trio (although the pianist and bassist have a longtime successful musical partnership) to perform as an experiment in synchronicity, without advance preparation or stylistic consensus. Their compatibility is based upon the acceptance of form as an intuitive, immediate shaping of details, where memory becomes individual narrative, each instrument an equal voice, a distinct thread in the ensemble fabric. The adventure confronts them to provide questions rather than answers. “You are lost the instant you know what the result will be,” according to cubist painter Juan Gris.
To this end, their music reflects a sensitivity of intent; group textures reveal a fluid, intimate, transparency in counterpoint; tension emerges from attention to the uniqueness of the moment, and is resolved in equally nuanced, unpredictable ways – an impulse of spontaneous contemplation, in all of its oxymoronic complexity. The challenge is to sustain the moment without losing contact with what poet George Oppen called “the lyric valuables” – the urgency of expression. In so doing, though the growth of the music takes place beneath the surface, in the subtle shifts of dynamics, dissonance, and juxtaposition, intensity remains constant.
Another poet, Paul Valery, believed “A bad poem is one that vanishes into meaning.” Music, too, may disappear into its own formal necessity. This trio’s solution is not an illustration or explanation, but a revelation. Art Lange

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