Alfredo Costa Monteiro




While the first movement of «Aérea» shows the most «opulent» aspect of Ruth Barberan and Alfredo Costa Monteiro, who blow into trumpet and accordion with all their force like if they had to deliver themselves from years of frustrating muteness, the remaining parts are more typical of these artists’ «post-timbral» harshness and irony. Ruth’s initial sequences of more polite notes soon become a skating figure rotating all over your teeth, her cynical games of air and tongue assuming the role of a pulmonary power plant emitting shrieks and metallic fury. Alfredo approaches his accordion with a bright sense of investigation, generating layer upon layer of disembodied harmonics that are washed away by the tides of a dirty insistency, his dissonant potential at times exquisitely refined and detailed but more often tending to a barely controlled pressure. The couple is venomous – but this music is delicious.
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes


If improvising musicians choose a name to work under, it probably means that this is something to last for a longer time. Behind Aerea is Ruth Barberan on trumpet and Alfredo Costa Monteiro on accordion. Their interest lies in playing sustained sounds, of course with the accordion that is a thing to expect. Barberan plays sustained tones on her trumpet, which works really well alongside the accordion. In ‘Ici’ they almost play an electro-acoustic work, with working the surface of both instruments. In the final piece things return towards sustaining sounds in a nice, shrieking substance. Very nice stuff.
Frans de Waard, Vital


I’m not sure if I was influenced by the title and the windmills in the layout, but I feel that this new work by Barcelona-based improvisers Ruth Barberán (trumpet) and Alfredo Costa Monteiro (accordion) features some differences from «Ura» (2003), one of the very first Creative Sources releases. This is obviously due to the lack of Matt Davis at trumpet, but it’s not only that: while «Ici» and «Era mala mare» present Barberán’s and Costa Monteiro’s trademark approach, with sharp and scattered sound-particles, the initial «Luz azul» is as open and bright as the title suggests: both the trumpet and the accordion stay on droning, sustained patterns, making for one of their least violent and most nostalgic pieces.
Eugenio Maggi, Chain DLK


Monteiro, here on accordion, returns with fine trumpeter Ruth Barberan as the palindromic pair, I Treni Inerti, on “aerea”, decidedly my favorite of the four releases covered here and, in all likelihood, the one I’ll return to from time to time. The first track, “Luz Azul”, finds both instruments wielded in relatively traditional fashion, laying out thick, deep waves of sound, washing against one another in long, languorous sighs and moans. “Ici” contains more in the way of breath tones and scrapes from Barberan, wheezes and clatter from Monteiro and, as such, works wells enough but not substantially differently from much music we’ve heard before from them and others. It falters some over its 18 minutes, though it picks up steam now and then toward the end. On the brief final cut, “Era Mala Mare”, Monteiro stays in more abstract territory while Barberan reverts to the deep tones heard on the first piece, all to very strong effect. Perhaps not up to the best work by these musicians as heard on other recordings from this label, but a pretty nice disc and one worth hearing.
Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen


«Aérea» to druga plyta formacji I treni inerti, która obecnie tworza hiszpanska trebaczka Ruth Barberán oraz mieszkajacy od kilkunastu lat w Barcelonie multiinstrumentalista (w tym skladzie grajacy na akordeonie) Alfredo Costa Monteiro. Podobnie, jak jej poprzedniczka, wydana w 2003 r.
«Ura», i ta zawiera muzyke prosta i surowa, wrecz ascetyczna, lecz, co wydawac by sie moglo nieco dziwne, bo przeciez liczba muzyków zmniejszyla sie, o gestszym, bardziej intensywnym brzmieniu. Jak to zwykle w przypadku tej dwójki bywa, sporo jest tu «brudnych» dzwieków: odglosów dobytych z udreczonych instrumentów – uciskanych, szarpanych, drapanych, przedmuchiwanych, pocieranych, nieco zaskakujace novum stanowia czesto pojawiaja sie wyrazne melodie i harmonie.
W otwierajacym plyte utworze «luz azul» brudu jest stosunkowo niewiele, funkcjonuje on niczym przyprawa, majaca dodac muzyce odrobine goryczy I kwasnosci, sprawiajac, ze pomimo uzycia dosc konwencjonalnego instrumentarium utwór smakuje inaczej niz bysmy sie mogli spodziewac.
Zreszta to nie koniec zaskoczen, bo «normalne» glosy instrumentów sa normalnymi tylko w miare, gdyz trabka bardziej przypomina tybetanski róg niz narzedzie pracy jazzmanów, zas akordeon «gra dronami», które brzmia jakby wydobyte byly z fisharmonii. Calosc jest nieco statyczna, zmiany sa powolne i dotycza nie tyle samej melodii czy barw instrumentów, co ich zestawien, delikatnych przesuniec w fazie oraz regulowaniu poziomu glosnosci. Sporo w tym nagraniu przerw, wyciszen, zawiazywania akcji od poczatku, rozpoczynania opowiesci na nowo, powtarzania tych samych watków ukazywanych kazdorazowo z nieco innej strony. I choc muzycy ciagle sie dopelniaja, wspólnie wiodac narracje, to zaskakujaco duzo jest w tym utworze mijania sie instrumentów, sluzacego nie tyle przejmowaniu wiodacej roli raz to przez akordeon, to znów przez trabke, lecz raczej zapelnieniu ciszy dzwiekiem. Utwór drugi «ici» to zupelnie inna bajka. Dzwieki juz prawie wcale nie kojarza sie z klasycznymi instrumentami, to nagranie to raczej specyficzny field recording – zapis wedrówki gabki i pumeksu przez rure wodociagowa – dominuja swisty, szumy, warkoty, stukoty, odglosy pocierania I przedmuchiwania, pojawiaja sie jakichs sprzezen i zaklócen. Dopiero kiedy po jedenastu minutach przez chwile akordeon przemawia rozpoznawalnym glosem, przypominamy sobie czym posluguja sie Barberán i Costa Monteiro. Wejscia akordeonu nie maja powodowac kontrastu, nie staja w opozycji do przedziwnej musique concrete, lecz tylko poszerzaja palete brzmien, która posluguja sie muzycy. Brzmien zestawionych w tak przemyslny sposób, ze nagranie zdaje sie byc, byc moze nie w konwencjonalnym tego terminu znaczeniu, ale zawsze, melodyjne i jest dosc latwo przyswajalne. Utwór ostatni, trwajacy niespelna szesc minut, to niejako synteza dwóch poprzednich. Dzwieki w miare typowe (trabka) i zupelnie nietypowe (akordeon, a wlasciwie chyba jego powierzchnia) mieszaja sie ze soba, stapiaja i lacza, brzmiac jak spiew skorodowanego metalu. I takie wlasnie zakonczenie wydaje sie byc wlasciwym dla tej znakomitej plyty, po która naprawde warto siegnac.
Tadeusz Kosiek, Gaz-Eta


It’s been a couple of years since the debut album Ura by palindromic minimalists I Treni Inerti, since when trumpeter Matt Davis has moved away from I Treni’s home base, Barcelona, leaving fellow trumpeter Ruth Barberán to go it alone with Alfredo Costa Monteiro’s accordion. «Aérea» was the name of the last track on Ura (which some high IQ wag recently noted is, unlike the other track titles, not a palindrome) and it’s here elevated to album status as a three-movement suite. Without Davis to thicken the plot, Barberán’s sustained tones sound more exposed here, and Costa Monteiro’s wheezy squeeze box makes few concessions to good behaviour. Draughty, gritty major seventh and minor ninth drones abound – if the music we rescored for flute and piano («which every professional knows is a boring combination») it might just pass as Feldman. But not for long. Definitely one of the more arid landscapes in the New European Improvisation slide show (file alongside Franz Hautzinger’s Dachte Musik), but look carefully between the boulders and you’ll find some exquisite tiny flowers.
Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic


Aérea (CS 050) is the second disc by the duo I Treni Inerti (Ruth Barberán on trumpet and Alfredo Costa Monteiro on accordion). Many readers will be familiar with these players, both staples of the Iberian improv scene and both of whom have participated in some of Creative Sources’ finest releases. What’s instantly surprising is that, on the first of these three improvisations, the two play so conventionally. That’s only compared to some of their extremely harsh work heard elsewhere, but I admire the way in which these two continually investigate new contexts and strategies. The first piece builds in blocks, proceeds in cells or stages almost like a Scelsi piece (but filtered through, say, Mauricio Kagel’s instrumental sensibility). Monteiro in particular sounds focused on creating very dense slabs of tonality, which Barberán supplements with ethereal drones, muted cries, or wonderfully hideous metallic scrapes. And as the music progresses, it becomes clear that the players are experimenting with attack and decay rather than abstracted techniques or non-idiomatic playing. This isn’t to say that they eschew some of the styles they’re better known for; the remaining pieces, for example, often find them on more familiar ground: conjuring up a symphony of squeaks and hissing, a concerto of growls and murmurs (although they memorably relent on the second untitled piece, with a lovely passage when a shimmering repeated figure from Monteiro conjures up high strings, as Barberán stirs it up in the guttural regions). A very fine recording.
Jason Bivins, One Final Note


Et utvalg på fire utgivelser av en bolk på tolv nye fra Creative Sources. Den portugisiske labelen stadfester sin posisjon som den suverent mest kreative på sitt felt. Kvaliteten derimot er denne gangen mer varierende enn hva man er blitt vant til fra Ernesto Rodrigues’ hold.
Det starter riktig friskt og farlig. Ruth Barberán spøyter harsk luft inn i trompeten, får den til å låte som illevarslende sirener, mens Alfredo Costa Monteiro graver dypt etter slam og bunnfall i belgen på trekkspillet sitt. ”Luz Azul”, det nærmere tjue minutter lange åpningssporet på den nye utgivelsen til bandet med en hang til palindromer, I Trenti Inerti (italiensk for ”de trege togene” eller noe sånt), er veldreid og stemningsmettet. Resten av platen er langt mer utydelig i artikulasjonen, og lever ikke helt opp til forventningene skapt av bandets forrige, ”Ura” fra 2003 (som inkluderte Matt Davis på trompet). Sammenlignet med den og flere av Barberán og Costa Monteiros senere prosjekter – tenker først og fremst på ”Atólon” (Rossbin, 2004) med Ferran Fages, er ”Aérea” mildere i uttrykksformen. Intensiteten er likevel høy, detaljene mange uten å forårsake kaos. Instrumentteknisk er det, som alltid fra Barberán, Costa Monteiro og deres iberiske kollegaer, avansert og kreativt.
Frank Messel, Disquieting Duck


As três peças improvisadas pelo duo I Treni Inerti (Ruth Barberán, trompete, e Alfredo Costa Monteiro, acordeão) no recente «Aérea», são muito diferentes entre si, tendo em comum o aprofundamento da pesquisa tímbrica e textural própria das linguagens da nova improvisação, que investe quase tudo no som enquanto matéria plástica. Dir-se-ia que em Luz Azul, tema de abertura, há ainda vestígios de convencionalismo, no sentido em que soa próximo da música contemporânea escrita, estrategicamente organizada em blocos harmónicos dispostos em camadas que se metamorfoseiam em investidas minimais de acordeão, atravessadas por obliquas figuras metálicas de trompete. Nos dois temas seguintes, Ici e Era Mala Maré (em menor grau, neste último caso), o duo abandona a nota e a escala, optando antes pelas possibilidades das chamadas técnicas extensivas com que exploram o som em toda sua dimensão, incluindo os aspectos periféricos associados, como a respiração, o murmúrio ou o afago suave das peças que compõem os instrumentos. Efeitos que criam uma imagem sonora espectral, acentuada por uma equilibrada gestão da alternância entre som e silêncio. Na derradeira peça, o duo retoma o drone impressionista, como navios que lentamente atravessam espessos bancos de nevoeiro, que se vão dissipando por obra da luz e do calor. O duo ibérico radicado em Barcelona assina um trabalho convicto, resultando num disco de interessante efeito estético e agradável audição.
Eduardo Chagas, Jazz e Arredores