Per Gärdin/Rodrigo Pinheiro/Marco Franco/Travassos: Oblique Mirrors (ibnmusik 003)

By Mark Corroto, published April 9, 2016

"Listening to the free improvisation recording, Oblique Mirrors brings to mind a most memorable line from the film The Usual Suspects, where Kevin Spacey as Roger "Verbal" Kint says, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone."

Maybe its the evanescent nature of instant composing that evokes the "can't step in the same river twice" maxim, or maybe the sound experience of such a delicate recording as this, is asking you to live in the moment. Luckily, this is a recording and not concert. Listeners can return to the sounds over and over

The Oblique Mirrors recording may be ephemeral, as this was a meeting between the Swedish saxophonist Per Gardin and the Portuguese players, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Marco Franco, and Travassos in Lisbon, 2014. This unique Swedish/Portuguese collaboration brings together Pinheiro, the pianist for RED Trio, Franco, the drummer for Rodrigo Amado's Lisbon Improvisation Players, and Travassos, who has manipulated electronics for Luis Lopes.

The reference point here is to Evan Parker's trio. Gärdin is a talented saxophonist, with two compelling solo recordings, in situ (IBN Music, 2010) and Loos (IBN Music, 2012). He is able to effortlessly apply that wavy/squiggle Parker sound to his extended technique arsenal.

While Gärdin may be the unconscious focus here, the persuasive playing of his partners shapes the recording. Pinheiro's piano, whether he plays the insides or out, is the rhythmic and percussive backbone of the recording. Franco and the minimal electronics of Travassos supply the frosting. Impressive stuff here."


AMN reviews: Gärdin, Pinheiro, Franco, Travassos - Oblique Mirors (ibn003)

Posted on January 25, 2016 by Daniel Barbiero 

"Oblique Mirrors, a release from the quartet of Per Gärdin, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Marco Franco and Travassos, is free jazz-inflected improvisation in an unorthodox format. The unorthodoxy consists in the group's configuration: Gärdin's alto and soprano saxophones, which are largely responsible for the music's free jazz tincture, are at the forefront, but rather than being supported by a rhythm section per se, they are accompanied by the more unconventional combination of piano (Pinheiro), drums and percussion (Franco) and electronics (Travassos).

The music itself moves in and out of free jazz territory, alluding as well to late 20th century modernism and contemporary electroacoustic experimentalism. A track like focal point, the opening piece, centers on the kind of line-and-energy playing associated with free jazz by presenting a hyperkinetic polyphony dominated by soprano sax. By contrast the more introverted and texturally-focused tracks refraction and sphere turn attention to a soundscape of subtle colors and microsounds marked by Pinheiro’s fine-grained, inside-the-piano work and Travassos’ restrained electronics. The closing track, aperture, returns to the free jazz side of things in a collision of soprano sax and percussion augmented by percussion-like metallic timbres from piano and electronics." 


Per Gärdin, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Marco Franco, Travassos: Oblique Mirrors  ibn003

Av: Thomas Millroth Publicerad: tis, 2015-12-15 20:22

"Per Gärdin spelar sopran och altsax. I tätt virtuost flöde. Här i ett samarbete med portugisiska musiker, Rodrigo Pinheiro, piano, Marco Franco, slagverk, Travassos, elektronik, namn som dyker upp i olika improsammanhang från den musikaliskt livaktiga iberiska halvön.

Det är kultiverad, utmärkt musik som rör sig långsamt framåt, trots snabba fingrar, med en stor förtätning, skarpa konturer och, måste jag säga, ganska stort mått av abstraktion. Det här är inte spräckmusik, det är inte musik som lägger sig över huden. Skarpt, vasst, perfekt, så kan det höras.

Gärdin spelar sin sax tätt och nära de andra. Instrumenten har liksom trängt ihop sig. Slagverket har ett perfekt avvägt ljud, inpassen är precisa och markerar en slingrande väg framåt. Det liknar en väldig teckning till slut, där de olika instrumenten skapar skuggor och ljus. Pinheiros piano låter både innanför och utanför innanmätet. Svävande klanger, som bor grannar med små ljud i slagverket.

Hela den flödande musiken är ett sammansatt skuggspel av minimala ljud, ibland kommer något i fokus, liksom skjuter fram sig i ett överraskande inpass. Ett avsteg från den ganska jämna ljudbilden. Det är lätt att lyssna förbi Travassos elektronik, men den finns där i bakgrunden, liksom på avstånd och som en disig spegel för de andra.

I sina långsamma och ljusskimrande stunder i låg dynamik klingar den här musiken mer som utsökta stycken ljudkonst, som ekar av natur. ”Sphere” till exempel rasslar lätt från pianots inre, övertoner svävar och slagverket sitter liksom och muttrar för sig själv. Effekten är ett stillastående spegelspel.

Det är en musik som kräver mycket och koncentrerat lyssnande. Den är oflörtig men kräver mycket av musikerna själva. Så mycket att varje ny lyssning släpper ifrån fler och fler små detaljer.

Om jag skulle välja ett spår, skulle det inte vara de täta energirika styckena som pumpar svärta och ljus framåt, nej, då skulle jag hellre återvända om och om igen till lågmäldheten, det upplösta, det litet splittrade utan sammanhängande rytmer. Assymetrin och håligheten i ”Sphere” är mästerlig. Som att andas orgelbundet av upphetsning inför oväntade naturupplevelser. En nattfjäril drar förbi, en groda kväker."

 "Per Gärdin plays soprano and alto sax. In a virtuosic flow. Here, in collaboration with Portuguese musicians Rodrigo Pinheiro, piano, Marco Franco, percussion, Travassos, electronics, names that show up in different improvising situations from the musically vibrant Iberian Peninsula.
It is cultured, excellent music that moves slowly forward, despite the fast fingers, with a large densification, sharp contours and, I must say, quite a large degree of abstraction. This is not spräckmusik, it's not music that settles over the skin. Sharp, edgy, perfect, so it might be heard.
Gärdin plays his sax tight and close to the others. The instruments have sort of crowded together. The percussion has perfectly balanced sound, the interjections are precise and marks a winding road ahead. It resembles a huge drawing in the end, where the different instruments creates shadows and light. Pinheiros piano sounds inside and outside the frame. Floating sounds, which are neighbors with small sounds in the percussion.
The entire flowing music is a composite shadow play of minimal sounds, sometimes something is slightly in focus, like pushing itself to the front in a surprising interjection. A departure from the rather smooth sound. It's easy to listen past Travassos electronics, but it is there in the background, as in the distance and as a hazy mirror for the others.
In its slow and light shimmering moments in low dynamics this music sounds more like exquisite pieces of sound art, with echoes of nature. "Sphere" for example rattles lightly from the piano's interior, overtones floats and the percussion sits and mutters to itself. The effect is a stationary mirror game.
It is a music that requires a lot, and concentrated listening. It is non-flirty but requires a lot of the musicians themselves. So much so that each new listening releases more and more small details.
If I had to choose a track, it would not be the dense energetic pieces that pumps darkness and light forward, no, then I would rather return again and again to the low-key, the dissolved, the slightly shattered without coherent rhythms. The asymmetry and the cavity of the "sphere" is a masterly done. Like breathing irregularly of excitement of the unexpected nature. A moth passes by, a frog croak."



Per Gärdin: alto/soprano saxes; Rodrigo Pinheiro: piano; Marco Franco: drums/percussion; Travassos: electronics.

"Swedish saxist Per Gardin came to visit DMG earlier this month (11/2015) and left us with one of his CDs. I had not heard of Mr. Gardin before this disc but was impressed nonetheless. The other three members of this quartet are actually from Portugal and there seems to be some sort of Scandinavian/Portugese connection going on. The pianist here, Rodrigo Pinheiro, is a member if the RED Trio who have five discs out on the Clean Feed & NoBusiness labels and has also worked with danish saxist Lotte Anker. The drummer, Marco Franco, can be heard with several other Italian musicians on Slam, FMR * Creative Sources labels. Travassos, the electronics player, can be found in a trio called PAO who have a CD on the Shhpuma label. There is a strong connection going on here between the players, free-flowing yet sailing and soaring together. Mr. Gardin plays soprano on the first long piece and both he and the pianist play well together with layers of swirling lines criss-crossing and connecting in different places. There is a spacious, dreamy quality to this music. Time slows down so that we can hear or feel the subtle, yet quirky tapestry. The electronics are often more minimal and sometimes in the distance. Their pianist plays inside the piano on occasion and all four members work most carefully at creating an often suspense-filled ambiance throughout. I was trying to determine if this music had a certain European sound or approach but it seems to me that this sort of free improv is a language of its own. Often engaging without ever going too far out. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG"


PER GÄRDIN: loos (2012)

"Swedish, Stockholm-based free improviser, saxophonist Per Gärdin continues to expand his solo art on this, his sophomore album which follows In Situ(released on his own label, Ibn Musik, 2010). This album is a set of improvisations for solo saxophone Gärdin's musical resume includes collaborations with other prominent Swedish improvisers such as the pianist Lisa Ullén, and guitarist David Stackenäs, and also a recent tour with the Portuguese RED Trio. 

loos is a set of 15 solo improvisations for soprano and alto saxophones. It is a methodical study of the sonic spectrum of these instruments with a conscious effort to present a personal language and sound, incorporating the innovative developments of sax players such as Evan Parker and Steve Lacy but not shadowed by their unique language. Gärdin has an impressive control on both instruments and his playing is associative and free flowing. He moves between the intense and urgent mode as on "Nan II" to the exploratory on "Skox (for s.l.)" (referencing Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem as well as Lacy) to the fragile and contemplative series of the seven short "K" improvisations, with a subtle use of overtones, and the strict minimalism of "Re: call II." 

The two longest improvisations, "Nan III" and "Dr Trana" feature Gärdin using extended breathing techniques in order to weave a dense mosaic of sounds, changing tempos, and feelings in an arresting manner, tough the demanding spirit of the entire album."

Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz, December 2, 2013



Galeria ZDB, Lisboa, 28 Set 2013

"O RED Trio já se notabilizou pelas colaborações que tem encetado. Apesar de ter arrancado como simples trio, a história do grupo tem passado sobretudo pelas parcerias que tem estabelecido com outros músicos. O saxofonista John Butcher e o trompetista Nate Wooley foram os casos mais notáveis destas colaborações, tendo o grupo lisboeta actuado ao vivo e gravado com estes músicos - Empire com o primeiro; Stem com o segundo. 

O trio acaba de lançar o seu quarto álbum - Rebento, uma edição da lituana No Business Records - em que regressa à sua essência de trio, sem convidados. Contudo, para celebrar esse lançamento, o trio não resistiu a encetar uma nova colaboração. Desta vez o parceiro foi o saxofonista sueco Per Gärdin, com quem aspiraram formar, ainda que temporariamente, um quarteto – apresentaram-se ao vivo em Coimbra (Salão Brazil, na noite anterior) e agora na Zé dos Bois.  

Do contrabaixo de Hernâni Faustino, da bateria de Gabriel Ferrandini e do piano (vertical) de Rodrigo Pinheiro nasceu uma música improvisada a fluir naturalidade. O trio evidenciou desde logo as características que marcam a sua música: democracia, equilíbrio, originalidade. O saxofonista Gärdin conseguiu integrar-se rapidamente na dinâmica do grupo e foi facilmente envolvido no espírito colectivo.

Partindo não só da sonoridade típica de cada instrumento, mas também de técnicas extensivas, a música do trio evoluiu rapidamente para crescendos enérgicos, com os quatro instrumentos a atingirem depressa níveis de saturação. Apesar de habitualmente o grupo explorar texturas e detalhes mais subtis e contidos, desta vez o grupo optou por seguir uma contínua exploração enérgica, sempre com alta intensidade. 

No saxofone (primeiro soprano, depois alto) o sueco Per Gärdin foi acompanhando as sugestões lançadas por cada um dos instrumentos, contribuindo para a massa sonora espessa. Os quatro músicos optaram por continuar a estratégia ao longo de toda a actuação, que acabou por se revelar muito coerente, numa permanente tensão vigorosa."


"The RED Trio has distinguished itself by starting new collaborations. Though it has booted as simply a trio, the group's history has gone over the partnerships it has established with other musicians. Saxophonist John Butcher and trumpeter Nate Wooley were the most notable cases of these collaborations, with whom the group played live and recorded in Lisbon - with the first Empire, Stem with the second.

The trio has just released its fourth album - Rebento, a release by the Lithuanian No Business Records - which returns to its core trio, no guests. However, to celebrate this release, the trio could not resist to start a new collaboration. This time the partner was the Swedish saxophonist Per Gärdin, which aspired to form, even temporarily, a quartet - they showed up live in Coimbra (Salão de Brazil the night before) and now at Zé dos Bois.

The bass of Hernani Faustino, the drums of Gabriel Ferrandini and the piano (vertical) by Rodrigo Pinheiro gave birth to an improvisation that flowed naturally. The trio immediately showed the characteristics that marks its music: democracy, balance, originality. Saxophonist Gärdin was able to integrate quickly the dynamics of the group and was easily involved in the collective spirit.

Leaving not only the typical sound of each instrument, but also extensive techniques, the music of the trio quickly evolved into energetic crescendos, with the four instruments quickly reaching saturation levels. Although usually the group explore subtle textures and details, this time the group decided to follow a continuous energetic exploration, always with high intensity.

On saxophone (soprano first, then alto) the Swede Per Gärdin was following the suggestions thrown by each of the instruments contributing to the thick sound mass. The four musicians chose to continue the strategy throughout the performance, which turned out to be very consistent, a constant vigorous tension."

Nuno Catarino, bodyspace 29.9 2013



ibnmusik 002

"Per Gärdin är en Stockholmsmusiker som funnits med i olika improvisationssammanhang under många  år. Längre tillbaka i ett samarbete på EMS, Elektronmusikstudion i Stockholm.

På senare år har han spelat med musiker som Niklas Korsell, David Stackenäs och Lisa Ullén. Han har även tidigare medverkat i Total vibration, en grupp baserad i Spanien som spelat musik av Don Cherry. Ofta har Gärdin även spelat solosaxofon och på egna bolaget IBNmusik finns ytterligare ett album med soloimprovisationer, In situ, som kom 2010.

Och solospel på alt och sopransax är även det som bjuds på nya albumet Loos. På de två spår som heter Re: call I och II har Gärdin dubbat in ytterligare en saxofonstämma och på längsta spåret Dr trana finns något svagt elektroniskt brus i bakgrunden. Resten innehåller enbart en saxofon.  När det gäller solospel, speciellt på sopransax, är det svårt att inte associera till Steve Lacy som inspiriationskälla. Tankarna går också i den riktningen när den improvisation som heter skox är tillägnad S.L. Hälsningen gäller dock science-fiction författaren Stanislaw Lem. Så var det med den gissningen.

Gärdin är ändå först och främst sig själv och utforskar uppdykande infall med snabba tonföljder, där han hastigt letar fram några varianter på en idé och sedan går vidare till nästa. Så är till exempel alla de spår som heter K (k för kort, eller?) mellan 1 och 2 minuter långa och här är även tempot betydligt lägre i flera avsnitt. Lite paradoxalt, korta stycken som spelas långsamt. Men just den där hastigt uppmålade skissen känns som ett fruktbart arbetssätt. Avslutningen i ”K-serien”, K IIIb är en vacker och lyrisk vilopunkt jämfört med flera andra partier som är musikaliskt förtätade och kräver full koncentration av lyssnaren.

De tre stycken som heter Nan I-III spelas alla på altsax och här tar Gärdin sig lite mer tid att metodiskt utveckla några spelidéer, vilket kanske bidrar till att det blir något enklare att följa hans associationer.

Sammantaget är detta krävande musik, där man ändå efter en stunds lyssnande faller in i en märkligt rogivande och meditativ stämning. Intressant musik, skickligt genomförd och där Gärdins fokusering och totala koncentration imponerar."

"Per Gärdin is a Stockholm musician that have been around in various improvisational contexts for many years. Farther back in a collaboration on EMS, The Electronic Music Studio in Stockholm.

In recent years he has played with musicians such as Niklas Korsell, David Stackenäs and Lisa Ullén. He has also starred in Total vibration, a group based in Spain playing music by Don Cherry. Gärdin also has played solo saxophone and on his own label IBNmusik there is another album of solo improvisations, in situ, released in 2010.

And solos on alto and soprano sax are also offered on the new album Loos. On the two tracks called Re: call I and II Gärdin has added one more saxophone part and on the longest track Dr. Trana some faintly electronic sound is heard in the background. The remaining tracks contain only one saxophone. When it comes to solo play, especially on soprano sax, it's hard not to associate with Steve Lacy as an inspiriation. My thoughts also go in that direction when the improvisation called skox is dedicated to SL The dedication is however to science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem. So much for that guess.

However, Gärdin is still first and foremost himself and explores emerging ideas with rapid notes, where he quickly finds some variations on an idea and then goes on to the next. So, for example, all of the tracks called K ( k for short, right? ) are between 1 and 2 minutes long and here the tempo also is significantly slower in several sections. Somewhat paradoxical, short pieces played slowly. But that quickly painted sketch feels like a fruitful approach. The end of the "K series" K IIIb is a beautiful and lyrical resting point compared with several other parts who are musically dense and requires full attention of the listener.

The three pieces Nan I- III is played all on alto sax and here Gärdin gives himself a little more time to methodically develop some ideas, which might help to make it somewhat easier to follow his associations.

Overall this is demanding music, and yet after a few minutes you fall into a strangely soothing and meditative atmosphere. Interesting music, ably conducted and where Gärdins focus and total concentration is impressive."

Jan Strand, Orkesterjournalen nr 3/2013


Per Gärdin: loos (ibnmusik 002)

"[saxofonfest] Med Loos släpper den Stockholmsbaserade saxofonisten Per Gärdin sin andra soloskiva på det egna bolaget ibnmusik. Med alt- och sopransaxofon rör han sig flyhänt och med känsla i något skissartade låtar. Att med sopransaxen ta sig förbi giganter som Steve Lacy och Evan Parker är nästintill omöjligt. Å andra sidan är det inte ett måste, man kan mycket väl inkorporera deras musikaliska språk i det egna utan att plagiera. Per Gärdin lyckas med detta. I två varianter – ”re: call I” och ”re: call II” – hör jag dessutom Terry Rileys sopransax när Gärdin med lätt anslag upprepar snabba fraser som fortlöpande förändras. Det är mycket fint. Sopranen återkommer på skivans längsta låt – ”dr trana” – där den samsas med något som skulle kunna vara en kula som snurrar i en träskål (men inte är det). Om än saxofonens klanger rör sig i snabba rörelser skapar Gärdin en meditativ känsla. Huvuddelen av skivan ägnas dock åt altsaxen. I sju låtar med en längd på ungefär två minuter styck är det som att Gärdin tar upp det musikaliska skissblocket. Klangerna blir något längre och grövre och de snabba vandringarna inte lika vanliga. Om det är altsaxens både bredare register och djupare klang som frammanar detta vet jag inte. Annorlunda är det dock jämfört med sopransaxofonen. Och jag gillar det skissartade, en snabb koncentrerad stund, sedan vidare. Och tveklöst har Per Gärdin förmågan att hålla det intressant."

"[Saxophone party] With Loos the Stockholm-based saxophonist Per Gärdin releases his second solo album on his own label ibnmusik. With alto and soprano saxophones he moves deft and with feeling over some sketchy songs. To get past giants such as Steve Lacy and Evan Parker on the soprano saxophone is next to impossible. On the other hand, it is not a must, you may well incorporate their musical language into your own without plagiarizing. Per Gärdin succeeds with this. In two variations - "re: call I" and "re: Call II" - I also hear Terry Riley's soprano sax when Gärdin with light touch repeats fast phrases that are continuously changing. It is very nice. The soprano returns on the disc's longest song - "Dr. Trana" - where it is intermingled with something that could be a ball that spins in a wooden bowl (but is not). Albeit the saxophone sounds move in fast motion Gärdin creates a meditative feeling. The bulk of the disc is devoted, however, to the alto sax. In the seven tracks with a length of about two minutes each it's like Gärdin takes up the musical sketch pad. The sounds will be slightly longer and thicker and the fast meanderings are less common. If there is the alto's both wider range and deeper sound that evokes this I do not know. It is nevertheless different compared with the soprano saxophone. And I like the sketchy, a quick concentrated moment, then on. And undoubtedly Per Gärdin has the ability to keep it interesting."

Magnus Nygren, Soundofmusic 17.4 2012ärdin-loos


PER GÄRDIN: insitu (ibn)

"...Han öppnar rum där Terry Riley loopar sin saxofon, där Evan Parker snurrar upp sina snabba figurer, men hittar också egna rum där fint spel ljuder. Mycket intressant."

Magnus Nygren, Soundofmusic januari 2011


   Jesus Moreno, Diario del AltoAragón 17.5 2010

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