Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ernesto Diaz-Infante - Emilio / Civilian Life

About two years ago, this blog dealt for the first time with Ernesto Diaz-Infante, by reviewing "Our Faceless Empire", collaborative release, later included among the best of 2010.
After that, Ernesto (read this previous post) released two works, "Emilio" and "Civilian Life", respectively published in late 2011 and early 2012, the first on Kendra Steiner Editions, the second on his own label, Pax Recordings.

"Emilio" (the title comes from the name of Ernesto's uncle) consists of 32 untitled free-form sketches, each with a small duration, ranging from a few seconds to two minutes, for a total length of around half an hour.
A set of freehand drawings, each endowed with distinctive features: Diaz-Infante succeeds in giving uniqueness to the tracks, avoiding the risk of redundancy, likely consequence of playing only one instrument, in this case the bajo sexto. That's a valuable addition, that's so for "Emilio".
The mosaic structure of the work does not preclude the possibility to notice a linear sequence of performance. On the contrary, the miniatures can be easily inserted into a logical framework of composition.

What comes out are sounds in multifarious forms: sometimes the strings are gently touched by fingers or slightly scratched with objects, at times they seem to speak in a pleasant tone. Sometimes the contact is even more detectable: the instrument is used in a percussive way.
The results vary from peaceful, hypnotic passages to droning textures, whereas, in other circumstances, the sounds become harsh, hollow, even noisy.

An interesting exercise of improvisation, highly spontaneous, that also highlights Ernesto's skill and mastery of the medium.

Label: Kendra Steiner Editions
Cat. #: KSE #206
Format: CD-R
Release date: 12/2011

01-32 - Emilio I-XXXII (32:42)

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Just a few months after "Emilio", Diaz-Infante released "Civilian Life".
Tangible differences with the previous disc here, from both conceptual and methodological perspectives.
Ernesto describes this work as a collection of mantra guitar recordings, embracing a period of nine years (from 2003 to 2011).
Thirteen pieces created by using a large number of instruments: acoustic and amplified bajo sexto, various types of acoustic guitars, singing bowl, electronic tanpura. Environmental recordings are marginally present (in the first track and in "A Gentle Reminder").

The album's common thread appears to be the concept of repetition applied to the sound, and here you can find some good examples of that: a measured pace in "Sun Hypnotic!", pure fluidity in "Easy To Disappear Into This Fog", a waving movement in "The Morning Sun Pours Through The Window", an echoing resonance in " Memories, Like Clouds . . .", the sonic balance of "JT".

In some segments the main theme is interpreted and put into practice literally ("Palais Idéal", "Shellacking The Sidewalk") or expressed in a more articulate manner, rather digressive: that's the case of "Yerba Buena", long piece, full of energy and motion.
A rhythmic acceleration as leading factor in "La Casa Encendida", that offers a lilting tune taking up the entirety of the track, bringing to mind an ancient ballad.
"The Pedestrian Tunnel At The Conservatory Of Flowers" is rich in simplicity: an acoustic guitar treads the path, very little notes, recurring, a melancholic ambiance that comes to life.
"Small Halo", only 27 seconds, closes this excellent album, further proof, if any were necessary, of great artistic inspiration conveyed in music.
Quality that Ernesto Diaz-Infante possesses.

Label: Pax Recordings
Cat. #: PR90290
Format: CD
Release date: 02/2012

01 - Welcome To San Francisco (00:37)
02 - Sun Hypnotic! (03:29)
03 - Easy To Disappear Into This Fog (08:26)
04 - Yerba Buena (12:23)
05 - A Gentle Reminder (00:21)
06 - The Morning Sun Pours Through The Window (01:59)
07 - Palais Idéal (04:10)
08 - Memories, Like Clouds . . . (02:06)
09 - JT (01:45)
10 - La Casa Encendida (07:50)
11 - Shellacking The Sidewalk (02:02)
12 - The Pedestrian Tunnel At The Conservatory Of Flowers (03:28)
13 - Small Halo (00:27)

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  • Itz'at (1997, Pax Recordings, PR90245)
  • Tepeu (1998, Pax Recordings, PR90247)
  • Ucross Journal (1999, Pax Recordings, PR90249)
  • Pith Balls And Inclined Planes (2000, pfMENTUM, CD005) (w/ Jeff Kaiser)
  • Solus (2000, Pax Recordings, PR90250)
  • Wires And Wooden Boxes (2001, Pax Recordings, PR90252) (w/ Chris Forsyth)
  • Crashing The Russian Renaissance (2002, Pax Recordings, PR90253) (w/ Alex Rudis, André Custodio)
  • 'march' (2002, Pax Recordings, PR90256) (w/ Chris Forsyth)
  • Untitled (2002, AZA Foreign Lands, aza 003)
  • Long Await Between Collapsed Lungs (2003, Pax Recordings, PR90257) (w/ Pablo St. Chaos, Bohol)
  • Grand Mal (2003, Pax Recordings, bar 1234/pax) (w/ Kyle Bruckmann, John Shiurba, Karen Stackpole)
  • Ernesto Diaz-Infante (2003, Pax Recordings, PR90259)
  • (As Is Stated... Before Known) (2003, Evolving Ear / Pax Recordings, EE07 / PR90263) (w/ Chris Forsyth)
  • All The States Between (2004, Pax Recordings, PR90262) (w/ Matt Hannafin)
  • Mirrors On The Crisis Of The Moment (2005, Stasisfield, SF-4003)
  • Reverberations From Spring Past (2006, Pax Recordings, PR90281) (w/ Marcos Fernandes, Robert Montoya, Rent Romus)
  • CRR Live (2007, Pax Recordings, PR90268) (w/ Alex Rudis, André Custodio)
  • Our Faceless Empire (2010, Pax Recordings, PR90289) (w/ Manuel Mota, Gino Robair, Ernesto Rodrigues)
  • Emilio (2011, Kendra Steiner Editions, KSE #206)
  • Civilian Life (2012, Pax Recordings, PR90290) 
  • At The KSE 6th Anniversary Concert (2013, Kendra Steiner Editions, KSE #255) (w/ Lisa Cameron, Lee Dockery)
  • A Hallowed Shell Of Ash And Rust (2013, Erototox Decodings, etd0021) (w/ Helena Espvall)
  • Wistful Entrance, Wistful Exit (2014, Kendra Steiner Editions, KSE #279)
  • Sol Et Terra (2015, Kendra Steiner Editions, KSE #299) (w/ Lisa Cameron) 
  • The Lovers Escape / Los Amantes Escapan (2018, Kendra Steiner Editions, KSE #387) 
  • For M.F. (2018, Pax Recordings, PR 90291)

    Appears on:
    • Triangle - Triangle (Moving Lines Recordings, 001)
    • Left Coast Improv Group - Left Coast Improv Group (Jimzeen Productions, CD1003)
    • The Abstractions - Sonic Conspiracy (2002, Edgetone Records, EDT4012)
    • Left Coast Improv Group - April-May 2002 (2002, Edgetone Records, EDT4014)
    • rev.99 - Everything Changed After 7-11 (2002, Pax Recordings, PR90255)
    • VV.AA. - Soun - An Anonymous And Random Compilation / Composition (2003, Gameboy Records, GB34)
    • Moe! Staiano's MOE!KESTRA! - Two Forms of Multitudes: Conducted Improvisations (2003, Pax Recordings, PR90261)
    • The Abstractions - Ars Vivende (2003, Edgetone Records / Pax Recordings, EDT4019 / PR90260)
    • Dave Tucker West Coast Group - Tenderloin (2004, Pax Recordings, PR90264)
    • Muck - Roc (2004, Pax Recordings, PR90272)
    • The Abstractions - Novo Navigatio (2004, Edgetone Records / Pax Recordings, EDT4027 / PR90275)
    • United Satanic Apache Front - Fuck Your Freedom (2005, Adversary Recordings, ADV 006)
    • Voices In The Wilderness - Dissenting Soundscapes And Songs Of G.W.'s America (2006, Pax Recordings, PR90276)

    Tracks appear on:
    • VV.AA. - NFCD (1997, X-UNITS, XUN002) track: Excerpt From Tryptich, Panel One (w/ David Dvorin)
    • VV.AA. - Microcassettor Volume One (2001, Sounds From The Pocket, ps/1) track: Sawdust And Streets
    • VV.AA. - Sounds For Collector Scum (2002, The Seagull Label, 018) track: The Long Road To Royalty
    • VV.AA. - Noises For The Limb - A Tribute To The Bonzo Dog Band (2003, Wood Records, WD69) track: 11 Mustachioed Daughters
    • VV.AA. - Praeface (2003, Praemedia, praecd001) track: Electostatic Blues (w/ Lance Grabmiller)
    • VV.AA. - Eld Rich Palmer Off-Line (2004, Eld Rich Palmer, --) track: On The Corner (Market And Sixth)
    • VV.AA. - Mandorla Autumn Tunes Net-Collection Vol. 2 (2007, Mandorla Netlabel, MNL 011) track: En El Otono De La Vida  
    • VV.AA. - KSE 10th Anniversary Album (2016, Kendra Steiner Editions, KSE #331) track: The Lovers

    Ernesto Diaz-Infante @ the Luggage Store Gallery, SF, 2/9/12


    Ernesto Diaz-Infante
    Kendra Steiner Editions
    Pax Recordings