(Edition Wandelweiser)

Generally speaking, children do not appreciate quietness, doing everything in their power to break it with screams and noises. However, try and put a guitar in a room with a lone child. Nine times out of ten, the puppy’s hand will start plucking the strings with increasing energy in utter absorption, making them resonate in the silence. In such moments a future is often traced, depending on the vibrational impact inside that still-developing human being. Just reflections while playing this disc, which comprises five tracks for paired electric guitars. Conceived in 2016, the pieces were revised two years later and performed by the composer with Didier Aschour, both applying slight detuning touches during the act to minimally enhance the quivering essence of adjacent partials. I have frequently aimed caustic remarks towards compositional trends dictating rarefied gestures; in this case — aware of Ferran Fages’ seriousness — the hope was to find intellectual honesty and unassuming intelligence. It did happen.

The duo combines the focus of a scrupulous scientist with the quasi-motionless grace of a Butoh dancer. The pitches — rigorously sparse, their trails occasionally conflicting a bit — are caught as brief gleams in the dark, noted mnemonically and psychologically, the decay followed to the very end. The interplay does not create a typical contrapuntal fabric; imagine, if you will, a humanization of bell towers tolling slowly and independently, sporadic reverberant cohesion occurring by chance. In conditions of stillness, the effect is evidently stronger; few things possess a greater healing force than string-generated harmonics. Nonetheless, let’s finish this analysis with an amusing story. At one point, from a distant corner of the house a radio started blasting The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” while I was in “deep listening” semi-trance. You may not believe it, but after the initial annoyance that mix of entirely divergent nuances became oddly attractive. Quoting Pete Townshend himself, the sea refuses no river.

Advertisement