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CD Feature/ Ferran Fages: "Cancons per a un lent retard"

img  Tobias

Everybody demands honesty in music, but noone wants an artist to really share himself  completely with his audience. It is a sad (or, if you like, perfectly natural) fact that what a listener perceives as truthfulness and “emotion” is really just the recognition of a shared element in the voice of a performer and his own. So how can one appreciate a work like “Cancons per a un lent retard”, which takes its seat right next to you, just like the virtual parents in a Freud’ean marriage bed? The answer is you can’t – and that’s what makes it stick out from anything we’ve heard this year.

“The impulse to compose this music has been to accompany the slow decay of my father’s life”, Ferran Fages writes. It is the first important sentence attached to his second solo album. What is remarkable about it is the use of “accompany” instead of terms like “lament” or “cope with”. “Cancons per a un lent retard” finds Fages unable to yet “process” his feelings and maybe it even documents a time when he was incapable of any at all. It is, essentially, music to document the passing of time or even to replace it.

Unfiltered, the seconds tick away in tracks of between barely three and monumental seventeen minutes, while the album approaches its peak in the two epic states at its core. Of course, the word “accompany” also implies that these pieces were maybe the only friend in a phase of solitude. Their spartanely sparse instrumentation of only a single acoustic guitar and no additional overdubs or effect processing, let some faint and bodyless drones hidden in the chinks of the tapestry somewhere, certainly suggests so.

The second important statement is even shorter than the first: “It is not a posthumous homage”. Effectively, this means that “Cancons” is not about Fages’ father – but about the tragedy of loosing him and the helplessness which goes with that. For minutes, the guitarist slaps a single string to the point of break, churns out clustered chords, hammers raw riffs from his fingers in compositions which are going nowhere or at least not towards a tangible resolution. On the chilling “Paraula Clau”, space is filled with nothing but the sound of tunings and detunings – rarely have they sounded so intense.

As a listener, of course, one asks for a reason to undergo this torture. One could treat “Cancons per a un lent retard” as a cathartic exercise, as a ritual of cleansing, but that would mean diverting it from its real use. If you’re true to this work, then you’ll accept its inacceptance.

This music is the most absolute art there is, it is profoundly egoistical, existing just because it needed to be written, with no audience in mind and no practical use intended. That, however, is exactly what sharing means – allowing the other in and making him undergo what one experienced without looking for a message: If  there’s nothing to understand, there’s nothing to explain.

Homepage: Ferran Fages
Homepage: Etude Records

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