Despartença Photo-Book by Sergi A.C., Aitor Bigas & Gemma Penya

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Size 18,5 x 29,7 cm. 48 pages. Black and white. Edition of 50 numbered copies.

‘Despartença’ Photo Book is a joint effort by Aitor Bigas, Gemma Penya, Sergi A.C. and designer Albert Pérez.

‘Despartença’ is the first work that Sergi A.C. (SDH, Wind Atlas, Titan Arch…) releases under his real name, and it is not a coincidence because, as he himself explains in the liner notes of the physical edition of the album -a photo-book created by Aitor Bigas and Gemma Penya- ‘Despartença’ is the musical witness of his year 2020: frustrating and dark months marked by a change of city, a sentimental breakdown and by anguishing weeks of confinement due to the global pandemic.

Although Sergi A.C. has played a multitude of styles and ways of creating in all the years he has been making music in a multitude of projects. In ‘Despartença’ he knows how to find new angles that he had not yet explored: in ‘Inflexible’, with its convoluted beats, there are echoes to the intelligent dance music that Autechre or Aphex Twin signed in the 90s, just like on tracks like ‘Enviaments’ or the melancholic ‘Tardor’, where you can hear samples from private conversations and voice messages that that happened during the days of writing the album. From a different perspective, but it is the same melancholy that we feel when listening to ‘Llançà’, a song with kosmische touches that can recall what Caterina Barbieri is doing today. The roots of the author in industrial music are clearly seen in the first track on the album, ‘Separació’, which starts out dark and disturbing, as Coil did in their ‘Musick To Play in The Dark’, until a noisy industrial techno rhythm explodes. There is also room for abstraction – Cant # 1- for elegant electronic songs – ‘Passió’ and ‘Gurdjieff’ – or even a song where 90% of the sounds are created from a sample of grinding teeth – ‘Èxtasi’.

It is an eclectic album in which each song draws a world of its own, surely very influenced by the fact that it was recorded in so many different places -different cities, other people’s houses, hotel rooms… -. This idea of ​​an archive or miscellany is also evident in the physical edition of the album, a photo-book, limited to only 50 copies, which includes a download code, with photographs by Aitor Bigas and Gemma Penya, where Sergi A.C. explains the process of creating each song.

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From the ‘Despartença’ Photo Book introduction:

“This record was written and recorded between January and October 2020, although most of it was completed in August and September, when I left Valencia to come back to Barcelona once my relationship with my partner had ended.

My 2020 had started in Barcelona, where I’d lived my entire life and where, for the last eleven years, I had shared a romantic relationship and an artistic project with her. Towards the end of January we decided to move to Valencia, where she originally comes from, in an attempt to lead a simpler life, to devote more time to our musical projects and to live a life devoid of the stress that residing in Barcelona can induce. Two weeks later, in mid-February, we went on tour around Europe with our band but, as the days passed, the number of Covid-19 cases grew, especially in Italy, which was where we’d do the final dates of the tour. In the end, Italy entered its first lockdown and we had to cancel the second half of the tour and hastily come back home. A week later, once in Valencia, the whole country went into lockdown. Back then we were unaware of the scope of the pandemic and the way it would affect the entire world. We felt it had only happened to us and didn’t understand why we had been so unlucky after having spent so long planning a new life.

What followed were many months confined to a new apartment, in a city that I could only see through the windows. With it came an inner struggle to understand what was going on, to not give in to discouragement, and an increasing disconnection from the world and its inhabitants. A shadow was growing within me and apathy slowly spread.

I closed myself off and once lockdown restrictions eased I felt I was out of place, like I wasn’t home. I wanted to be okay, to start over in that city, but I guess everything that had happened had affected me more than I’d initially thought and I didn’t feel ready to carry on with my plans. I have never felt as vulnerable as I did during those days.

In the end, at the beginning of July, she and I decided to go our separate ways. I would go back to Barcelona. We didn’t know if this decision would be final, but we chose to give each other space so we could have time to think about our situation and everything that had happened. I got on a bus, carrying a suitcase filled with some items of clothing and my laptop so I could write music. As I looked out the window on the way back to my city I felt resolute and clear-headed for the first time in months; it was then that I made the decision to write this record. Once I did, the game was on”.

Music by Sergi A.C.

Mix and master by Victor Saldaña