"Sixteen years-old I was when I first shaved my head. At the time, mom still tried to nurture an idea of control over my own body, so I knew quite well that shaving my head would be a disruptive and outrageous act towards her and, subsequently, against all the expectations the world had of me. For the motivations to shave my head weren’t just an expression of rebellion in itself. They came from the necessity I had of somehow being able to express a feeling of absolute strangeness towards the universe I then knew. Shaving my head represented the potential scream for change. A few years later I shaved my head again. I then started shaving it once a year as a kind of a new year’s reset; and now, now I always shave my head.
I cannot, nor do I care to, understand if there is some sort of a Pavlovian behavioural relation or if the metaphor works just fine, but if at a young age I felt peaks of emotional instability, that loss is now almost constant.
Quantum physics claims the impossibility of touch between matter – in a way that when we hug some other person, our bodies are in fact very close but contact is non-existent. Quite frankly, we’re simply just ghosts.
We incommunicate between ourselves in incomprehensible languages and we are not able to touch anything. If on the one hand the only solution for an eternity of indifference seems to be resistance through union, on the other we know it to be impossible, a chimera we use to survive with the certainty of already being dead.
There seems to be a consensus in the scientific community about how, even after death, bodies keep responding to nervous stimuli – nothing further from dancing frog legs when you pour them with a bit of salt. The definition of the border between life and death thus becomes quite abstract and, if we want to take coherency until the end, we might as well just say that whatever will one day die should immediately be included in the category of ‘dead’. Therein lies the importance of the expression.
In nature there is no such thing as living beings, only dead beings roaming about chasing the stimuli they receive.
As a ghost I seek the company of other ghosts to soothe the emotional credit that keeps on stimulating me. A familiarity built in circular communion where every ghost is a centre of tension to which one recurrently goes back now and again, a wandering just as nostalgic as it is urgent. A slow processing of reality being decodified and personified in people and spaces.
“Um lugar é tão difícil de encontrar [A place – how difficult do find]”, Éme sings. And even though I do find more and more people and spaces filing up an idea of presence, I still feel as lonely and lost as always. The more I invest on my emotional wealth, the more I drown myself. Fortunes of emotion float on my account but my balance is as negative as it always is.
I adore, and resort to, ghosts for the bits and pieces of potential lives they have. But what is life if not a collection of potential lives? The only ambition is being dragged, in slow-motion, in an unending story of an inner epical poem without any heroes. The urban stray amongst ghosts as the main tool for our daily survival.
Does a fly make the same effort while flying inside or outside of a tenth-floor window? What about on a twentieth floor? I feel I’m getting to thirtieth floor without even remembering if wouldn’t be easier to fly closer to the ground. The hope of one day finding an open window where I could just rest impels me to keep on going up – there is nothing below and I know that. Enough with Herzog’s penguin who decides to go towards the Antarctic mountains, there where death surely awaits him; but where at least, or at last, he manages to search for more hope than in the survival routine his species developed through generations on end.
Also he is a ghost.
Not so long ago, someone around me got amazed at the resilience and durability of the most disgraceful junkies without even noticing they too are no more dead or alive than we are. No matter how unpleasant and unwelcoming my changing reality may be, it nonetheless appeases me to keep on searching for flies seeking for a home.
I live surrounded by people I admire and couldn't make a record in any other way - surrounded in solitude as a form of communion through reverberation." Bernardo Álvares
released December 12, 2019
Bernardo Álvares – mixer, amp, feedbacks, doublebass, percussion
António Caramelo – electronics
Bruno Pereira – laptop
Francisco da Silva – electronics
Rudi Brito – percussion, strings, electronics
António M. Silva – synthesizer
Mestre André – no-imput mixer, amp, feedbacks
Tito Silva – trumpet, percussion
Dora Vieira – flugelhorn
David Machado – alto sax
Nuno Oliveira – clarinet, percussion
João Sarnadas – mixer
Bruno Silva – laptop
Ricardo Pimentel – mixer
Recorded live in Damas by Raphael Soares & Leonardo Bindilatti
Mixed by Mestre André & Bernardo Álvares
Photos by Nuno Moita & Bernardo Álvares
Drawings/posters by Aude Barrio
combustão lenta records // Coletivo Casa Amarela // Favela Discos