Shhpuma, the new Clean Feed sub-label, starts with a solo guitar album by Filipe Felizardo, a young Lisbon-based artist with already two self-released solo works to his credit. From the very first notes it is absolutely clear that he is far from being threatened by the several comparisons you may possibly detect. Choosing the field and the directions outlined in this work, Felizardo must in fact be perfectly aware of the heavy echoes of the late John Fahey’s style, and of the natural bond with a guitar composition approach à la Mazzacane Connors. And he’s right not to be, for he has delivered, in any case, an original album.
The opening track, called, “Against The Day” like the Pynchon novel, inherits from the author a taste of pre-catastrophic tension. Felizardo lets the listener drown in the buzz between a note and the following one, craving for a new reverb. He wisely takes his time, slowly inflating each single chord, leaning on trembling layers. Be available to apply to your life a bit of suspension of disbelief for once! Close your eyes and you will probably find yourself on a cliff edge admiring an endless river that runs across majestic canyons.
What surprises the most about the four chapters in the long “A Conference Of stones And Things” is the choice of eschewing the preeminent role of effects and external devices - from what I may discern - in the building of sound textures. Felizardo must be really confident of what the amplifiers will return to him. The guitar is unveiled and the composition discloses the physical relationship between the guitarist and his instrument. Sparse and diluted phrasings, sometimes left to die at length in the silence - so that is their memory more than their presence and sound to develop the listening experience - leave the scene to circular obsessive motifs and naked percussive arpeggios before newly fading in a far reverberation. Blues oriented utterances and rhythmic accompaniment patterns work as a coherent background for the fretwork of deep and cavernous touches. Interstices are filled with waiting.
The brief acoustic “Of The Excrement And The Frog” showcases the musician’s ability to build soundscapes through absences and shades. And now you could probably see in the above mentioned canyons even a far dust cloud. For sure it is the Wild Bunch.
To pre-emptively answer to an underlying and legitimate question in a Free Jazz Blog, it’s hard to say whether this is or this is not a jazz album. I find it thrilling anyway.
A promising step for the artist. A good start for the label.
Also watch here and here,
And finally, buy here.