Big things often can and do come in small packages. Everyone has said or heard that adage (or some variant thereof) plenty of time throughout life. It is an adage that means exactly what it states. Something doesn’t have to be big to be “big.” Musician/producer Fer Isella’s brand new full-length studio recording The Art of the Possible is proof positive that sometimes, big things truly can and do come in small packages. Officially released in stores and online today, this Argentine’s nine-song album is an effort that is excellence in its simplest form as is evidenced in the songs themselves. This will be discussed shortly. The songs’ arrangements support that statement just as much as the songs themselves. The record’s sequencing is a fine accent point to the album, too. When it is considered along with the simplicity of the album’s songs and their arrangements, the whole of the album proves to be one of this year’s biggest and best surprises.
Fer Isella’s latest full-length studio recording The Art of the Possible is a work that shows great art is possible even when the smallest, simplest approach is taken in creating said art. That is made clear in part through the nine songs presented in this pleasantly surprising new offering from the Argentine artist/producer. The piano-driven songs presented here are fully instrumental works. There are no vocals. There is no overdubbing. There is nothing but Isella, a piano and a room. Suffice it to say that this minimalist approach led to the creation of a group of heartfelt songs that will touch listeners more deeply than even the most saccharine sweet songs ever created both mainstream and otherwise. This is proven clearly in the songs composed for Isella’s family—‘Dan,’ ‘Sof’ and ‘Cin’—just as much as in ‘Pendulum,’ ‘Conversation’ and the album’s other works. Each song evokes a different emotion and tells a different story, with the end result being listeners’ ensured continued engagement. Of course that engagement is only assured because of the time and thought put into the songs’ arrangements.
The arrangements that are presented throughout this record show great thought and consideration in each work. The time and effort put into each arrangement creates a different musical tapestry in each work. From perhaps two people walking and talking in an early fall mountain setting in the album’s opener ‘Conversation’ to someone perhaps sitting and wishing for that special someone alone in a park in ‘Desire’ to something far more frantic in ‘Pendulum,’ and plenty of other musical mattes, the pictures that Isella paints through his songs are certain to be different for every listener. These interpretations are only those of this critic. That aside, Isella’s clear ability to paint such vivid pictures through his simple arrangements (which at times feel like they could be used for some major big budget drama’s soundtrack) and evoke such deep emotion in the process shows once more the importance of the album’s arrangements. It shows from start to finish that arrangements don’t have to be big productions in order to be themselves big. Keeping this in mind, the show why the simplicity in the songs’ arrangements is just as important to this record’s success as the simplicity in Isella’s approach to the songs themselves. Even with this in mind, the songs’ arrangements are collectively just one more way in which TAOTP impresses. Its sequencing serves to make it impressive just as much as its arrangements and its songs.
The sequencing of TAOTP plays its own part in the album’s enjoyment because it shows, too, a certain amount of thought and consideration. Over the course of the album’s first three songs, Isella keeps the album’s energy relatively gentle and smooth while still managing to evoke, again, so many different emotions through each work’s arrangement. That energy audibly changes even more as he takes listeners through two of the album’s three songs that pay tribute to his family—‘Dan’ and ‘Sof.’ The energy exuded in ‘Dan’ is slightly higher than that of the album’s first three songs, yet is still controlled for lack of better wording. In the same breath, ‘Sof’ is the polar opposite of ‘Dan.’ It somewhat continues the musical theme presented in ‘Dan,’ yet is so much more reserved than that song. It echoes the gentility exhibited in the album’s first three songs. ‘Pendulum’ switches things up yet again with its energy of someone confused and almost frantic in his or her mindset about something. That change of pace from the energies in the song’s predecessors is certain yet again to keep listeners engaged. The record’s last three compositions—‘Cin,’ ‘Story’ and ‘Farewell’—pull the record’s energy back once more, depositing listeners gently on the same shore from whence they were lifted in the album’s opener, leaving them feeling wholly fulfilled. That emotion, when considered with the other emotions generated throughout the rest of the album, reminds listeners once again of the time and thought obviously put into the album’s sequencing. That effort, when considered along with the effort put into the album’s songs and their arrangements, creates an album that in whole is one of the year’s biggest musical surprises; a record that is in this critic’s view, one of the year’s best new album’s overall. It shows that true art is possible even with the simplest approach. More information on The Art of the Possible is available online now at http://www.ferisella.com.
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