domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017




“Lo Normal” es el último libro de relatos de Rafael Camarasa, publicado por Ediciones Contrabando.
El arte narrativo de Camarasa se va haciendo cada vez más nítido cuanto más sucio es el mundo que observa, o más descarnado cuanto más alma tienen las historias que cuenta.
En un mundo en que la normalidad es todas las excepciones unidas para controlar nuestra vida, Rafael Camarasa entrega unos cuentos soberbios que te dejan pensando, imaginando lo que habrá detrás del mecanismo que activa la vida de cada persona.
En ocasiones es realista y sombrío, en ocasiones festivo y mordaz, siempre atinado a la hora de desatar el nudo de lo contado para hacer uno nuevo en la mente de quien lee.
Hay relatos impecables, cargados de desasosiego y piedad, como “La Playa”, “El Buen Marido”, el gran “Tinta de broma” o “Sin Manos”.
Hay relatos donde se asoma la fantasía en la forma en que lo hace en algunos textos de Ray Bradbury, de manera imperceptible, cuidadosa, sorprendente, como en algunos de mis favoritos: “Embotellados”, “Correspondencia” o “Navegación inteligente”.
Hay, en fin, cuentos excepcionales donde se reúnen todas esas virtudes, de modo que la sacudida y la inquieta emoción sean perfectas: “Mapas”, “Lo normal” y el excelente “Reprografía”.
Un libro para leer, releer, pensar, sentir y llevar encima, manifestando que hacerlo es lo normal.


© Fernando Garcin, mayo 2016

domingo, 21 de mayo de 2017

TEN FOR A DECADE (Los 10 discos de la Década 2000)

Ten for a Decade
(Saving Graces)

© by Russell Craig Richardson

I have now lived in the USA for ten years. here's a survey of the new musics that have coloured my days and nights, not least all those long car journeys. More than ever important. These have been the most vital to me this past decade.

2003 Hobosapiens – John Cale
After the strange and wonderful release of ‘5 Songs’, it was heartening to see Cale – now in his 60s – coming up with high energy, undeniably modern music. the first use of loops and beats which didn’t seem to be a direct lift or pastiche of bad hip-hop, with Cale’s voice sounding as on edge as ever. A reinvention that is surprisingly layered and rich. I know you can’t actually wear out CDs… but if you could, this one would have been worn out many times over.

2003 Hail To The Thief – Radiohead
more than any other successful contemporary band (as seen from an old geezer’s point of view) Radiohead have impressed me. After saturating myself with OK Computer, I fell into this record, Kid A and Amnesiac all at the same time, late 2005, so the impact was overwhelming, if out of date. I can’t find anything to complain about, and I admire their generosity, even if I think the music has lost some of its consistency through In Rainbows and King of Limbs, I have imbibed hundreds of hours of their sound. Maybe they are the Pink Floyd of modern pop. I don’t care, they convinced me. and if I throw in Thom Yorke’s The Eraser here, also convinced me that laptops and loops have the potential to be as authentic as an acoustic guitar and a voice. Always, in this context, the voice.

2003 Tan Fiero, Tan Fragil – Fernando Garcin & M
This record, more than any other, has been the soundtrack of my American decade, I don’t think it’s only down to it being the first breakthrough of Fernando Garcin. What impressed me the most (and I have written about this elsewhere at greater length) is that TFTF represents both a valid assimilation of American idiom into a Spanish folk-rock; and it has an exuberant strength and self confidence in Fernando’s lyrics and delivery. This is very much a joyous and sincere work, but it takes off in several places, and becomes itself, rather than a sum of its influences.
The compilation Tiempo y Detalles reprises some of this, but lacks the s paces of this almost perfect album.

2004 The Milk Eyed Mender – Joanna Newsom
not cute or grating as some have insisted, but the complex result of a young musician's process, standing at the crossroads of the old, weird America, and staking a small, sincere claim to be a part of that tradition.

2005 Demon Days – Gorillaz
From their first album, which I actually heard on the car radio, to the multi-media splash of this, I was most impressed by the melancholy alongside the brashness. I never knew who Blur were (still don’t) but this project brought a lot of delight, and its own voice, while still reaching millions. A curious sensation, but a music which reached me entirely on its own terms, and I can’t argue with that.

2005 Come on Feel the Illinoise – Sufjan Stevens
I listened to this first via a recommendation from Green Gartside (of Scritti Politti) as an example of unalloyed optimistic music. It’s simple in intent and execution, and has some kind of tension between optimism, naivety and wistfulness… but also a series of gorgeous melodies, a pure pop dynamic which goes back to late Beach Boys or Paul Simon. Hardly fashionable, I would have suspected, but ultimately completely persuasive.

2006 White Bread, Black Beer – Scritti Politti
a collection of bedsit pop songs from a musician in the wilderness? Or a set of perfectly crafted quiet songs to cut against all the artifice Green had been guilty of ever since the early structuralist days. Self-aware, self-critical, but with a sense of melodic and harmonic invention that builds its own world. After immersing myself in this, I looked up Scritti Politti’s ‘lost album’ Anomie and Bonhomie, and deeply regret not having listened to that throughout the 1990s. A survivor, finally.

2007 Comicopera – Robert Wyatt
Robert Wyatt’s ‘late output’ has in fact been stronger than his early output. From Dondestan and Shleep onward… I feel that Cuckooland and Comocopera are slightly less driven or compact, but if these had been RW’s only works, they’d still be in some kind of pantheon. So, Cuckooland… another CD which I have ‘virtually’ worn out the grooves of over the years… is still a joy, and Comicopera, as it drifts further away from rock and closer to Wyatt’s jazz roots is even better, less compliant. A critical nod from an old campaigner that all is not lost, hasta siempre, Commandante.

2010 Ragged Atlas – Cosa Brava
another ‘catch up’ saturation, driven by the Henry Cow boxed set, was to dig into the solo work of Fred Frith, of which I was almost entirely ignorant. Some 15 albums later, I latched onto this side project, and have actually seen them live in NYC. somehow the recording lacks the punch of the live band, though the delicacies come across better. Anyway, as a nod to this kind of deep folk, intelligent music, still rooted in the dance (from an abstract improviser??) this is the business.

2011 Let England Shake – P J Harvey
step back, leap forwards. from the first sneak internet preview I realized this was one of those rare works which stamps its integrity and never diminishes. if there has been a masterpiece in the last decade (to vie with Rock Bottom and Horses, or Blood on the Tracks and After the Goldrush, or Trout Mask Replica and OK Computer… this is it). It bears all the characteristics of a personal peak – a totally surprising progression in her own evolution, yet made to seem completely inevitable. As good as Dry, but farther reaching.

& older music, but...
2009 40th Anniversary Box – Henry Cow
though this was all recorded in the 60s 70s and early 80s, it’s unavailability until recently, plus the near saturation coverage (heavy rotation) I have been giving it, means I have to include its 14 hours of music as the main soundtrack of the past 3 years. It’s also been a painful listen to me, as I think this is what I should have been doing for the last 30 years: playing music derived from this template. That I stepped back from this tradition is probably one of my biggest regrets. Still, just the Bremen and Hamburg CDs here have influenced my editing and writing as much as any film or author, so perhaps it’s just the same. Structure, composition, craft and emotion?








© Russell Craig Richardson

miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017



“Sultán” es la continuación natural del disco anterior de Cisco Fran “Gigante” que también reseñé en este blog. Según le he escuchado decir en la radio ambos discos podrían formar un LP o un álbum de larga duración. Es un paso adelante del Cisco Fran en solitario (acompañado por grandes músicos) en su afán creativo que le ha llevado a grabar magníficas canciones, con la Gran Esperanza Blanca y luego en solitario, en estos últimos años.


Son 5 canciones, más un arrebatado bonus track, acompañado de los músicos Santi Serrano (batería), José Sala (bajo) Luis Martínez (guitarras y teclado), Raúl Richart (saxo), Rebeca Ibáñez (coros), Gilberto Aubán (teclados), Rafa Adrián (violín), Raúl Pruñonosa (banjo), Spagnolo Ferocce (guitarra eléctrica) y Xavo Giménez (guitarra eléctrica). Con un diseño retro tan hermoso como el del anterior disco obra de VikPamNox, y fotografías de Nicolás Nova y Paquito Valor. Una edición cuidada de Peanut Records, grabado en Little Canyon Studios, y producido por Cisco Fran y Luís Martínez.
Hasta aquí una reseña ortodoxa.
Percepciones bergsonianas:
Un día Cisco Fran –que siempre cuida los detalles, como el de venir a verme actuar cuando hago una actuación, unos recitales o una “gira”- me hacía saber en un correo que cuando comento sus canciones veo cosas que quizá él no ha puesto ahí o no tenía en mente. Él es de ciencias y yo de letras, lo cual siempre me ha parecido una separación absurda, pero ambos sabemos que a través de los poros de la piel, del cerebro, del estómago y de las partes nobles siempre se manifiestan cosas que nos han llegado sin haber sido nuestra intención, de forma “out of the blue”.
Yo percibo, pues, más eclecticismo del que quizás él aporte intencionadamente, por más que el hecho de haber crecido en una era en que todo era igual de importante e intemporal, absorbiendo la historia de la música y del arte ajenos al término “actualidad” y al tuiterismo, nos haga más chulos que la hostia a la hora de sacar oro de los fangos a lo Walter Huston.
“La Razón y el corazón” es una canción pop juguetona y socarrona, que debe tanto a las música europea (francesa) como a la americana. Cuidado sonido.
“Sirenas” es hermosa hasta no poder dejar de caer en la tentación auditiva del marino en alta mar. La interpretación vocal de Cisco Fran es de las mejores que le he escuchado, llena de matices, jugando con los tonos mayores y menores, cuidando la dicción hasta llegar al descuido de quien ya lo lleva dentro. Hay ecos de King Crimson, de Lucio Battisti o Peter Hammill. Es mi apreciación primera: esos ecos de ambas tradiciones de finales de los 60’ y los maravillosos años 70’ y el sonido más emocional de ciertos bardos y bandas de los 90'. Un gran trabajo de todos los músicos, en armónicos y de gran dinamismo y hondura emocional.
“Oropel” es otra joya del disco. Un tema mestizo de la chanson francesa, el rockabilly sincopado y las sonoridades del delta del Misisipí. Excelentemente grabado, arreglado e interpretado, cuya letra pone en su lugar a más de un arribista de abajo.
“Sale el sol” es una canción Cisco Fran. Decir esto es mucho. En NYC lo saben bien.
“Sultán” es un fantástico instrumental, un cruce de sonoridades entre banjo, guitarras y teclados con un sabor entre mediterráneo y americano, que va creando una atmósfera de sonido sublime que remite a músicas tan dispares como las de Remigi Palmero, Tapineria, Smog o Daevid Allen. Una pieza fabulosa y que vuela libre como el proustiano, orsonwellesiano recuerdo que evoca.

Creo que el que lea esto y sienta curiosidad por “Sultán” y por “Gigante”, tendría que dejar de leer y hacerse con ambos trabajos, y reunirlos en una sola escucha repetida. Para hacer canciones, para ser auténticos, arriesgamos nuestras más bellas ruinas, y oye, nos viene bien una pequeña ayuda para que reluzcan.


© Fernando Garcín, 5-16 de Mayo de 2017