"12 de Janeiro, 2020 – Antesdurantedepois"
a testimonial by George Christian
"Ensemble Phuturista was formed in January, 2019, but it had been on my mind ever since I talked with Maria Joana Cajado – or Maria Phuturista – around the end of 2018. She is a performance, multimedia artist who, at the time, wanted to flirt with music (nowadays, she writes music of her own). She told me about how much she missed a multimedia event that used to take place here in the city of Salvador, called Dominicaos, created and produced by Orlando Pinho and Heitor Dantas. Maria and me were participants of that event on several occasions. Maria talked to me about having me as a house-band (or her boyfriend at the time) for the new event she wanted to create, but I felt we could have more musicians to help. So, a seed of Ensemble Phuturista was planted in my mind. Still in the end of 2018, me and Maria were considering the possibility to invite Heitor to help us build the event. And our mutual friend, the composer, musician and producer Heitor Dantas accepted.
So, Onda Phuturista (at the time, written as Futurista) was created. “Futuristic Wave” in Portuguese. A multimedia event I ran with Heitor Dantas and Maria Phuturista. It was created mirroring Dominicaos, but with a detour: a house-band for the occasion. Like Dominicaos, we’d have an art exhibition occupying the same place in which the music was happening.
And this place was Galeria Paciência (Patience Gallery), by Luiz Fernando Landeiro. Two young artists were invited, with their paintings occupying their respective rooms in the gallery: Vivão and Ísis. The latter has also contributed a sculpture of a little tower of music scores and light – it can be seen in one of the picture, along with Maria Phuturista’s presence. Bárbara Pessoa was the photographer, and Caetano Britto was the VJ. All were decisive in capturing the aura of the event, as well as the artists, showing freshness to the scene. It’s not that different from what Andy Warhol envisioned with Exploding Plastic Inevitable, which also had live projections and a house-band: The Velvet Underground.
The album here was a collective improvisation recorded live on an event that, despite the little public, was significantly historic. It was a product of minds that wanted to shake the cultural inertia of a city. I wanted Ensemble Phuturista to be a collective free-improvisation group. I didn’t know exactly how to make it work, except by calling friends that might be helpful to give more music to the occasion: the drummer/percussionist Fernando Fernandes, the cellist André Miranda Filho, the tenor-saxophonist Paulo Roberto Pitta, and banjoist Vítor 'Gigito' Rios. Maria Phuturista, on her part, called her friend Natália Garcez – a singer and performer based in São Paulo, whose artistic name is Tallionpills.
Heitor, using his experience with Dominicaos and also as a composer, really helped us with the modelling of the script/score of our performance, organized by him during a meeting he had with me, Maria, Tallionpills and Fernando. It was decided to have two parts - one acoustic and another one - electric (that was my idea), with a break during the acts. Such organization was really helpful for the whole event, that was introduced. Paulo Roberto Pitta did introduction with his solo improvisation at the balcony of the gallery. After some minutes, I played amplified acoustic guitars and our group with Gigito, André, Fernando and Paulo Pitta (later on) made this conversational acoustic improvisation that I called “Dança da Realidade”. After the break, we changed instrumentation: I moved to electric guitar (a Telecaster), also using delay and fuzz pedal effects; André, who was playing cello, played electric bass; Fernando went from the percussion set to the drums; Gigito went from the acoustic banjo in the first part to the electric banjo with distortion and delay; only Paulo Pitta remained on his tenor saxophone, but microphoned with a flanger effect. The second set was called “Estranhos Elétricos Balbucios”. Heitor Dantas helped more in the electronic part of the sound (samplers and live mixing) during the whole occasion. Maria Phuturista was the vocalist for the electric part, along with Talionpills, who sang with her effect pedals. Heitor also manipulated electronically Maria’s voice. I helped directing the band’s music, as well as Maria guided us towards and during the time of the event and, also, inspired us with her physical and vocal performance, while Heitor was the man responsible for orchestrating the sound environment and recording. The released album, however, is almost-an-hour cut of an event that was longer, of about 3 hours.
So, behind this apparent chaotic, but beautiful mess of this recording, there was collective magic... A utopia of a project that aimed at giving life and future for the underground. We were speaking of giving life and voice to art that is misplaced in a metropolis. In fact, we were the voice of a metropolis at the seaside of a country that still deals with underprivileged conditions. We, now, are in a global pandemic period, and living through the worst ethical and political times these days. The thoughts of these give me real disappointment. But I keep remembering our work as Ensemble Phuturista as a last breath of a collective avant-garde scene. And it makes me really proud to be part of it. There was another event in February, but some of the magic was gone or changed. I prefer to regard this January 12th recording as a definitive statement of what the music of Ensemble Phuturista was meant to be. A great mutant sound enigma coming from the urban tropics. A voice of a future that wasn’t meant to be of these days." --George Christian
released February 13, 2021
A collective live improvisation planned, performed and recorded in the first edition of the event Onda Phuturista, at the Galeria Paciência (Patience Gallery) on January 12th, 2020. One year, one month and one day after that, on 13/02/2021, the album "12 de Janeiro, 2020 – Antesdurantedepois" came out on Mahorka.
Musicians in Ensemble Phuturista are:
George Christian – acoustic-electric guitar, electric guitar
Heitor Dantas – live electronics, samplers
Maria Phuturista – vocals (track 3 and 4)
Talionpills – voice and electronics (tracks 3 and 4)
Fernando Fernandes – percussion and drums
Vítor Rios – banjo
André Miranda Filho – cello, electric bass
Paulo Roberto Pitta – tenor saxophone
Recording: Heitor Dantas
Production: Heitor Dantas and George Christian
Mastering: Yago Franco
Pictures: Bárbara Pessoa