We wanted to begin the blog talking about a hidden local gem: Carrilet, a musical project from L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the second biggest city of Catalonia. Let by the musician Sergi Andrés, Carrilet issued a record in 1985, which has been ignored for a long time and deserves more attention. The record is a difficult to classify piece, a successful distillation of different, and even apparently contradictory, elements. As far as we know the record didn’t have much success, as Ramon Súrio predicted in his article, although some journalists –including himself- and media wrote about it, emphasizing its uniqueness, and even comparing it to the contemporary project from Madrid Orquesta de las Nubes.
We managed to find a promotional copy of the record, where scraps taken from newspapers and magazines are included as a humble press kit. There’s no better way to get into Carrilet’s world than to read what was said back then –more than thirty years ago!- about them. Here you have our approximate translation of these articles and reviews:
CARRILET „Break down the elitist walls“
“They are three. They live in L’Hospitalet, a satellite city of Barcelona, and they are creating beautiful, elegant and modern music that escapes models and trends. Between asphalt and steel Ramon Súrio let himself be seduced by Carrilet and he explains it to you …
Carrilet, although their name sounds like a folky group of the sixties, is a trio of suburban young guys who has set the objective of trespassing the aesthetical barriers of fashion, to create what Mike Scott of he Waterboys denominates „Bis Music“, the Great Music, full of reminiscences to thousands of sounds, recycled and swallowed, at the exasperating rhythm demanded by our crazy civilization. This anguish doesn’t keep Carrilet from picking schemes rarely associated to pop and interlink them in a nice and elegant way, with wise intelligence. Their songs are long instrumental developments, where different sound climaxes from different sources interweave with brilliant and precise clarity.
Sergi Andrés is the composer from all group’s music, playing guitars and flutes; helped by Teresa Fló, who plays piano and synthesisers, and Enric Esteban, who plays the drums and different percussions.
Without any doubt everyday is more difficult to be surprised by any new sound, lots of people create and evolve, fortunately, but the surprise of a unique and original idea rarely happens. Because of that, when listening to an obscure demo tape, presented by an independent record label, and one finds so many gems, nobody can avoid feeling disturbed and having the temptation of wanting to discover more intimate details from these enlightening atmospheres. Instrumental music to delight the angels without any link to nothing and to nobody, and coming from the depth of the suburb. A project that two years ago might have been La General and that right now has become a reality as Carrilet –name given popularly to the Catalan narrow-gauge railway trains – in the outskirts of Barcelona, in L’Hospitalet, between monolithic and uniform blocks, inside a tiny rehearsal space, where the subtlest intermingled music is being produced.
In a short space of time we will have the opportunity to enjoy, on vinyl, the music of Carrilet. As every new group does, they did what all beginners do, compose material in a rehearsal space, hire a humble studio –eight tracks-, record some songs and then visit a long string of record companies, and all of them reject their MUSIC -written in capital letters-, some of them because of their too unusual sounds and the others because of their little economical appeal. At the end, Wilde Rekords, the tentacular record company directed by the acute Boissel, decides to launch the tape with an elegant cover by Carlos Pazos, and the record will be available in autumn on vinyl in all the record stores, although we are afraid that such beautiful melodies will go unnoticed, because their instrumental songs need our full attention. In these songs intermingle: palace-flavoured sounds from the Renaissance, mystical oriental Cabalas, exasperated guitar solos or sweet flutes wrapped up in acoustic chords.
The soul of the group is Sergi Andrés and we address him to investigate more about Carrilet. The place where the interview took place is a rehearsal studio in the ground floor of a grey block building in L’Hospitalet, which was the old headquarter of GAT, an experimental theatre group still existing and with whom Sergi has collaborated composing the music for some of their pieces. What at the beginning should have been a formal interview, shortly after became a more than four hours long frantic conversation that no tape would be able to resist. In this conversation a talented, restless and cultured musician has been revealed to us; the conversation did include at the same time: Andreu Martín, Satie, the mozarabic-andalusian music or the rock & roll. Their philosophy as a group may be perfectly reduced to the words that they used in their presentation poster: „Our work aspires to make an investigation that takes in popular music (in a broad sense), jazz, rock or classical music. We are not a „genre“ group, we don’t want to limit ourselves to a closed style and we don’t want to stereotype systematically our works. Our objective is to develop MODERN music, related to the Mediterranean sensibility and aesthetic; fresh music that is related to urban life and the necessities of our time and country. We want to establish bridges between „mass-media“ culture music and our musical history, break down the elitist walls around Avant-garde or Art music.”
We can certainly affirm that in their first album they achieve most of their goals, perhaps the production may be poor at some points, but progressions like Leonard – from which a single is extracted – or Taifa justify without a doubt the trust placed on them. Celestial Music for a time when Cherubims are very unusual.”
“In these times, which are extremely rocker, and saturated of defiant electronic sounds, a record like this is an authentic surprise, offering calm and reflexive music that invites to inner prospection more than to the exuberant exteriorization, which is the most common path in nowadays music. This work of Carrilet is very difficult to categorize although it shows diverse clear references, and uses a very intelligent and, at the same time, present musical language. It is a very positive amalgamation, with which Sergi Andrés, Teresa Fló and Enric Esteban, the three instrumentalists from L’Hospitalet behind Carrilet have hit the mark and show a driving force that may make them go far … and we would like to continue travelling with them.”
“The surprise of the week: who would say that behind this name (somebody should change it!) is hidden an excellent and against current aims trio of musicians? And that’s exactly what we find here: Carrilet is a combo from L’Hospitalet integrated by Sergi Andrés, composer, guitarist and flutist; Teresa Fló, teclist; and Enric Esteban, drums and percussions. They play music completely unaware of nowadays trends and their first album is, behind “Arrebato” of Claustrofobia, the best one that has put out Wilde Rekords, Patrik Boissel’s label. The three musicians put together Arabian harmonies, they rework Berlin school music without grandiloquence, there are baroque elements and troubadour details, they filter diverse influences from a very particular scope, like for instance Angelo Branduardi, the first Premiata Forneria Marconi, the Jethro Tull of “Locomotive Breath”, the most lyrical paths of Penguin Café Orchestra and the experimental work of Orquesta de las Nubes. Don’t look for concessions to the tastes of the moment or to post-whatever messages: the album is completely instrumental, the A side has three interweaved tracks (“Leonard”, “Teresa” and “Neon”), and on the opposite side there’s a “suite” called “Taifa”. It’s nice to find people that assume their tastes with such an uninhibited way and appear so elegant.”
EL CORREO CATALÁN
I talked to Sergi Andrés sometime ago. He told me that this record was a product of its time and that it had perhaps not aged very well. As I told him, we consider it a very nice album, and because of that, Urpa I musell wanted to make this little homage to Carrilet. It’s never too late to do justice to them! Please take a listen and have fun!
Thanks to Sergi Andrés (and Carrilet as a whole) and Ramon Súrio.
And thanks also to the great and nowadays unfortunately inactive blog Barcelonarock80s. We could find there about Carrilet some years ago!
Text and translation by Ignasi Molina i Montasell, assisted by Joan Cot Ros