Ferran Fages

A Cavall Entre Dos Cavalls: Composicions per a Guitarra

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The Portuguese guitarist Ferran Fages was introduced to avant-garde audiences by Ernesto Rodrigues' reputed Creative Sources label. Despite the imprint's history in quiet, scaled-down experimental music, A Cavall Entre Dos Cavalls comes as a surprise. This set of electric guitar solos (13 titles, two more unannounced) is very listener-friendly: gentle, mostly tonal, pleasant. Fages' short pieces (written pieces, not improvisations as could be expected) involve slow strumming and chord variations presented thoughtfully. Loren MazzaCane Connors comes immediately to mind, along with Ernesto Diaz-Infante's first albums (of piano music, but with the same kind of naïveté) and Steffen Basho-Junghans (his "Virgin Orchestra" series). Maybe also the softness of Ben Monder (minus the jazz element). The album is strongly inhabited by a sense of discovery, of finding one's true self as the notes and chords are delicately played. A first listen highlights the prettiness of it all, while giving the impression that substance is lacking -- and the short duration of the album (thirty-three-and-a-half-minutes) contributes to the latter. But subsequent listens dispel the vagueness in aim and reveal that the prettiness will not fade with time. What at first sounds like pointless meanders is ultimately heard as a clear statement. A statement that happens to be easy on the ears and prone to meditation.

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