FRANCISCO NICOSIA: Time (2021)
“Nicosia proposes nothing less than atmospheric textures that make his music unique”
1 Anestesicos Milenarios 6:05
2 Tiempo 8:46
3 Reloj de Sal 5:18
4 Mar Rojo 10:30
5 Dios, en los Principios y los fines 10:21
6 En el Interior de un Agujero Negro 14:58
7 Falso Sol 9:42
8 Recuerdos del Sonido 4:56
9 La primer ciudad de Marte 7:39
10 Genesis (12 1-4) 4:15
11 Registros Akashicos 4:21
(DDL 86:57) (V.F.)
(Progressive EM Ambient Drones)
If you are a fan of Vangelis' first albums, TIME from Francisco Nicosia is a great discovery to put between your ears. In an album that has nothing to do with the excellent Cuentos Fantásticos, this new album from the musician native of Buenos Aires is built on the hypothesis, very credible by the way, that the human being has broken his mortgage with the Earth. So that our fate depends on what we will do, as a society, with the time left to catch up and recover these years. But do we really believe that? On nearly 87 minutes of a most heterogeneous album, Francisco Nicosia blows hot and cold by proposing musical textures worthy of the first albums of Vangelis. Exploiting the progressive, abstract and romantic visions of the Greek musician, the Argentinean artist offers us a delirious musical journey to the country that Vangelis left for undertaking his mythical soundtracks. To speak about TIME is to constantly allude to the first works of the one to whom we owe Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner. From Heaven & Hells to Invisible Connections, Francisco Nicosia proposes nothing less than an atmospheric album where the composer's visions remain pessimistic.
And already we feel this opposition of TIME's ambiences with his first calling card which wants to be both repulsive and attractive. It is around 3 sober guitar chords that the first half of Anestesicos Milenarios takes place. Like an imaginary enclosure, which would hold a sound fauna in full gestation, this rough triangle of sounds maintains captive the fascinating jeremiads of a synth obsessed by a desire to be a guitar so much its tonalities are acute. The solos, like the lamentations flow in symbiosis with this fascinating robotic dialect which is also surrounded by this trigone functioning like a triangular magnetic field. A field that evaporates 17 seconds after the 3rd minute, revealing that it was the source of life of this track that carries the secret of these dialects into oblivion. Tiempo sticks to our ears with a kind of procession, lifted by a bass-pulse, where a voice in a vocoder calls for time. The ambiences bring us back to the heart of the 70's with this hypnotic march whose ambient character is favourable to hear a great diversity of organic elements, like analog sound effects and absent voices that are engraved in an apocalyptic decor. The streamers seem to escape time with Olympic prowess in their movements that pass from one ear to another while disintegrating into more organic sound effects and reconstituting themselves with an arpeggio or two that have been lost in the decomposition process. But no matter, our ears are soaking in the psychedelic years here with a kind of prayer to the god of time. Psybient guided by a pulsating trance! Francisco draws us into a cave where time stops breathing with Reloj de Sal. Tingles, some high pitched and others more neutral, and cymbals, some more musical than percussive, sculpt a music without form or momentum making me think at times, and here my memories are vague, of Invisible Connections. The effect of emptiness is absolutely invasive in this track. Mar Rojo is a first track that raises the passions with a movement of astral waves where the violent bursts of water on the reefs also raise our emotions. There is a beautiful keyboard on this track that scatters its chords in melodious patterns. There are still some of those chirps that we heard in Anestesicos Milenarios, but for the rest it's a beautiful music with synth pads that welcome those tears of a keyboard with an incredible tenderness. The ambiences of the Greek musician are omnipresent, if only by this constant hesitation in the fingers touching the keyboard. A very beautiful title!
If we want to go further in the comparisons with Vangelis, the opening of Dios, en los Principios y los fines possesses fragrances of China, think of The Dragon but in a softer way, while the breaths of the synth are also filled with some memories of Tangerine Dream. A musical dimension that the title borrows a little more by proposing a good movement of the sequencer in a title that dithers regarding its orientation. Either a big electronic rock or this zenitude which is so close to Francisco Nicosia's influences. The vibrating drones in the opening of En el Interior de un Agujero Negro (Inside a Black Hole) are quite representative of the title. This movement is divided into three branches; linear, pulsating and apocalyptic that come together to distance themselves again, constantly playing with the black and white contours already eroded by a mass of sounds without oxygen. Nearly 15 minutes of such movement requires a high degree of creativity, which is proven here by the different speeds of the pulsating lines coming from the biting kisses of the back-and-forth suckers. There are also those lines that stick and separate to take different tonal forms that make the exploration of En el Interior de un Agujero Negro a little more interesting. But one does not sleep or dream on the different currents of these drones. So, we need the sweetness of Falso Sol, at least its opening that starts with a much more musical vision. Francisco shows off his sweetness in a movement that is already flirting with incoherence not even 60 seconds into its opening. Falso Sol thus becomes an abstract movement cut in segments that requires a good dose of curiosity if one wants to go through its almost 10 minutes. And yet, the Argentine musician is able of good things full of tenderness and emotionality as shown by the beautiful piano of Recuerdos del Sonido. After this calm ode to serenity, La primer ciudad de Marte startles us with a symphonic opening a la Synergy that explodes with ferocity. Like the craziest moments of Heaven & Hells, or even Albedo 0.39, the track travels between the audacity of the orchestrations and the ingenuity in the design of the sound effects to end 2 minutes before the end with a collection of zephyrs blowing with a nymph voice in its setting. Genesis (12 1-4) is a quiet track guided by a good synth that exploits its timbres with progressive harmonies. Let's say it fits well in the conception of this album that concludes with another abstract EM track in Registros Akashicos where Francisco Nicosia exploits a form of surreal electronic language. It's like hearing the mysterious, if not frightening, voices through the interferences of a radio or television, like in the movie White Noise starring Michael Keaton.
Strongly inspired by Vangelis, Francisco Nicosia is nonetheless very original in his compositions. His signature is contemporary with a freedom in his choice of textures that make his music unique. TIME offers 11 chapters where hope lives through a thinly veiled pessimist. And each track lives with these extremes in a superb production where each chord is worth its weight in gold.
Sylvain Lupari (August 7th, 2021) *****
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp