Ferran Fages is a musician from Barcelona, Spain who performs using turntables, electronics, and guitar. For ?Can?ons Per A Un Lent Retard,? he performs acoustic guitar pieces he created during the time leading up to his father?s death. Fages states in the liner notes, ?The impulse to compose this music has been to accompany the slow decay of my father?s life. . . one way of expressing the anguish and emptiness of seeing and living a life slip away. It is not a posthumous homage.? Consequently, the nine tracks on the album are harsh and unsettling, yet extremely skillful in their portrayal of the range of strong emotions surrounding the decline and death of a loved one.
Fages deals in raw emotion throughout the album, conjuring feelings of sadness, emptiness, and anger. The sadder pieces have a dark, minimal quality with a huge emphasis on the spaces and silence in the music. Notes and chords are played and left to decay into complete silence. The beginning of the track ?Suspens horitzontal? manipulates these spaces to great effect, taking long pauses between parts to allow the guitar to silence itself. Despite its simplicity, the piece overflows with dark emotion, making the sadness Fages must have felt palpable in the music.
In contrast to the quieter moments, there are pieces that pack a sharp bite. On these tracks, it sounds as if Fages is literally attacking his guitar with a series of dissonant chords and cutting notes. This is especially apparent in the heavy-sounding piece ?Gir lent,? which rolls out in a series of loud, fractured chords. The sense of sadness remains, but is accompanied by a strong sense of anger. In these loud moments, it is easy to imagine the helpless anger surrounding death and the urge to fight the inevitable, but being wholly unable.
?Can?ons Per A Un Lent Retard? is an extremely difficult album to digest, yet rewards perseverance. Close listening reveals the raw emotion echoed by each and every note. Probably, it is best heard in pieces to fully grip what is happening in each part without feeling drained or overwhelmed. Still, it is worth the time and effort to explore the deep recesses of this deceptively simple music. 8/10 -- Matt Blackall (14 November, 2007)