Agusti Fernandez & Joan Saura: Vents (2011)
The opening "Tramuntana" (in several countries, the name of a strong northerly wind) begins with hisses and glitches from Saura, joined by inside-the-box playing from Fernández that produces rumbling sounds. Gradually, tension is built using metallic scrapings and whines. Although the piece comes to a relatively calmer conclusion, that tension is not resolved and is left dangling, to be built upon further on the following "Gregal" (the name of the Mediterranean north-east wind). On "Garbi" (a south-easterly wind), both players produce very percussive soundsFernández's piano prepared so that the notes have a metallic clangto the extent that it could be a percussion duet.
Across the eight tracks, there is a consistency to the soundscape produced, making Vents a coherent album that is best listened to in its entirety. Full of drama and atmosphere, its music allows no respite for relaxation; there is no lyrical playing here, instead it builds excitement and a sense of looming danger.
Despite the thematic titling, it is important to emphasize that this is not intended to be "program music"; Fernández and Saura do not sound as if they are deliberately seeking to imitate the sound of the winds and their effects but, instead, are intently focused on reacting to each other to produce dramatic music, which they do, admirably well. Not easy listening but richly rewarding.
Track Listing: Tramuntana; Gregal; Garbi; Migjorn; Xaloc; Mestral; Ponent; Llevant.
Personnel: Agustí Fernández: piano; Joan Saura: sampling keyboard, live electronics.
Record Label: Psi