Any album that sets out to contemplate our place in the universe had better have some gravitas. Portugal’s Afonso Arrepia Ferreira (a.k.a. Farwarmth) has plenty on this new release. At just 19, he’s produced an epic.
These 13 tracks are giant, growling monsters. Ferreira combines electronics, noise and high-volume distortion with beautifully performed piano, synthesizer, transverse flute, cello and bass.
Ferreira is joined on the album by Victoria Mailho (transverse flute), Bruna de Maia (cello), Guilherme Tavares (samples) and Filipe Baixinho (bass). Pedro Menezes and Rui P. Andrade contributed additional compositional work and mixing.
Ferreira’s vision is as impressive as the execution. “Supercluster” opens the disc gently, with a pleasant synth line underneath a bit of noise sliding from side to side. It builds gradually, both in volume and complexity. By the five-minute mark it is already clear that we’re in for something special.
Highlights include the prog rockish “Just Like My Life, The Sun Too Will Cease,” the groaning “Fear of Water” that matches cello with distorted electronics and the angelic “Boundless Expansion.”
In some respects, the album points back to the ambitious electronic works of the 1970s and ‘80s. Ferreira plays on a similarly grand scale. What makes the album so intensely original though is his application of textured electronics and a kind of natural distortion that feels like it’s the result of his music overpowering the mixing board.
Any artist would deserve credit for aiming this high. The fact that Ferreira pulls it off to this extent, so early in his career, is astonishing.