Rocked by the quietude of suspension, my reflections float on the differences that permeate the apparent sameness of life, which people call monotony or boredom.
how to close your eyes and listen to the grey, filled with colours that only you can imagine? because if you can image, you can see what is there from the start.
normally time flies so fast that the details can’t even be seen. if one slows everything down, what a myriad of small preciosities will, all of a sudden, exist. a world of endless curious mysteries will unfold. the same is always different. and those differences, all together, create a transcendental oneness.
This album was recorded and edited in my living room during the confinement month of April 2020.
THE WORLD OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
STUDIES ON ‘THE SAME IS ALWAYS DIFFERENT’
New York City Jazz Record by Steven Loewy
Recorded at her home in Porto, Portugal, The Same Is Always Different is Silva’s exploration of the extremes of silence and pure sound, a conceptual recording applying an austere mindfulness to solo trumpet. Silva has a distinguished career and has explored a variety of genres, including important albums such as This Love, with pianist Kaja Draksler and with a more jazzoriented quintet on Impermanence, an album that, as with The Same Is Always Different, addresses the way we view changing phenomena. On lengthy opener “The”, she drones for more than 20 minutes, adding only a metal cookie box as a mute, causing a buzzing sound. If you listen very closely, the single note changes slightly in its timbre, focus and vibration, though not much in its middling volume; it is slow and mysterious and may be perceived as spiritual by those in an open frame of mind. “Same” is overdubbed, lasting only a couple of minutes, but with a bit more movement. “Is” amplifies dramatically a swooshing sound, which, at first blush, seems static, but crackles and changes over time. “Always” features overdubbed sounds, producing a long drone, which, as with “The”, evolves slowly over its 12 minutes but may be a tad more accessible due to manipulated sounds. The closing “Different” is probably the most welcoming, with a scratchy, louder vibration that moves slowly and with a single tonality, but clearly transforms slightly throughout. Silva has produced something, a document of our times, when many people are forced to stay in their homes, facing potential sameness and consequential boredom, a special album with a lot to say about life, but one that is difficult listening.
Citizen Jazz by Franpi Barriaux
La COVID a été -est toujours- un sujet présent dans nos vies, principalement pendant la période de confinement généralisée d’avril et mai 2020 où soudainement, et violemment, tout le monde s’est retrouvé enfermé chez soi, prisonniers volontaires mais sans horizon. C’est particulièrement sensible pour les musiciens, habitués à parcourir le monde et qui se nourrissent de ce permanent mouvement. Comme tout changement brusque de la société, il devait s’illustrer dans la création, fût-ce de manière embryonnaire. C’est avec deux musiciens, l’une européenne et l’autre étasunien que les premières réponses sont arrivées sur BandCamp. Susana Santos Silva était dans son appartement de Porto, et Steve Lehman sur le siège passager de sa vieille Honda. On fait comme on peut.
Spontaneous Music Tribune by Andrzej Nowak
Music earthquake continued! We move to Porto and the living room of a flat where the trumpeter Susana Santos Silva is waiting for us. April and May this year , five extremist attempts to prepare the sound of the simplest tin instrument. Only successful! An hour of drone emotions, and how! And Susana, in the formula of such a radical artistic expression that you still know me.
At the beginning, a twenty-minute passion of a trumpet suffering from pain and screeching. A whistling air drone, small diesel engine just before visiting a mechanic. A taste of post-electronics, the smell of roasted lynx hair. Creative minimalism that raises emotions equal to our admiration for the artist’s lung endurance (we presume that we play 100% live!). Circular breath, immortal breath. At the end a sound that resembles a broken radio receiver. The whole goes out stylishly and with full drama gear. The second story is equally successful … soothes our broken nerves – trumpet multifonia, as if we heard at least three strands. Peace and quiet, charming but monotonous waiting for the so-called continuation. The murmuring flock of insects finds their final destination in resonating silence, just before the eighth minute of recording.
The third story is built by hard-working trumpet valves. A swish of humid air that has problems to get outside the jurisdiction of the instrument. The richness of trumpet drone acoustics is worth capturing not only with these words – from the sounds of pouring water to the crumbling desert sand. A breath of nature up to the smallest trickle of sound. Percussion accentsand mechanical preparation. The farther on this album, the better, until the reviewer’s pen dances in his hand – from a calm zefirek to the real winds of war. Bravo! The fourth part is again a contrast. Susana proposes ambient aesthetics – singing stuck in a tin instrument, smeared with post-electronic balm, born in the very throat of the artist. Multi-threaded, slightly brass, gold-plated sound weight. The tale, which although glistens in the darkness, with time gains blackness, mystery, and then fades to the horizon of the infernal sky. The last interact of this amazing journey – harsh & acoustic trumpet drone! The air is trying to escape after the damaged valves. Pain and trembling are found at the base of the mouthpiece until singing is born in it. A kind of funeral train over the fate of devastated reality. The story stops suddenly, as if someone turned off the power to the whole world. (google translate)
The Free Jazz Blog Collective by Lee Rice Epstein
Of the many releases either teased or promised for 2020, very high on my list was Susana Santos Silva’s second album with her quintet Impermanence, featuring saxophonist João Pedro Brandão, pianist Hugo Raro, bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg, and drummer Marcos Cavaleiro. A glance at the lineup in the credits gives you a sense of some of the changes contained herein. The first album included trumpet, flugelhorn, alto sax, flute, piano double bass, and drums. On the new album, Santos Silva has added tin whistle and voice, Brandão adds piccolo and choir, Raro synthesizer and choir, and Zetterberg switches to electric bass and adds Moroccon qraqebs. In a manner of speaking, Impermanence has evolved its sound both vertically and horizontally. In a more straightforward reference to itself, the quintet has embraced its name and moved on. Where they’ve gone to, however, is quite a bit trickier to put into words. Santos Silva’s syntax is as varied and robust as any trumpeter on the scene.
The Ocean Inside a Stone wastes no time in going out there. “Expanded Life” opens the album with a dense Tortoise-y, post-rock feel, as Santos Silva and Brandão play the song’s angular melody, with octave-spiking long notes blown in precision parallel. On the follow-up, “Wanderhopes,” Santos Silva inverts this somewhat, with an echoing melody in the horns offset by a freely improvised rhythm section. Zetterberg’s electric bass may be most noticeable here, as its the likeliest song to have featured some of his fine arco. And yet, that’s barely missed, as he brings, I believe, qraqeb to the middle section, engaging in a dynamic conversation with Cavaleiro. The combined interlude “The Past Is Yet To Come” and Art Ensemble-like “The Drums Are Chanting, Or Is It the Trees? “ turn the album on its head, like Henry Threadgill sometimes does; it’s not too far off the last-minute left turn of “A Man Called Trinity Deliverance” from Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket. Although, there’s still one more track left on the album, “The Healer,” which strikes an appropriate hopeful chord in its voicing.
No Weidzie Od Morza by The cover of Santos Silva’s The Same Is Always Different shows a view from the room, where she composes. It looks different every day, which you’ll discover once you download the entire album. The same holds true for her instrument: in each subsequent track, her trumpet sounds differently. When after 21 minutes of “The” there is silence, the impact is huge – prior to that, the sound closely filled the space, so the silence is literally palpable, I physically feel how it had swollen in the room. The coarse, distorted trumpet solo played by Silva is raw and terrifying, an explosion of noise. It brings to mind a desperate scream of an artist confined to her home, who intends to use it to break down the walls.
Susana Santos Silva has a lot of records under her belt. However, each solo release seems to offer an important point of reference, a statement of sorts – here provoked by the pandemic, which served as a pretext to demonstrate the versatile and alluring potential of the trumpet. Silva often blows harder, emitting piercing sounds and sending a bitter bugle call into the world from her port apartment. Her work showcases how the limitations of using a single instrument may be put to good use, presenting the amazing timbres of her instrument, and amplifying it using effects and reverbs.In “Same”, the trumpet is more harmonious, but toned down, as if shy, barely bubbling on the surface with the coarse noise in the background. “Is” is a sonorist play with the static, the focus is shifted to details, microsounds, rustles, scratches, sometimes almost sounding like the chirping of birds. “Always”, on the other hand, is a powerful drone resonating in the space, enriched with the reverberating effect, which creates a musical tunnel of sorts. “Different” may seem close to what we’ve heard in the opening of the record, but in fact offers an entirely different sonic texture. Silva spits out the sounds, as if stratifying them, blowing her trumpet lighter, more lyrically. Through experimentation with sound and execution, balancing somewhere between drone music, noise, sonorism and improvisation, Susana creates a poignant, personal story. This is a reflection of everyday life under lockdown – which is inspiring, not repetitive at all, and serves as a catalyst for growth, since The Same Is Always Different is a really important landmark on the musical path of this unique trumpeter.
Rimas e Batidas by Rui Miguel Abreu
O segundo registo do quinteto Impermanence liderado pela trompetista Susana Santos Silva foi abordado na anterior edição de Notas Azuis. Que Susana tenha já novo trabalho para apresentar, ainda que limitado (pelo menos por enquanto) a uma existência digital é apenas indicativo da sua acentuada capacidade de trabalho e da natural irrequietude artística que domina as mentes criativas em períodos de reclusão, sobretudo se forçada.
Registado, como indicado nas notas de capa, na sua sala de estar num apartamento do Porto em Abril e Maio últimos, este trabalho é, como a própria explica, uma reflexão sobre as “diferenças que permeiam a aparente mesmice da vida”. Daí o conceito orientador “o mesmo é sempre diferente” que aqui se explora. Com cada peça a receber como título uma das palavras da frase que nomeia este álbum, não se pode descartar uma subtil ironia na base desta criação (talvez esse fino humor explique que Susana Santos Silva procure em “Same” replicar com o seu trompete o incessante zumbido dos insectos que o silêncio normalmente tem a capacidade de amplificar). Mas há igualmente muita seriedade investida neste exercício de busca introspectiva. “Normalmente o tempo voa tão depressa”, admite Santos Silva nas notas de capa, “que os detalhes nem podem ser vistos. Se uma pessoa desacelerar tudo, que miríade de pequenas preciosidades aparecerão repentinamente. Um mundo de infinitos e curiosos mistérios irá revelar-se”. Susana Santos Silva refere-se, obviamente, a uma contemplativa relação com o silêncio e com a quietude, mas poderia igualmente apontar às recompensas garantidas com a imersão atenta e dedicada na sua música, como as que aqui se revelam.
Se no solo que Susana editou há um par de anos na Clean Feed com uma gravação de uma apresentação no Panteão Nacional se poderia naturalmente falar do diálogo com um espaço específico, particularmente reverberante, capaz de fazer sentir a sua presença até num meio “invisível” como a música, neste conjunto de registos caseiros há um outro tipo de diálogo, não tanto com o espaço do seu “living room”, mas antes com o tempo da sua vida, tornada temporariamente sedentária pela mesma pandemia que nos confinou a todos. E o tempo é a única coisa de que é impossível fugir, pelo que aceitá-lo pode, como conclui a artista nas notas de capa deste trabalho, criar “uma unidade transcendente”.
O ar que circula no trompete, como metáfora para o tempo que circula na vida, a mesma matéria transiente, granular, quente e envolvente, confunde-se depois com o que a atenção concentrada revela: as sinfonias do ar tornado vibração pelas asas de insecto, tornado drone pelo vento que interage com as frestas da janela, tornado manto que cobre, protege e tapa tudo o resto. Os drones que resultam de respiração circular, o processamento do sinal gravado admitindo a própria distorção (como acontece em “Always”) como parte integrante do seu carácter, a diluição da realidade no abismo de uma nota singular ou as texturas mais abrasivas que se obtêm quando o microfone também é lupa que expõe o som até à sua componente “molecular” (caso de “Different”) são vias que Susana Santos Silva aqui percorre, em abstracto discurso sobre os efeitos do tempo quando o imobilismo físico impele a mente a procurar outro tipo de fluxos.
The Same is Always Different é um poderoso documento/hino/estudo sobre o tempo, a reclusão e a contemplação, quando a vista inalterada de uma varanda, dia após dia, esconde, afinal de contas, todos os “infinitos e curiosos mistérios” a que noutras alturas simplesmente decidimos não prestar atenção.