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Francesco Buccheri - Hand Made CD (album) cover

HAND MADE

Francesco Buccheri

Progressive Electronic


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Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unreleased works from the 1980s

Francesco was born in Bologna in 1954. He recalls falling in love with music early as he listened to his sister practice and perform at the piano. He began his musical exploration at the age of 8 with guitar, but his breakthrough revelation came upon hearing Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother." It was there he first realized electronic music's possibilities and began diving into Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and Klaus Schulze. After 4 years with the band Ex Aequo he went solo and released his first proper album in 1979. Today he writes music for films, television, as well as a new series of CDs issued in the 90s and 00s.

"Hand Made" is a Mellow Records archival release which came out in 1995. Most websites claim the album consists of unreleased material from 1974, but I believe this is an error. Buccheri's first album was issued in 1979 and while I can't read the Italian liner notes in "Hand Made" I can see that they reference the songs to the years 1984, 1985, and 1989. So while they may have been written earlier, I believe all of these songs were recorded between 1984 and1989.

Having little expertise in the electronic music genres I would have a hard time naming clear references or influences. Buccheri reminds me a bit of Schulze and fellow Italian Sangiuliano, with this compilation providing a wide overview of moods and emotions. At the same time, the unrelated nature of the individual tracks can lead to a somewhat disjointed feel. This does not detract however as the songs are interesting enough on their own to keep my attention. The pieces range from experimental and mildly dissonant to more structured tracks with stock beats and good melodies. Ambient sound effects penetrate many of the pieces. Buccheri is an outstanding keyboardist and the synthesizer is by far the prominent ingredient here. The textures and sounds he gets throughout the album are often delightful and sometimes awe-inspiring. There is great contrast and layering when he employs multiple sounds together. His percussion work is nothing special however, some of the more sampled drumming sounds pretty artificial and plain. Occasionally there are some non-traditional vocals, some sound like a children's choir in one track. Guitar is used sparsely as well. The tracks generally leave you with an upbeat feel, not too dark, sometimes Oldfield-ish in places, other times meditative, and other times spacey. On the last track he even touches on industrial techno with a loud and rather abrasive contrast of key textures to a fast, rigid beat.

"Hand Made" is an album I enjoy very much and it makes me want to hear more from Buccheri. While not an essential album, mostly because the pieces lack a relationship to each other, at least in my view, I still would suggest instrumental keyboard fans check this out if you can find it. It features some very nice moments and an interesting take on things. The booklet offers only brief notes on four of the pieces, all written by Buccheri and in Italian. 3 1/2 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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