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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Ferran Fages - Cançons per a un lent retard [Etude Records - 2007]

The new trend in electronic music seems to be going acoustic and sometimes even start writing 'real songs'. Ferran Fages, a Catalan musician whose resume mentions, besides guitar, no-input mixer and turntables in Cremaster also took this step. On A cavall entre dos cavalls and this album it's just guitar.

Although radical, the approach isn't completely different. The music on Cançons per a un lent retard is very much everything that happens besides the notes. When strumming the strings a microscope is put on the 'unwanted sounds', as it were. Just to reveal all the overtones, scrapes, harmonics, resonations and even a mild drone that happen in this process and are very much wanted here. Although the endresult shows some similarity with the work of Derek Bailey and Eugene Chadbourne I feel Fages' approach in the end is closer to Alva Noto and Ryoji Ikeda, albeit less rhythmic.

Fages' impulse to compose this music was the slow decay of his father's life. Not a posthumous tribute, as the album was finished for a month when his father passed away. The music follows this by taking its time, slowly and thoughtful. Various techniques are used to get all kinds of sounds from the guitar, but still within the conventional means of pick and sometimes a bottleneck, no extended Chadbourne techniques. Some parts do remind of John Zorn's tribute to "Pops", the infamous The Book Of Heads. Cançons... is easier to digest than that one though. With its heavy theme of his father's decline it's by no means 'easy', it's heavy with emotion.

The devil is in the detail as the saying goes, this album needs to be played on a decent soundsystem at loud enough a volume to reveal all the intricacies that are invoked from the metal- and woodwork of the acoustic guitar. The only critique would be the length, it's quite heavy to sit through the entire 70 minute course of it. At the same time it feels rather disrespectful to turn it off halfway through. Had Ferran cut a little fat here and there it would've been a quite stunning album.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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