Estudias #1, the debut EP from fingerstyle guitarist Fernando Moresi Haberman has an interesting history which is best told in his own words:-
‘I’m 36 and I’ve been playing fingerstyle all my life. The thing is, I didn’t even know it was called fingerstyle until the advent of internet blogs some 10 years ago. Because I was born and raised in a small town near Buenos Aires, where nobody plays this kind of music, I was always ashamed of my guitar style and thought I was just doing it wrong. I never learnt to tune my guitar in a traditional way and the guitarists and musicians I met as a kid would make fun of me. So I played by myself… when I discovered Nick Drake, John Fahey, Basho and all that lot, I realised I was not alone, so I kept doing what I did… I was a complete outsider back in Argentina, and I’m still an outsider making this music here in Barcelona. I figured out how to play like this all by myself: It came to me, and I would like to be a small part of this tradition.’
I think it is fair to say that with this recording he has achieved his ambition.
Estudias #1 comprises five tracks of original material although as the title suggests Variaciones sobre William Tyler (track 2) owes something to the work of the American guitarist associated with Lambchop. All the work shows the strong influence, both in composition and technique, of the American Primitive school players he cites above. If you appreciate music that has subtlety, drive and bounce played with fine technique you will thoroughly enjoy the work; if your idea of a guitar album is flashy fingerboard pyrotechnics Estudios #1 is probably not for you. Haberman’s technique is built from the picking hand, his thumb showing a metronomic degree of control over the bass which the more I hear the more I covet. The fretting hand is precise but, if one were to quibble, delivering a vocabulary which could perhaps be more varied.
This leads to my only problem with the recording. The compositions, whilst containing some dynamic and tonal range, are perhaps a little too alike in approach. Phrases are almost repeated across tracks, tempos are similar, all of which might be quite deliberate, but for me, El Ultimo que Tira la Toalla (track 3) becomes the standout track in that it seems both the most inventive and has the widest dynamic range.
To sum up, Estudios #1 is a beautifully executed debut from a guitarist who I feel is certain to offer even more in the proverbially difficult second album. I look forward to it.
Estudios #1 – Track listing
1: La Herida
2: Variaciones sobre William Tyler, partes 1,2, & 3
(Variations over William Tyler, parts 1,2, & 3)
3: El Ultimo que Tira la Toalla
(The Last One to Throw in the Towel)
4: La afinacion del pelicano
(The Tuning of the Pelican)
5: Vida-Muerte-Vida de un Mirlo
(Life-Death-Life of a Blackbird)
My thanks to Felip Carbonell of No Crows for the track title translations
Review by: Nick Dellar
Available via Bandcamp here: haberman.bandcamp.com/releases