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«Live at Mixtur Ensemble» + «Degenerative Music #2»

Two live albums by of the Barcelona-based label Discordian and of its founder, prolific Venezuelan sax player-composer El Pricto (aka Andrés Rojas) and the Discordian Community Ensemble. This ensemble is employed by El Pricto to explore his most ambitious and experimental projects, often using the improving musicians in a collective setting and inspired and associated with other influential composers and artists.

The first album, «Live at Mixtur Ensemble», was recorded at the Mixtur Festival in Barcelona in October 2021 and presents two ambitious compositions of El Pricto for the eight-musicians ensemble. The first composition, «Life Metallic», was composed for Vasco Trilla’s Bilo Set (Russian Flat Bells) which are tuned in a twelve-tone chord similar to the one used in Polish composer Witold Lutosławski’s «Musique Funèbre» (funeral music in Polish) (1958). The ensemble transforms Lutosławski’s string score into an ethereal and resonant, enigmatic texture, with Trilla’s bells stressing the delicate, fragile tension. The following 5-movement suite «Rumore-forme» is completely different. It is a noise composition inspired by the Italian futurist painter, noise artist and builder of experimental instruments Luigi Russolo (1885-1947), who wrote the manifesto «The Art of Noises» (1913). The suite establishes a narrative made (almost) entirely with non-pitched sounds on the instruments, as the ensemble attempts to emulate the actual sounds Russolo created with his invented noise instrument, the infamous intonarumori (noise player in Italian), created to perform the music suggested in «The Art of Noises». Each movement is named after Russolo’s paintings and all offer fractal growth patterns, in which each movement expands proportionally as the suite progresses. The ensemble manages to replicate the resonant and rattling noises of the intonarumori’s boxes, with an eccentric yet poetic passion, obviously, quite noisy and dadaist one.

The second album «Degenerative Music #2», was recorded later in the same month but with different musicians. Here El Pricto conducts a chamber improvising ensemble of a string quartet plus a drummer and electronics player, with the aim of transliteration on the spot – led by El Pricto the conductor – the scores of two movements of one of the most ambitious chamber works of Joseph Haydn, String Quartet Op.76/IV – 1st and 2nd movement (1797-8) («Degenerative Music #1» adapted String Quartet No. 6 of Ludwig van Beethoven and String quartet No. 2 of György Ligeti, Discordian, 2019). El Pricto transforms the written score into hand signals, which were interpreted immediately by the ensemble, who had no access to the score, and all in real-time. El Pricto calls this kind of conducted improvisation process a «degenerativization» (a term that corresponds with Brian Eno’s concept of Generative Music) of the original works through a distinct language of improvisation decided for this particular ensemble. This method of El Pricto – in his role as a spontaneous degenerator – welcomes errors and dissonant sounds as means to emancipate the music and «let the creative chaos reign!». The transformation of this classic string quartet into an improvised generative language maintains, more or less, Haydn’s inventive and fast-shifting exchange of motifs and the playful markings of tempo. But the restless degenerative adaption – thoroughly on the 1st movement and fairy on the 2nd one – adds an irreverent, sober and quite subversive and ironic perspective on the structure, textures and melodic ideas of the original work.

Eyal Hareuveni

Pablo Selnik (fl), El Pricto (cl, cond (spontaneous degenerator)), Tom Chant (s), Pope (tp), Vicent Muñoz (tuba), Vasco Trilla (perc), Diego Caicedo (el.g), Àlex Reviriego (b), Joan Torné (dr, elec), Jaime Del Blanco (vio), Francesc Llompart (vio), Joao Braz (c), Mariano Camarasa (c)


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