- 01 – Short Cuts
- 02 – Mind the Gap – I. Keep Left
- 03 – Mind the Gap – II. Next train approaching
- 04 – Mind the Gap – III. Currently out of order
- 05 – Mind the Gap – IV. Keep Right
- 06 – Genetically Modified Fados – I. Your eyes
- 07 – Genetically Modified Fados – II. Come back
- 08 – Genetically Modified Fados – III. Camellias
- 09 – Zoom in – Zoom out
- 10 – Ends Meet – I. Tempo giusto
- 11 – Ends Meet – II. Libero e delicato
- 12 – Ends Meet – III. Libero e tranquillo
- 13 – Ends Meet – IV. Vivo
- 14 – Archipelago
- 15 – Steel Factory
A r c h i p e l a g o
Luís Tinoco / Drumming GP
Archipelago features vibrant and colourful works for percussion ensemble, including Short Cuts, originally written for the Apollo Saxophone Quartet and then rearranged by the composer, and Mind the Gap for solo marimba, a work inspired by travelling around London. Genetically Modified Fados and Zoom in – Zoom out were both commissioned by Drumming Grupo de Percussão. Genetically Modified Fados features pre-recorded sounds as well as exploring the elemental Fado style of Portugal, while Zoom in – Zoom out subtly evokes the rhythms and melodies of Brazilian popular music. Ends Meet is a cyclical work for marimba and string quartet, and the eponymous recent work Archipelago, dedicated to the album’s skilful conductor, Miquel Bernat, combines vibraphone with partially-tuned wah-wah tubes, creating fascinating microtonal effects.
Steel Factory is a thrilling work for steel drum ensemble, and is dedicated to Drumming Grupo de Percussão, a group established 20 years ago in 1999, since when it has become one of the most original and dynamic contemporary music projects on the Iberian Peninsula. In Portugal, the group quickly became popular with audiences, musicians and cultural centres, playing in theatres and music festivals all over the country. This popularity soon spread to reach an international audience.
Luís Tinoco is a graduate of the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa. He gained a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music, becoming an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in 2016, and a PhD from the University of York. His catalogue includes chamber music, orchestra, opera and ballet. Recent commissions include pieces for the Orquestra Gulbenkian, the Sinfónica Portuguesa, the Sinfónica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP), the Seattle Symphony and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and his music is published by the University of York Music Press.
Award-winning percussionist Miquel Bernat was the founder of the Ictus Ensemble of Contemporary Music in Brussels, plays with the Rosas Dance Company of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and has worked with the Barcelona Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1999 he founded Drumming Grupo de Percussão.
“One of the best recorded percussion ensembles I’ve heard in ages… Tinoco’s music for them is interesting enough in its own right… But the recording itself is demonstration class; so vivid, airy and resonant.”
BBC Radio 3 Record Review - Andrew McGregor / 4 January 2020
“It's one of the best-recorded percussion ensembles I've heard in ages. Music by the Portuguese composer Luis Tinoco for the ensemble Drumming GP, this is Short Cuts, and the idea is that the musical gestures can be set alongside quicker routes to the same destination... [Tinoco's] music showcased in this new album from contemporary percussion ensemble Drumming GP. Tinoco's music for them is interesting enough in its own right; you get Mind the Gap for solo marimba, his memories of travelling in London, as well as Genetically Modified Fados' reactions to old recordings of Portuguese torch songs. But the recording itself is demonstration class; so vivid, airy and resonant. The album's called Archipelago; it's new from the Odradek label.”
“Have you heard the wonderful music of Luís Tinoco? I invite you to try out the latest album of his work, Archipelago, recently released on the Odradek label… spellbinding.”
Memetaria - Thomas May / December 2019
“Have you heard the wonderful music of Luís Tinoco? I invite you to try out the latest album of his work, Archipelago, recently released on the Odradek label.
I first encountered this excellent Portuguese composer and acclaimed radio host — who grew up in the post-revolution generation — in the early Morlot days with Seattle Symphony, when they played FrisLand, a kind of orchestral ode to Bill Frisell. (FrisLand is available, along with such works as Tinoco’s Cello Concerto, on his previous Odradek album, The Blue Voice of the Water).
Tinoco, 50, has written some pieces for the stage as well as vocal and orchestral works. Archipelago focuses on chamber pieces featuring percussion and surveys Tinoco’s musical language over the past two decades.
The composer’s father was a professional painter and an amateur jazz musician, and the obvious camaraderie Tinoco enjoys with the Porto-based Drumming Grupo de Percussão (Drumming GP) — though he himself is not a performer — suggests an intriguing blend of working with a classical chamber ensemble and a tight-knit jazz band.
Drumming GP, led by Miquel Barnat and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has earned a strong reputation for its boundary-crossing projects. Tinoco first collaborated with the group when they commissioned him in 2003, and he dedicates to them the album’s culminating work, Steel Factory (another of the several pieces they have commissioned from him over the years).
Archipelago was recorded in the monastery of São Bento da Vitória in Porto. The album is also available in 5.1 surround, so you can immerse yourself entirely in the expert production by sound engineers Hugo Romano Guimarães and Santi Barguñó.
Tinoco has included several pieces from the early 2000s. The opening track, Short Cuts, revisits his 2004 saxophone quartet, refashioned here for percussion. Already in this early stage of his career, Tinoco was developing a language centered on deftly channeled currents of energy, here intensified through the alluring timbral combinations he has devised anew for the percussion ensemble.
Another early piece, the circular Ends Meet, is for marimba and string quartet and was originally written for the percussionist Pedro Carneiro. Tinoco derives fascinating dramatic impulses from the combination of these sound worlds over the course of this four-movement piece as it continually revisits material from different perspectives.
Mind the Gap from 2000, is the earliest piece here, a product of Tinoco’s years as a postgraduate student in London, and charts a variety of journeys with solo marimba.
If Tinoco’s neatly chiseled rhythmic patterns evoke a sense of distances traveled, the recent Genetically Modified Fados (2018, a commission from Drumming GP) oscillates back and forth in time. Tinoco juxtaposes music for percussion quartet with archival recordings of Portuguese Fado featuring male and female singers. These faded, embedded artefacts strip away any sentimentality from the nostalgia. The radiant ghostliness of the triptych’s third panel, Camellias, is especially spellbinding.
In Zoom in – Zoom out, another Drumming GP commission (2010, dedicated to Bernat), Tinoco turns to the popular music of Brazil subliminally by alluding to its rhythmic patterns and melodic structures. It is scored for a trio playing vibraphone, two marimbas, and two bass drums.
The most recently composed music is the title track (2019, also dedicated to Bernat), which is for solo vibraphone and eight wah-wah tubes. Archipelago is a stunningly beautiful poem made of subtly timed resonances, exquisitely micro-tonal differentiations in the tuning of the tubes, and a carefully calibrated dramaturgy of varying mallets and bowings (and even hands). Archipelago submerges the listener in a hauntingly liquescent environment. Add it to your list of evocative water musics.
Archipelago also makes for a fascinating contrast with the grand finale and longest track, Steel Factory (2006). In this piece for an ensemble of steel drums, Tinoco again foregrounds his music of energy, starting with deep, ominous pulsations that set the stage for its highly theatrical gestures. The sound world here also incorporates bongos and steel bars (sixens) and elicits an astonishing variety, later building to a thrillingly clangorous climax.”
“The Drumming Group de Percussão and the Quartetto de Cordas de Matosinhos prove sensitive and elegant performers of this music which is rather thoughtful and quiet, except for the final Steel Factory, which, with instruments of the same name, conveys a vibrant, inspired, and humorous mood.”
Pizzicato - Remy Franck / January 2020
“After his orchestral works, the Portuguese composer Luis Tinoco now presents his compositions for percussion. Short Cuts (F) is an arrangement of a work originally written for saxophone quartet, hence the addition F, and Ends Meet is composed for marimba and string quartet. The Drumming Group de Percussao and the Quartetto de Cordas de Matosinhos prove sensitive and elegant performers of this music which is rather thoughtful and quiet, except for the final Steel Factory, which, with instruments of the same name, conveys a vibrant, inspired, and humorous mood. While the orchestral works immediately evoke a southern flair, this is only partially true for the percussion works.”