Afonso Ferreira is not a new name in the Portuguese underground scene. Half of the duos HRNS and PURGA, he is also a member of the 00:NEKYIA collective. After years of gestation, he has released his debut album Momentary Glow under the FARWARMTH moniker, and has been welcomed and discussed outside his home country. The release on an important label like Mike Paradinas‘ Planet Mu is a remarkable result itself, but there are other aspects that make this album particularly appreciable.
Described by the artist as a “coral” work, Momentary Glow passes through dense, intense soundscapes, charged by an uncommon emotional power. It is an ambient record that reminds me of artists like Fennesz for the unexpected encounters between noise and passing melodies, or like Tim Hecker for the vivid fulness and spatiality of the sound spectrum.
The creative process behind this album can be portrayed as a sculpture: the source recordings come from improvisation sessions with Ferreira on the keyboard and a bunch of friends and relatives on other instruments such as cello, flute and accordion. FARWARMTH edits, processes and modifies these recordings, giving them a completely alien shape compared to the original raw material. Initially indistinguishable, instruments emerge from a chaotic whirlwind, trying to breathe among the electronic stratifications, claiming their own timbre as a living space. The artist describes it as an “emotional exchange, that gave away to something I did not imagine I could’ve reached alone”. An enveloping energy is perceived, suspended between melancholic yet extremely intense atmospheres.
The titles of the tracks seem to play with memories and sensations: “Below The White Sky”, “Across The Black Sand”, “Into The Great Sea”, “Sunlight Mirroring”, “To Heft The Weight Of Memory”. These geographical and personal references, perhaps more familiar to those who live in a seaside town during the winter, allow memories to resurface in a droning sea like melancholy melodies. An invitation to just close your eyes, and let yourself be lulled by the enveloping flow of sound.