Amplifiers & Explosions

I’m excited to finally launch this idea, albeit in a small manner, and in a weird time.

I give you Amplifiers & Explosions.

In short, this is a blanket idea/project for a lot of the things that @Angela and I have been doing over the years, which now have a physical home in the countryside of Portugal.

Some of it will be a continuation of things that have already been happening (Gib Gabs and such) and others are new, and many more yet to be started.

The first of these new ones is a series of video performances and conversations with improvisers called play talk play. The plan is to put out a new one every month, and the first one is with fantastic vocalist and improviser Audrey Chen.

@Angela and I have been slowly filming these over the last couple of years and we now have enough to start putting them out (we think). There are some exciting ones in the pipeline which I’m really pleased to finally be able to put out there.


A bit late with this month’s video, but here is the latest play talk play with Ray Evanoff:


This month’s play talk play is with fantastic drummer and composer Pedro Melo Alves:


This is wonderful stuff. Thank you for sharing.


Here is another play talk play with Wade Matthews on laptop and electronics.


glad to have come across this inspiring project. thank you.

i’ve only watched the most recent upload and loved it, really captivating. interesting that you both mention dealing with different forms of limitations, but the resulting sound is limitless, in a way.

are you planning an audio release of these performances? or is that kinda antithetical to the project?


I would love an audio release as well (if for no other reason than to support with a few bucks, as the video quality is solid as-is). just watched the Pedro Melo Alves video and was really blown away - not just by the playing, but in hearing that neither of you play with other percussionists very often. really great series and I look forward to digging into the latest!


Glad you’ve dug these.

Yeah it’s interesting that. It’s like a “category” thing. Reminds me of playing Everquest or something like that, when building a group you need a single “tank”, a “healer” etc…

So a “drummer” is often like, “cool, we have one of those now”, lets get someone that plays something else.

I also had a silly idea a bunch of years ago to put together an ensemble of only percussionists, but with people that specialized in using a single part of the drumset, like a deconstructed drumset (me on snare, Lê Quan Ninh on bass drum, Ray Evanoff on hi-hat, Jacob Felix Heule on floor tom and Luigi Marino on cymbals).


Whoops, missed these.

I think the video does a lot for it, in terms of seeing the communication, setting, etc… (not to mention @Angela’s great eyes on the Audrey and Ray ones).

But yeah, it’s a bit antithetical, particularly the selling part.

Parallel to this, @Angela and I have been filming some longer form interview/podcasty-type things as well, but we don’t have enough of those to start putting them up yet. But things like that may lend themselves better to an audio-only version.


absolutely. it’s incredibly intimate observing the subtle gestures and pauses. it has me hanging on for the next unexpected turn. i just watched the Audrey Chen performance and enjoyed the visuals there even more, really nice work.


Here’s the most recent one with Sam Andreae (lurker @sandreae).

This one is a peculiar one (also named slightly different) because it takes a kind of meta-journey halfway through due to some (off camera) interview/discussion stuff with @Angela.

It was nice kind of flowing and bending with this one both in terms of the play talk play-ing, but also the talk play talk-ing that follows.


Getting near of the ones we have filmed already… kind of a weird time to start posting them when a global lockdown was kicking off, but here we are!

This one is with João Carlos Pinto, a composer, performer, and instrument builder.


This month we have Nuno Trocado on guitar and electronics (Supercollider):


What a great concept, really interesting. Communicating the ideas behind the music and creative and improvisational process is really powerful and inspiring. Keep up the good work.


This month (a couple days late!) is Inês Malheiro on vocals (and I got to dust off my Plumbutter, Karper, and combs):


This month we have double-bassist Sérgio Tavares:


This month we have Gustavo Costa, from Sonoscopia:

This was filmed a bit before they started stricter lockdown here in Portugal. At the moment we haven’t filmed the one for March yet. We’ve got a few more lined up, it’s just a matter of it being safe to do so.


Ooh, this looks very interesting. Only watched a bit but will definitely watch when I have time. Thanks for making and sharing :slight_smile:


Another delightful exploration of the edges of improvisation from Rodrigo!


Nice! I was going to post it later in the afternoon (US time), but yeah, it was great to be back at it after a 2month hiatus from lockdown.

I guess we were quite lucky in that regard that were still able to make some of them prior to the more strict lockdown that happened earlier this year.

The lack of (international) travel has also been good for meeting more local musicians. For example, this is the first time I met Jorge, perhaps an hour or so before what you see there in this video.