Rudis/Custodio/Diaz-Infante | Crashing The Russian Renaissance

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Crashing The Russian Renaissance

by Rudis/Custodio/Diaz-Infante

From three of SF's leading experimental/new music purveyors, in some seriously adventurous compositions for electronics & guitar. "This recording is radical and often extreme" Steven Loewy, All Music Guide
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
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1. Three College Radio-Ready Edits 01
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2. 02
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3. 03
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4. Overthruster 04
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5. 05
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6. 06
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10. 10
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12. 12
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
From three of San Francisco's leading experimental/new music purveyors, Crashing The Russian Renaissance finds the trio in some seriously adventurous compositions for electronics and guitar. Reflecting the artists' continued musical evolutions, the music constantly evolves over 30 compositions from thin soundscapes to heavy improvisational dialogues.

Lx Rudis is an interdisciplinary media artist based in San Francisco, California. He has been active in both commercial and underground sectors in the San Francisco Bay Area since the early 1980s. Early contact with groups such as Tuxedomoon, The Units and SRL led to media work ranging from radio shows on NPR with members of negativland to commercial work for ABC affiliate KGO-TV and various corporate entities. since 1988, Mr. Rudis' work has been concentrated in the field of interactive computer entertainment. He was a charter member of SF's Virtual Reality Group and has lectured at Cyberarts and performed at the first Digital Be-In. He has lectured at the Computer Game Developer's Conference and several universities in California. He has worked in all areas of video game production and is named in the credits of over 40 video games.

Andre Custodio is a SF bay area native Percussionist/Sound Designer who studied with Brian Fergus, Bob Danielson and Carl Perazzo. He has collaborated (in some way) with Rent Romus, The Splatter Trio, David Slusser, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, LX Rudis, Fear of Math and Tom Nunn. 'Nihil Communication' is his ongoing solo project, combining reconfigured samples, digital processing, unique instruments and additive analog synthesis. He's influenced by Witold Lutoslawksi, Lustmord, The Splatter Trio, Negativland, AMM, Morbid Life Society, Cecil Taylor, Curtis Mayfield, Miguel "anga" Diaz, John Coltrane and too many others to mention.

Born in Salinas, California, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, is Chicano (of Mexican descent). He received his MFA in Music Composition from California Institute of the Arts (studied with Wadada Leo Smith and Stephen L. Mosko) and has created musical compositions that span a broad perspective: transcendental piano, noise, avant-garde guitar, field recordings, lo-fi four-track manipulations, and experimental song. ED-I has performed throughout Europe and the United States, and his music has been broadcasted internationally. He has recorded more than 15 CDs of music and collaborated with numerous musicans. In 2000, his composition, I/O (for chamber ensemble), was performed by the California EAR Unit. He has been awarded residencies at the Centre International de Recherche Musicale (CIRM) in Nice, France, The Millay Colony for the Arts, Villa Montalvo, The Ucross Foundation, among others. He runs Pax Recordings record label which is dedicated to the documentation, preservation, and contagion of music from the margins of our culture and psyches. He lives in San Francisco with the filmmaker/video artist Marjorie Sturm and their son and daughter.


Reviews


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Marcello Berlich, LosingToday.it

aspettiamo con curiosità , per viaggiare di nuovo in altre dimensioni.
Lâ''ascolto di dischi come questo è compito affascinante e allo stesso tempo rischioso, giacché parliamo di musica di oltre confine, altra rispetto a tutto ciò che rientra in modo più o meno rigido nei canoni dellâ''industria musicale.
Licenziato dallâ''etichetta Pax, di San Francisco, specializzata in questo genere di proposte, â''Crashing...â'' è stato realizzato da tre artisti provenienti dalla stessa area: Lx Rudis è un artista multimediale con una lunga esperienza nellâ''ambito musicale (ha collaborato, tra gli altri, con i Tuxedomoon), che da più di un decennio ha focalizzato la sua attenzione sullâ''uso dei computer quali strumenti di intrattenimento, e nei credits di questo disco risulta occuparsi del Matrix 12, che supponiamo sia proprio un computer; André Custodio (sezione ritmica, tra Tom Tom e apparecchiature elettroniche) è un polistrumentista non alla prima collaborazione col terzo membro del â''gruppoâ'', quellâ''Ernesto Diaz Infante, alle corde, chitarra e violino, e alla voce, i cui ultimi lavori (uno in coppia con Chrys Forsyth, lâ''altro a nome Rev.99, entrambi usciti su Pax) risalgono appena allâ''anno scorso.
I tre danno vita ad un lavoro scabro e contorto, al quale gli effetti del computer danno una connotazione quasi aliena, mentre la chitarra, ora freneticamente brulicante, ora dilatata e dissonante, gli fa da contraltare con la sua â''fisicità â''.
Il tutto è condito da rarefazioni di sapore â''ambientâ'', â''scaricheâ'' elettriche, â''rumoriâ'' assortiti (per esempio quello di una moneta che cade), e una voce che interviene solo episodicamente, ( e in maniera, lo si sarà intuito, nientâ''affatto â''tradizionaleâ'').
Il tutto per poco più di unâ''ora, il lavoro organizzato formalmente in trenta tracce senza titolo, le prime tre raccolte sotto il nome di â''Three College Radio Ready Editsâ'', le rimanenti sotto quello di Overthruster; e queste sono le uniche unità dâ''ascolto individuabili, il disco concepito come un unicum, le diverse fasi del quale si accavallano prescindendo dalla scansione in tracce.
Ascolto che spiazza e inquieta, ma che fino alla fine stimola la curiosità per â''quello che viene dopoâ''.
Arte? Si, se per arte si intende il modo in cui un musicista esprime le proprie idee, libero da qualunque pressione esterna, o vincolo di mercato; avanguardia? Forse, ma bisogna stare attenti a non usare un termine ormai svuotato dallâ''abuso utilizzato troppo spesso per bollare frettolosamente tutto quanto non sia concepito per soddisfare gli appetiti del pubblico di massa (indotti dalle tattiche di marketing dellâ''industria discografica).
La Pax continua dunque nella sua opera di divulgazione di idee fuori dallâ''ordinario, in un anno 2002 che si sta rivelando peraltro prolifico: mentre scriviamo sono già stati editati altri due lavori: aspettiamo con curiosità , per viaggiare di nuovo in altre dimensioni.

SeM, JazzoSphere

Crashing the Russian Renaissance prend une option resolument differente...
La musique jouee sur Crashing the Russian Renaissance prend une option resolument differente en privilegiant un jeu electronique sur lequel se greffe des interventions d'Ernesto a la guitare preparee. Ce trio est compose de Lx Rudis, artiste interdisciplinaire base a San Francisco et d'Andre Custodio, bruitiste hors pair. Le resultat ne pouvait qu'etre de qualite. L'album est divise en deux parties. Overthruster se presente comme une longue suite de pieces courtes, 26 au total, sur lesquelles les musiciens experimentent des collages sonores les plus varies. Three College Radio Ready Edits presente trois morceaux plus travailles qui demontrent l'etendue du talent de ces trois musiciens. Ernesto Diaz-Infante est devenu en l'espace de trois/quatre ans un musicien majeur de la scene americaine. En acceptant de jouer sur deux des poles les plus actifs du pays, la cote ouest et NYC il multiplie les approches et les rencontres. On se demande meme parfois ou le musicien va chercher toute cette energie.(Sé.M.)

Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sonoloco Record Reviews

this CD a welcome visitor in my laser box at any time and beyond!
A brand new release from Pax Recordings in California is always an event per se; never have they disappointed me, the music connoisseur, but each and every time surprising me with utter and sheer ingenuity and on-the-fly creativity, dispersed with the ease of a soaring Swift in dazzling kamikaze dives between the rooftops of the tenement buildings of summer!
Also, when the name Ernesto Diaz-Infante appears on the record jacket, the guarantee of a serious experience is rock bottom certain! This guy, in my mind, is positioned, by virtue of his musical significance, side by side with oracles like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Terry Riley and Conlon Nancarrow! I’ve experienced Diaz-Infante on numerous CDs, by himself as well as in a wide assortment of collaborations; one even with a sound artist from remote Eskilstuna of Sweden, not so far from this here reviewer’s rural hometown (on a CD which is about to be reviewed here at Sonoloco Record Reviews in a short while).

Lx Rudis is presented in the label info as an interdisciplinary media artist in San Francisco. He has flipped between commercial and underground activities, and sold his soul for money to the video games market… He has in fact – oh child of our day! – taken part in the shaping of no less than forty video games… He has, however, also worked with the likes of Negativland and earlier with for example Tuxedomoon.

André Custodio is a native, down-home Bay Area multi-instrumentalist and sound designer. He has done collaborations with, to name but a few, The Splatter Trio, Tom Nunn and Ernesto Diaz-Infante. Currently Custodio is working with his most recent project, called “Nihil Communication”, which deals with recombined and reconfigured samples, digital processing, one-off “instruments” and also analog synthesis.

No need to say anything extra about Diaz-Infante. He has been amply introduced in various reviews on this site!

The CD begins with something these guys call “Three College Radio-Ready Edits”… The rest of the CD carries the title “Overthruster”, and I’ll leave you with that, as I cross over into the more hands on reflective listening management…

It’s a plucking, wheezing, steaming predicament, to start with. You are being attacked with showers of fragmented cut-ups, molded back together in haphazard guises of hazy moments, flickering by in the heat of summer like hallucinatory shadows moving across blind walls beyond the parking lots, bruising the horizon of contemporeana in jagged sawtooth audio… and ah… it’s like scraping a magpie (Pica pica) along the façade of a yellowish 1950s tenement building in small-town Scandinavia; that rough sense of battered bird in a tight grip against that uneven surface… the beak-streaks left on the wall after the quick, feathery maltreatment along the house…

A gasping sensation of being strangled or garroted overwhelms you, as you get entangled in guitar strings, which apparently are being used to sharpen knives… and there is something the matter with the delivery of electric current, Con Edison having fucked up seriously again, or is it just a lot of static inside your head, left and right brain-halves desperately trying to communicate, to get on terms, to arrange some kind of treaty, to finally dump this migraine in some unison action of the bicameral mind, huh? Anyhow, the crackling electric stuttering gives of ejaculative sparks of unintelligible morphemes, seeping out like atmospheric disturbances through your speakers.


This proletarian from a northern steel works
would have loved "Crashing the Russian Renaissance"!

The musicians are getting inside of the inside, throwing their findings back at you without even looking, like badgers digging their tunnels…

The jingling motions of track 3 open up mysterious factory halls - perhaps inside a Borg-like cube in space – glimpsing rattling chains and heavy machinery at work in unknown processes. The halls are vast, disappearing below distant horizons, in metal dust and alien sunlight, which seeps in diagonally, revealing dark, ominous shadows of unexplained structures.
The screeching metal faintly resembles forlorn human-like voices, echoing distorted out of a singular despair where the shadowy shapes are eternally lost in an immense world of giant tools and metallic weights. It’s lonely and forgotten, far away in space, far away in time, but there is suffering… and suffering is real.

Tracks 4 – 30 are all entitled “Overthruster”.
Spiders are crawling across their webs in the moonlight of silent islands in Scandinavian lakes. The treading of the spiders is amplified, rising out of the music like the plucking of guitar strings (Diaz-Infante!), vibrating with moonlight and little-known forest forces. Moonlight is spraying off of the trembling spider webs, falling like minuscule drops of silvery precipitation in softly arching trajectories through the dark nocturnal shadows of coniferous trees, and through the sanctuary of our perceptive minds.

A timbral softness behind the roughing-up of the circumstances leaves me honey-suckled and backlashed, the guitar wobbling like a glow-worm through its space-time protrusion.
We get lucky inside these murmuring interference homages, soil below mist, sky above crisscrossing auditory landmasses; continents moving in the dark…

The ever-changing stubbornness of these gleaming ingenuities of Rudis-Custodio-Infante makes this CD a welcome visitor in my laser box at any time and beyond!

Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

Definitely a listening experience that reveals new treasures with repeated liste
Prior to hearing this CD I'd not heard of LX Rudis or André Custodio but the two have an interesting resume. Rudis is described as a multi-disciplinary artist who has worked with Tuxedomoon and Negativeland, done media work for radio and television, and works in all areas of video game production being in the credits of over 40 video games. Custodio is a multi-instrumentalist and sound designer who has worked with The Splatter Trio, Tom Nunn, and Eddie Gale to name a few. His current solo project - Nihil Communication - combines reconfigured samples, digital processing and analog synthesis.

On Crashing The Russian Renaissance we have Ernesto on acoustic guitar, violin and voice and Rudis and Custodio contributing a variety of electronics and percussion to create a free-improv sound sculpture experience. Some tracks are heavy on ambience. Others are highly chaotic. And some accomplish both at once. My favorites consist of Ernesto's free-wheeling manic style that showcase his creative instrumental proficiency (the avant-garde free-improv equivalent of rock guitar shredding) as well as his ability to wrench all manner of odd sounds from his guitar. But supporting the guitar will be a banquet of electronic tones, noise, ambient sequences and percussive bits that nicely contrast and cooperate with each other. A sense of fun pervades through many of the tracks which sound like carefully constructed collages of loops and electronic patterns and textures that are both child-like and alien. I really dig the layers of spaced out electronics that dance about as Ernesto does his manic runs up and down the fretboard. Definitely a listening experience that reveals new treasures with repeated listens.

Andrew Magilow, Splendid Magazine

It's mesmerizing and potent stuff, and a great alternative to the humdrum of eve
As with most of Diaz-Infante's collaborations, you'll either dig his jazz-meets-experimental compositions or relegate them to the "unbearable, unmelodic noise" category. If you're not into experimental works, it's best that you find something else to read about, as this CD won't change your mind in the least.

Crashing the Russian Renaissance is conveniently broken up into two parts: three radio edits that are approximately five minutes each and one 27 track monster entitled "Overthruster" that comprises the majority of the disc. Because of their time constraints, the three "college radio ready" tracks establish a distinct mood and musical methodology immediately, leading you down ambient paths and computer-synth guided tours. Each tune is capable of standing on its own, and adequately explores the capabilities and innovative ideas of these three musicians within a compact framework.

However, the true aural magic of the disc swirls around in the cerebral "Overthruster". A rash of egregiously picked guitar notes sets the track in motion, lightly accompanied by a backdrop of Rudis's humming computer-touched notes. Diaz-Infante's squawking guitar seems to be babbling, attempting to establish some sort of communication. Brilliant additions appear as the track count progresses, including the clattering of a coin as it spins across a tabletop, bleeping computer interjections, backmasked vocals and asphyxiated violins. The trio reaches a noisy peak at the end of "Track 21" with a cacophonous display of indecipherable sounds that eventually bubble over into a familiar progression of plucked strings. By this time, you've learned the intricate ways of Messrs Diaz-Infante, Rudis and Custodio, and your brain is able to evolve with the remainder of the piece, entranced and intrigued by this unusual and highly complex orchestration of non-melodic elements. It's mesmerizing and potent stuff, and a great alternative to the humdrum of everyday rock 'n' roll.

Frank Rubolino, One Final Note

one gigantic aural experience where the creative minds of three musicians push t
The music from these West Coast adventurers is spontaneous, collective, and very challenging to absorb. It is a mixture of the subtle and the overt, lying somewhere between the high-flying, freewheeling, open form and the more serene, spatial, intricate art of pure sound making. The recording has many contrasts, including the electric/acoustic confrontation that finds Lx Rudis masterminding the electronic stimulus that underscores the performance versus the acoustic guitar and violin of Ernesto Diaz-Infante, which crosses the sound barrier into amplified, near-electric tonality at times. André Custodio, who is described as a sound designer, plays the darbuka, an hourglass or goblet-shaped drum of Northern African origin. He also manages the tom-tom and an instrument listed as line 6 [green pod], which I would assume is a percussion article. Any nature or variant of sound is likely to be heard from this group, and the distinctions of source are not important. It all merges together into a giant collage of multiple colors having elements of rhythm replaced by voice gurgitation replaced by atonal futuristic vibrations replaced by noise replaced by static replaced by simple melodies replaced by outrageously provocative explosions. It is an ever-evolving wheel of non-stop fascination.

The music is subtitled Adventurous Compositions for Electronics and Guitar. The trio goes on a merry ride through a wonderland of unusual tonal production, using simple objects (such as coins dropped into the frame of an amplified guitar by Diaz-Infante) as well as instruments and technology to paint this abstract picture. Radio broadcast snippets in a foreign language (it could be German or Dutch) overlap certain segments, while the electronic gadgetry introduces 2001, A Space Odyssey tones and feelings. Diaz-Infante counters with violin improvisations to anchor one part of the production on terrestrial soil, while the inventive sorcery of Rudis orbits the galaxies. It is one gigantic aural experience where the creative minds of three musicians push the limits of avant-garde possibilities. Most sectors of this experiment work, leaving one in a dazed stupor of amazement at how systematically the human mind can be manipulated into provoking the senses. As a point of clarification, the Russian Renaissance is a restaurant in San Francisco.

Edward Gray, Independent Mind

Really, it’s a kick to listen to.
Two of the latest releases from Diaz-Infante’s San Fran-based Pax label, which has been sorta on the forefront of the American fuckall free improvisation scene for a while now. Not that people are rushing to fill the gap, mind you. But that’s a rant for another time...

crashing the russian renaissance is a collaboration between Diaz-Infante (acoustic guitar, violin, voice) and fellow ‘friscans Lx Rudis (analog synth) and Andre Custodio (percussion and Line 6 delay). Disc starts off with "Three College Radio-Ready Edits," which are pretty much exactly what they say they are: 4-5 minute excerpts that run the gamut from frazzled plink and skitter to shifting atmospheric synth tones. Pretty great summing-up of the whole encounter and will, I’m sure, sound right at home between Girls Against Boys and Belle and Sebastian. But that’s a rant etc. etc.

The remaining 45 minutes consist of one piece (cut into 30 tracks) entitled "Overthruster," and here’s where the players pretty much go all out shine on: Coin, keys, and infinitely other clatter, groaning violin, strangled vocal sounds, niiice synth drone and stutter, and intermittent guitar flailing move in, around, and through the mix (masterfully done by the principals involved) in a wholly mind-engaging manner. Really, it’s a kick to listen to.

Marco Paolucci, Kathodik

un bel disco con tutti i disturbi al loro posto, nessuno escluso.
Nuova uscita per l’etichetta Pax Recordings di San Francisco intitolata "Crashing The Russian Reneissance".
L’opera è a nome dei compositori Lx Rudis, artista multimediale e programmatore di giochi per computer, che suona uno strumento chiamato Matrix 12 (non chiedetemi cos’è perché non lo so); André Custodio, altro artista multimediale, alle Darbuka, Tom-Tom, Line 6 (idem come sopra); Ernesto Diaz-Infante che maneggia cose più conosciute tipo chitarra acustica, violino e voce.
Un trio che si diverte a fare cose e a produrre suoni che difficilmente si potrebbero ascoltare da altre parti, senza fare a gara tranquillamente a chi capisce che cosa si suona e come. Basta sentire (o cercare di provare a farlo) la chitarra trattata di Diaz-Infante (deve essere trattata o l’ha comprata sulla luna) che armeggia con i suoni derivati da oscilloscopi. Oppure i disturbi “veri” e “sintetici” di frequenze e onde radio che Rudis e Custodio assemblano, anzi pescano con indifferenza da calderoni elettronici sapientemente mescolati nelle orecchie dell’ascoltatore. Se si cerca di definire che cosa state ascoltando, o miei sventurati esseri muniti di orecchie, non ci si riesce a meno di arrivare doverosamente alla fine del cd dove l’arcano vi verrà svelato. E qual è questo arcano, altrimenti stiamo qui a scrivere di aria fritta? Incredibile ma vero... l’arcano, lo ripetiamo per gli ascoltatori che si fossero collegati in questo momento, è …che questo è un bel disco…caotico, confusionario, “orrendamente” interessante ma è ,lo ripeto, un bel disco con tutti i disturbi al loro posto, nessuno escluso. Come concludere la recensione? Cercatelo.

Steve Koenig, La Folia

This made my Top Six Picks of June 2002 in AllAboutJazz-NY, if that matters.
Diaz-Infante, who seems to be everywhere at once and on half the recordings that exist, has an exceptional new release on Pax, where the electronics and percussion of his cohorts (apparently fellow San Franciscans) are wonderfully improvised excursions — focused, tight, powerful. After a series of desert-piano meanders, here he rivals Chadbourne in his note-per-second git-picking, and he also plays violin and, um, voice. The title? The cover is an attempt to crash a code, despite the lack of Cyrillic, but inside is a photo of a restaurant called... This made my Top Six Picks of June 2002 in AllAboutJazz-NY, if that matters.

Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera

the album as a whole is quite captivating...
In 2001_14 we listened to an earlier Pax release, an improv album with some members shared with this one. Rudis on Matrix 12, Custadio darbuka, tom-tom, Line 6 and Diaz-Infante guitar, violin, voice (he will reappear in the Public Eyesore issue) deliver another edgy seemingly improvised set (seemingly as to me it sounds like it was constructed from improvs).

The bulk of the album is 'Overthruster', 27 tracks of generally continuously mixed improv: the typography suggests some parts (the track times are set off into groups) but the differences aren't obvious, and (by the way) quite a few of the times are wrong.

As with all albums of this form, perhaps harder than others, it is difficult to describe as it is a shifting complex movement. It opens with fast wild jittery guitar underlaid with some dirty synth with blurts and tones, then there is a looped and layered scattish vocalline which is then given a whistly tappy layer over it - that's the first two tracks which are the longest (4 and 6 minutes). The remainder is cut into smaller segments, from 3 seconds to 3 minutes.

The balance between the instruments falls mainly to the synth-computer which has drones solos, blippy bleepy periods, choppy mixing, string chords, noises tones, squeals and buzzing. Into this mix various components are added - clattery percussive and loose guitar work, whistling, percussion, found sounds (like dropped coins and clatterings), muttering and vocalising (including a backwards period) and violin in various guises (some melodic, at other sounding like a braying donkey). The whole thing ebbs and flows, shifting between computer solos, quieter spots, wild communal music-making and stasis. Straying towards chaos it never comes that close, nor to cacophony, and (like a few others) after the first track had worried me about mindless noise, the album as a whole is quite captivating (for this style). I really enjoyed the strength and variation of Lx's computer artistry which provide a powerful base. However, the usual caveats apply - this is not easy mood music for all ears, and not to be consumed if you are in an edgy mood already.

The first three tracks are the collectively titled 'Three college radio ready edit' and do present various aspects of 'Overthruster': the first emphasises the plunky guitar first, has a quieter centre then a more computery finish, the second very percussive and jumpy and the last is big and resonant, quite spooky. An interesting concept.
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