Luis Fernandes – Demora (CD Room40)

‘Demora’, Luis Fernandes new album, reminds me of being a kid and messing about with my Dad’s records for the first time. I was transfixed by the sound coming out of the speakers. I was even more captivated by the fact that I had started it. As the records played, I used to mess about with speed and his painstakingly set EQ levels. My favourite thing was when a load of dust/fluff got caught on the needle. The sound was wonderful. You could hear bits of it coming through perfectly, yet other parts were muffled. When the dust finally came off, I was relieved, as I thought I was breaking the records, and saddened as I could now hear, whatever it was, as it was intended. All of this comes rushing back when listening to ‘Rising Edge’. At first it feels like the song has a layer of fluff that it just can’t shift. Underneath this surface noise the song is playing as it should, and we could hear it properly too if it wasn’t for that surface noise. When it finally does lift what was obscured was a minimal electronic, almost techno in places, track. The central melody is catchy and immediately forgettable. This might sound like a slight, but it isn’t. When it comes to electronic music, I live in the moment craving what is coming next not longing for what has passed.  

As ‘Demora’ continues you start to realise that Fernandes has created a piece of music that is constantly moving. The cover depicts a helicopter flying. This tells us more than we realise. Like the helicopter with its rotors always moving with a never-ending hum, and feeling of compression, ‘Demora’ is the same. The final throws of ‘Demora (Part 1)’ give us a slight reprieve as the constant whir subsides and that pure drone is allowed to shine until it gracefully segues into ‘Demora (Part 2)’. And this brings me on to the real joy of ‘Demora’. The core of the album was recorded in one 35-minute session. Here Fernandes experimented with a modular synth. He allowed himself time to play and let motifs evolve at their natural pace. There are no jump cuts here. Everything is played out with glacial precision, and this is the power of the album.  

Just like flying in a helicopter, or travelling in general, there are parts that lag. This is fine but they are not detrimental to the rest of the album. During ‘Demora (Part 2)’ there are a few sections, around the four-minute mark, that could have been tighter or more dynamic. Ultimately these lulls set up the album’s final push, where everything comes together for a magnificent few moment. 

In Portuguese demora loosely means delay but depending on how it is said it can also mean having to wait, something is taking too long, something has been postponed or a respite has been given. All of these things happen throughout the album. Fernendes has taken his time to craft 37-minutes of compelling electronic music that is almost entirely devoid of percussion. As you let the album complete its cycle, or journey, and it starts again you can sit back and enjoy the journey. Safe in the knowledge that you won’t there will be no demora between now and then you reach your final destination. NR