Marcelo dos Reis - Cascas

Marcelo dos Reis - prepared and unprepared nylon string guitar

1 - Sónica
2 - Molusco
3 - Crina
4 - Bostik Azul
5 - Minerva
6 - Ceifa (to Alzira Francisca)
7 - Corvo (to Manuel Francisco)

Recorded in June 2017 at Academia de Música CNM. 
Design and Artwork by KSá. 
Inside Photo by Adriana Ávila. 
Mastered by Marcelo dos Reis. 
Executive Production by Cipsela Records. 
All Music by Marcelo dos Reis. 
Cipsela 2017. 

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Limited edition of 300 copies. 

“Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you,” said Sartre, maybe. I have never been able to find the source. But it’s an intriguing way to think about the work of improvising musicians—always free to jettison the “rules,” but only free within the boundaries of the occasion: an artist, in a moment, in a place. Even playing alone, a musician brushes against “what has been done” to them. Freedom is often spoken of as an end in itself; really, it’s just a gateway. Freedom allows you to choose your means, but it cannot be the reason for making music.

Marcelo’s music brings all this to mind, because he has consistently approached it in a way that isn’t defined by opposition. His is not freedom from rules or tradition or genre. It’s freedom to make the musical choice the moment demands, unburdened. Here, it’s freedom to sit, alone with a guitar, and gather his ideas. A few he has tried before, reworking and refining them over time. Some existed as a thought, a concept now being realized. Others were born spontaneously in the moment his fingers set to the guitar strings. Each track explores a method, a motif, a mood. Each opens a space for something to happen, creates an interval in which something new enters the world.

A while back, Marcelo and I were talking about ma. An everyday word in Japanese, but also an aesthetic awareness of these spaces, these intervals. The idea that nothing is foundational to something. Ma is the gap we experience between things that allows them to exist, that outlines their contours and supplies their meaning. In solo music, you are responsible not only for the "things" but also the space that defines them. The music here is a personal undertaking, and solo performance is always an act of vulnerability. It is an invitation into a private space. The experience of the music is deeply singular for the musician and deeply singular for the listener, but in different ways. Another gap. But, as you listen to these songs, that small gap is all that lies between your heart and mind and Marcelo’s.

Dan Sorrells, July 2017    

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