by handwrist

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Antifragility V : VIDEO:

«I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.»

Ecclesiastes, 9:11

Antifragility is the property of benefiting from volatility and disorder; as distinguished from fragile, that is harmed by volatility, and robustness, which is indifferent to it. This idea (and neologism) was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. «Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.» Since the nature of reality is random and volatile, it makes antifragility a very important part of existence, whether we realize it or not.

I have been interested in the subject of randomness and uncertainty for a couple of years now and about three months ago a friend, unaware of my interest, introduced me to Mr. Taleb. I have since been fascinated by his books The Black Swan and Antifragile and I decided to dedicate the album to these ideas. Of course, this is intended to be a piece of art, not an essay, so we won't get too preachy. Furthermore, the music should be the real protagonist, the rest is just subtext for entertainment purposes. If there is any message to take from this, I hope it is that one should read Mr. Taleb's books.

«Writing about music is like dancing about architecture»
Frank Zappa

One of my long held beliefs is that sounds do not have intrinsic meaning – and that music, being the organization of sound, is also free by extension of those elusive concepts. Music transcends the petty retributions of argument. It doesn't try to sell you any idea by itself.

At the same time, humans, being the suggestive type, can easily superimpose ideas onto the music, by way of lyrics or simple subtext, read into it, and pretend that the sounds they're listening to are connected to the ideas expressed by words in any way other than that rosy, naive version of confirmation bias.

Also being humans, we crave entertainment. And we're entertained by the illusion of meaning. I think the preference for the human voice in popular music (and the popularity of novels over essays) is derived from that very fact – people want to associate words with the sounds – or stories with ideas - because it forces some structure on things too complex to be fully understood. Every piece of fiction is like a map, necessarily a reduction on the original.

But, alas, we want to be entertained. So this album has a lot of, randomly assigned, subtext – in the form of three mini plays. This was the first time I wrote something of the sort (I did write some short movies, but this was approached rather differently – the focus is solely on the dialogue), because I don't really enjoy the theater. In fact, it is probably the art I appreciate the least and I would much prefer that those dialogues be captured in film, rather than performed on a stage. At this point, I don't see either happening.

The ideas expressed in each sub-chapter are not my own, I learned them from various sources, some I can credit, others I don't remember – I doubt there is anything original in what is expressed here but I lack the erudition to truly know if it is or not. They are however subjected to my perception of them, so it is possible that they are misrepresented, half-baked or just plain wrong. In those cases please focus on the sounds.

Lastly, to ensure this isn't too pretentious (just a tiny bit), please note that the album could have been called AIDS (if we took the titles of the three sections and make an acronym out of it). So, there you go.

Consumer information: for optimal enjoyment, the music and the writing should be consumed separately.


released July 19, 2015

All music composed, performed, produced and arranged by Rui Botelho Rodrigues.

Cover photo by João Abecasis Fernandes.

Thanks to the following people who have contributed both directly and indirectly to make this album possible, in no particular order:

My mother, my father, my family; Miguel Angelo Antunes, João Fonseca, João Marques, Rodrigo Abecasis Fernandes, João Abecasis Fernandes, Hugo Botelho Rodrigues, Lourenço Vales.

Special thanks to my wife and lover.




handwrist Lisbon, Portugal

a solo musical venture that can somewhat be described by the incredibly meaningless term 'Psychedelic Jazz Rock'. for metadata purposes, though, it's great.

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