Agustí Fernández - El Laberint de la Memòria

Image of Agustí Fernández - El Laberint de la Memòria


It’s a luxury few can afford these days, but the truth is that the album you hold in your hands was more than two years in the making. I’ll refer to Agustí’s liner note presentation – a sensitive,
enlightening and genuine summation of the process – in what concerns the heart of it, but have to stress a couple of points: first, in what reads as one of Agustí’s key personality traits, he gives me too much credit. He deserves full merit in this project.

Secondly, he didn’t acknowledge his extreme patience, relentless dedication and openness while discussing the response to what may have initially sounded like a madman’s plan: ‘What about a meditation on Spain’s last 100 years of solo piano music?”.

I may have phrased it differently and surely embellished it, but, in a nutshell, that was it. I have many fastidious and increasingly overwrought theories about why I knew he’d be the ideal man for the job and they all pale in comparison to what he actually produced.

Today, I’d say this is more of a personal work than an historical one. What started as a suggestion to tap into the collective
unconscious ended as a private, moving and intense exercise on memory and the passage of time.

It’s also – an eternity in improvised music – Agustí’s first solo piano CD in seven years. Although, in the most abstract of ways, I still find in some of these pieces fragments of my suggested groundwork (as per Agustí’s liner notes, a couple of CDs with 42 solo piano works, composed between 1864 and 1981, by the likes of Garbizu, Granados, Albéniz, Falla, Guridi, Mompou, Blancafort, Turina, Gerhard and Halffter), I now hear it more as an act of transcendence than anything else. In that regard – being familiarized with Agustí’s playing on Evan Parker’s
Electro-Acoustic Ensemble (ECM), the quartet with Parker, Barry Guy and Paul Lytton (Maya) or the trio with John Edwards and Mark Sanders (Psi) – I was initially surprised he didn’t simply
atomize it all. A decision I subsequently perceived as a matter of intellectual rigour.

A legitimate option of imploding the materials and processing it all through extended techniquebased playing, for instance, was abandoned in favour of an approach that emphasized the common qualities of the original works – and the point of arrival was an unexpected one. So, yes, Agustí took the road less travelled. And although he continuously wrestled with it – taking time to record is almost denying an improviser’s instincts – he found his way. I always knew he would map out something new but could only hope it would also take the shape of a timeless landscape.

Poignantly, “El laberint de la memòria” is dedicated to his parents, both deceased while this most intimate of albums was taking shape. Agustí Fernández recently appeared in “Vents” (w/ Joan Saura, Psi), “Ambrosia” (w/ Joe Morris, Riti) and “Kopros Lithos” (w/ Peter Evans & Mats Gustafsson, Multikulti).

And a full discography and biography are available at his website:

I hope you enjoy what’s our very first ‘international’ release. We began producing our own CDs in 2008 and, regardless of music genre, have, since then, focused our attention on Portuguese artists whose original voices needed to be heard. We now hope to channel others. Thanks.

João Santos, Lisboa, July 2011