Album Review of
Pit Roig

Written by Joe Ross
August 13, 2022 - 12:10am EDT
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From Barcelona, composer/guitarist Feliu Gasull presents 17 pieces on his album, Pit roig (Red Chest). Gasull has composed for orchestras, chamber groups, choirs, small ensembles and soloists, but this album finds himself playing his guitar is a very relaxed, introspective, inspiring manner. “La Finestra” opens the set with its lovely five movements that translate (from Catalan) as Red Chest, Walkway, Prune, The Butterfly, and I Like Teva Pell. The music is mellow and intoxicating as Gasull employs linear melodic passages embellished with techniques such as tremolo, glissando, harmonics (bell tones), use of extreme registers and others, some invented by him, to extract maximum expression, tone, timbre and feelings from his instrument. The three preludes (#5, #6 and #7) have scintillating groove of infectious melodic fluidity. At times, Gasull’s guitar sounds almost like a fully-strung classical harp.

“Puig-Rom” is a splendid demonstration of his composition and arrangement of music for four guitars (all presumably played by him). The four movements translate as Stone Mine, Daurí's Nostrils, The Camino de la Vinya, and From Calitjàs to Punta Ferrera. Apparently, it might be a musical journey with an intention of creating vivid impressionist imagery as one travels through the Spanish backcountry for over ten minutes. From the popular music of Catalan, Gasull treats us to his meditative rendition of “Cant dels Ocells” (The Singing of the Birds). Of particular interest to me was a track called “Sarabanda” that is played on a requinto, a smaller guitar tuned one fourth higher than the standard classical guitar. It provided an interesting brilliancy that almost approximated the timbre of a mandolin.

Closing the set with “Que Brillis Com Brilles” (May You Shine as You Shine), Gasull’s own self-penned music accompanies lyrics sweetly sung by Spanish jazz vocalist Carme Canela, and that were written by Enric Casasses, a poet who writes in the Catalan language. Each track on Pit roig is a showpiece for Gasull’s deeply Mediterranean style indicative of his very personal, recognizable language. A tribute to the fine art of profundity within the context of creative simplicity, Gasull’s Pit roig has a soft, graceful presence but also considerable alluring intelligence. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)