FRANCISCO NICOSIA: Cuentos Fantásticos (2020)
Updated: Oct 31
“There are bits of cacophony, but if you want to hear great creative and daring music this album is one of the best surprises this year”
1 Letter for Vangelis 18:56
2 El Ultimo Canto del mar Sobre la Tierra 27:59
3 Radiolarios 10:06
4 Frío Oscuridad 6:21
5 Ce y los planos paralelos 13:32
(DDL 76:54) (V.F.)
CUENTOS FANTASTICOS is the very first album I have heard from the Argentinian label Cyclical Dreams. A nice little label that has excited my ears for a couple of weeks where I still have some catching up to do with the surprising Gemstones compilation. The leaders directed me instead to the Footprints album by my friend Michael Brückner. An excellent decision which allowed me to discover even more this tale of the musician Francisco Nicosia, an astonishing musician who leads two careers simultaneously; either with Klauss 921, where all styles are found in an ambience of progressive jazz, and in solo where once again all genres are united in a vision that flirts with Berlin School and the Italian electronic progressive.
Letter for Vangelis is a superb title that says what it means! In an opening where are shinning the deaf bursts of a Gong, synth tears and waves unite their differences in a metallic-industrial aura filled with nods to Blade Runner. A splendid, but a splendid sequence emerges from a big mouth filled of reverberations a little before the 3rd minute. Its upward movement is wonderful with that little hitch that makes it so wonderfully flawed in its escalation aided by a series of two percussive clicks. The sequence permeates this decor which is imbibed with these synth layers with chloro-morphic mist effects and which also ties in with sober percussions whose metal bouquet rhymes well with this contemporary sensation that holds the whole thing together. The mists free their threads of chthonic voices while the synth throws excellent solos reminiscent of tones unique to the Greek magician. The structure experiences a first moment of hesitation which brings us to the ambient phase of Letter for Vangelis, around 10 minutes. A phase a bit psychedelic where the universes of Aphrodite's Child and the one of Vangelis' first and more acoustic albums which are flirting with these wandering keyboard notes in a time that Blade Runner gets back on its feet so to conclude this first solid title of CUENTOS FANTASTICOS. It's also in an apocalyptic ambience that El Ultimo Canto del mar Sobre la Tierra is hatching. The large shell membrane tearing in a heavy infernal crash, it sounds like the big bang, fills are ears to the rim in its first 4 minutes. Nothingness is not there, for Martenot waves lament between the enormous wooshh and waashh surging like waves and their underwater sediments in a sky that seems to suck everything, including all. This long atmospheric phase, and its cinematographic elements, ends in a wave of warmth, initiating this good Berlin School movement which gallops under the multiple waves and their iridescent colors. The synth fills our ears with these solos and their Latin perfumes which coo like two songbirds and their acrobatic flights. Jingles on wooden shoes serve as percussive elements with metronomic precision on the repetitive pattern of the sequencer which skillfully resumes its ascendant by taking out one key to replace it with another. But whatever, El Ultimo Canto del mar Sobre la Tierra uses the synth as this last chant of the sea on Earth until the 17th minute. There where a plethora of percussive elements awaits it to slowing down its stubborn walk. We reach a short ambient rhythmic phase which makes one think of good Tangerine Dream of the Logos years in a kind of genocide of this chant that is extinguished in the stars, as in disasters. A recurring exercise in this Francisco Nicosia album.
It's with the impression of rediscovering the fabulous Ignacio by Vangelis that Radiolarios and Frío Oscuridad delicately place these pearly tears between my ears. In fact, the more time passes, the more the impression of hearing a remix of this tasty serenade, which is more electronic here, takes root with the opening of Radiolarios, including those delicate moments that gave so many chills. Do you remember those weeping stars? There are plenty of them here. They are not in the same place, but they are there. Stimulated by metallic tears from what appears to be a guitar, they are born and die like those tears that never reach the fine lines of our mouth. What a beautiful title! The guitar effects, rolling in loops, are also apparent in the opening of Frío Oscuridad which is an intense track as ambient as Radiolarios. This opening is of an intense blue coldness with drops of ice radiating an obscure coldness where in return hides sonic beauties proportional to this flagship title in Vangelis' discography. CE y los Planos Paralelos is this kind of title which requires several listening, at least its second part. Its rhythm frolicking of innocence in its opening makes us smile. Zigzagging as if wanting at all costs to avoid the multiple percussive effects that surrounds it, this rhythm is immediately surrounded of melodies humming like a duck with a cold by a synth that projects its musical shadows in a fascinating artistic approach that constantly borders on indiscipline in harmonies and in texture of rhythm. An indiscipline which turns into a cacophony around the 7th minute where a symphony on the art of how to make anti-music which no longer gives the taste to hear my music again extends its most abominable tentacles in my ears. Too bad, it's an excruciating finale for such a great album!
But if you want to hear great creative and daring music whose outbursts of madness carry us around in a universe of EM that is both complex and harmonious, this CUENTOS FANTASTICOS is one of the very beautiful surprises of 2020.
Sylvain Lupari (October 29th, 2020) ****¼*
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp