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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Francisco Nicosia Historias Secretas (2023)

An unmissable rendezvous for fans of JM-Jarre style cosmic EM

1 Neurotron 6:37

2 Carbono 5:16

3 Invierno 8:18

4 Primavera 7:00

5 Punta Médanos 14:26

6 Mayor Buratovich 14:08

7 La Anunciación 4:29

8 Polinomio de Taylor 2:25

9 Ruta 63 11:04

10 Electrónica del antiguo Egipto 13:46

11 Atardecer en El Palmar 4:50

12 El último tema del lado B 5:40

(CD-(R)/DDL 98:05) (V.F.)

(Cosmic EM)

Musician and traveler who has crisscrossed his Argentina and its splendid coastal landscapes, Francisco Nicosia is inspired by the moments captured by the memories of his eyes and/or photographs during these excursions to offer us a brand new album that goes beyond the borders of his native land. Navigating much more in the cosmic depths of Jean-Michel Jarre's electronic odes, the Argentine musician-synthesist makes our ears travel according to his fantasies and visual memories on atmospheres that flirt with the first albums of the musician from Lyons, France. In a long album that flirts with 100 minutes, HISTORIAS SECRETAS wraps us in a dense web of atmospheric elements where electronic rhythms, cosmic tunes and sound effects of the genre, except for a few occasions, pour into the interstellar universes of JM-Jarre from Oxygene to Rendez-vous while excluding Zoolook. And as it is often the case with the releases of the Cyclical Dreams label, I spent pleasant moments to capture all the sound richness of this very beautiful album available in downloadable format and in HQ CD-(R).

For many fans of this album, Neurotron is its most beautiful track. It plunges us right away in this French musician's universe, think of Magnetic Fields, with a nervous rhythm that is built on a line of lively oscillations twirling on bass pulsations in boom-boom mode. The keyboard weaves a nice melody that is just as lively and pleasant to the ears. The percussions solidify the rhythm around the 90th second. It is at this level that the memories of JM-Jarre 3rd album haunt our ears. The synth whistles nice harmonious solos that contort themselves on cosmic waves rushes and sound effects. In the end, it is indeed a very good cosmic electronic rock. Carbono follows by adopting the rhythmic framework of Neurotron. Its rhythm is less fast but just as effective with jumping keys that twirl in an atypical rhythmic choreography. The atmospheric elements of a Cosmos caught in a meteoric turmoil are dense, creating a sonic mass that drowns out the chaotic dance of the jumping sequences. The synth pads that blow ambient tunes with a spectral tinge, I hear musical fragrances and the orchestral arrangements of Rendez-vous, are better defined here than on the previous track. Most of the titles in HISTORIAS SECRETAS fit together, creating a musical mosaic that can be inspired by the previous one. Thus, Invierno espouses the atmospheric texture of Carbono to take us to a slow cosmic waltz on a carpet of light reverberations that drift with jerky pads. The keyboard/synth combination weaves a melody as pleasant as in Neurotron. The impression of hearing a lost, or a secret, JM-Jarre album becomes less obvious, except for the cosmic-spectral synth tunes, when Primavera follows with its intergalactic birdlife. The flow is slow with a pulsing bass-line that thump and resonate to structure a slow, filamentous, slightly stroboscopic ascent. The percussive elements that tinkle, like rattlesnake tails, at regular intervals add a lot of charm to this track that evolves with the processional gait of the synth pads. I like it! Longest track of this new Francisco Nicosia album, Punta Médanos evolves in 3 segments. Its first part is more atmospheric with a swarm of jerky pads whose spasmodic dance gathers a panoply of synth effects and tunes, including evanescent solos. The keyboard also injects its share of deconstructing melodies with continuous lines that zigzag upward and feed the second portion of a more driving rhythm once the 6-minute barrier is crossed. Percussions and sequenced pad sequences in a jerky cadence momentarily re-energize this structure, which fades into a finale fueled by mooings, drones and cosmic winds.

A simply brilliant track, Mayor Buratovich progresses on the interstellar ambient elements of Punta Medanos with a heap of very harmonious pads to finally lay down a marvelous melody strummed on a harpsichord around its 5th minute. Simply irresistible, this bucolic melody stands the test of time over its 2 minute distance before the track explores a more sinister finale with radiations of gloomy drones in an ever so cosmic nature. La Anunciación begins with pulses that stretch their resonance like the breaths of an industrial beast. These elongated beats become a processional march, and the listless slowness of the movement serves as the basis for a synth that scatters mournful harmonies. After Taylor's Polinomio, strong in sonorities and cosmic effects, Ruta 63 reopens the road of electronic rhythms with a pulsating movement filled with rhythmic suspense. A pulsing bass-line spreads an ascending grip. Jarre-like clicks and sober percussions are grafted on to create a slow dynamism that progresses without really exploding. The play of the bass is very effective with nice undulations, solidifying even more this semi-slow rhythm where are posed very good synth solos. Solos that make the strength of the first 7 minutes of this track that gets lost in a more ethereal atmospheric passage before a less powerful but more hungry rhythm structure rises and falls a more serene cosmic panorama. It's a bit of this more sonically powerful rhythmic backbone that drives the opening of Electrónica del antiguo Egipto, which continues this rhythmic momentum knotted over vividly alternating pulses in another of those delightfully nervous ascending structures of the album. Francisco feeds our ears with other superb synth solos with vintage tones that twirl, spin and intertwine in a magnificent electronic choreography. The musician-synthesist from Buenos Aires plays with the modulations of the rhythm, which takes on a very good rubbery resonance texture in the middle of the track, without ever changing the structure of his solos. They continue to whirl in this aerial farandole which gradually modifies the texture of its beats around the 9th minute for a more ethereal, almost meditative finale. These last two tracks are pure magic from the world of electronic music (EM). Atardecer en El Palmar leaves the cosmic context of HISTORIAS SECRETAS to offer a beautiful ballad filled with romance where the Chinese essences recall the hyper melodious side of Vangelis. The synth, its harmonies and solos, are of a tenderness to move us. It is very beautiful! The fans of the late Greek musician will like it. El último tema del lado B is a bit of the same kind. More lively and rhythmic, it offers a pretty nice cinematographic melody that leaves its mark on our soul with the same grace that Vangelis had.

A very beautiful album that is in fact a clever mix of the ambiences and the more progressive structures of Cuentos Fantásticos and the melodies of Time, HISTORIAS SECRETAS is one of those albums that it is good to discover during the listenings where our ears then collect small treasures that accumulate unceasingly. Sign of a great EM album!

Sylvain Lupari (May 1st, 2023) ****½*

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)

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