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Franco Leprino - Integrati... Disintegrati CD (album) cover


Franco Leprino


Progressive Electronic

4.16 | 55 ratings

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3 stars Integrati...Disintegrati sees Franco Leprino weaving together electronic sounds with earthier, more romantic folk music and classical touches . It's an altogether beautiful and at times very silken effort, smooth and effortless for a good part, even though it has some less welcoming experimental tricks up its sleeves.

A gentle, pure and contemplative synthesizer rise and fall in the background accompanied by delicately plucked and cautiously intense and repetitive guitar. It's like waves breaking on a deserted beach, lightly showered by a melancholy spring rain. A piercing, alarm-like and simple melody breaks free from the synthesizers with an eagerly pulsing sequence beneath it. With that, the mood changes. New ideas of intensity and urgency make themselves known, coupled to a sense of falling. But soon enough the gentle strokes of the beach scene is back. About halfway through the first side, we come to an abrupt halt in a eerie collage of alternately mournful, alternately attention-seeking lonely piano, the cries of a baby, the smacking of a mouth and gushes of winds. Disjointed and disturbingly intimate. Battiatoesque. It doesn't last long. Soon enough a range of watery, bubbling and distinct electronic sequences build up and eventually surge, letting loose a series of shyly shimmering and distorted part-wind/part-breathing sounds to chase after each other beneath and between the more precise and abstract qualities of the sequences. As it fades out into silence, another abrupt twist takes it all back to the reflective and plaintive, but simultaneously cleansing and beautiful piano, with aching flutes eventually joining in like pale rays of light through a dense green tree canopy. Spacey guitars all of a sudden. Like falling stars they echo in fragile and transient harmonic sensitivity, gone almost as soon as they arrived. The piece concludes in a subdued dramatic marriage of many of the earlier elements. The folk guitar, the fluttering flutes and the purifying synthesizer backing all come together in very symphonic and classical air of restless expectancy. Delicate and wonderful.

The second side starts off a bit more mysteriously, with backward-sounding sounds that expand and contract like rubber bands before a sprightly and spindly guitar atmosphere takes over in a spacey blip-blop fashion. A towering and ponderous synthesizer attack follows, brutally naked and commanding as it takes over everything. The ethereal and shaky guitars make a brief return (not the last time they make an appearance), but this time around they pick up some slippery keyboard melodies and high-pitched notes as everything gradually slips back into a mishmash with the collage-like part on side one, turning it all into a busily nosiy affair for a while. It's all rather avant-garde. Some of the classical feeling of the first side finds some room as well (folky guitar, airy flute - but with a more reclined, relaxed feel now, like a gentle wind across a peaceful and sun-dry countryside vista). The electronic side is never far away and just around the corner are more churning, glitchy pulses and weird effects. Or as when some gently strummed guitar chords serve as anchoring, as sweeping astral winds and shape-shifting rays of musical coloration. It moves through some embellished variations of themes heard on the first side, passing by some palatial synthesizer walls and twinkling percussion along the way, before it eventually reverts to a humbly muted and secretively convoluted variant of the piece's initial backwards mystery. Eventually there is another more tangible semi-symphonic conclusion here, with playful synthesizer cascades to set it apart from the rest.

As a rule, detailed track-by-track descriptions are not my thing, but in this case it's hard to avoid. With only two long compositions and both of them being so restlessly varied and ever-changing, that's where you end up. In this case that underlines both the strengths and weaknesses of Integrati...Disintegrati. There are many great and working ideas here, capable of immense melodic beauty, soothing ambience, ethereal space explorations and mischievous avant-garde tendencies and sound manipulations. But it remains awfully jumbled and clumsily put together. There is no cohesive mood or tendency. Not that I'd need one for the entire album, but the separate parts feel infuriatingly fleeting and underdeveloped, rarely given enough time to let you sink in to them and absorb what's going on. Not to mention how strangely they fit together. I don't know what sort of creative pressure Franco Leprino was facing in order to be forced to fit all this disparate material into just one album, when you get the feeling it could just as easily be split into three. Perhaps he just couldn't choose and wanted it all. Who can blame him?

Integrati...Disintegrati still remains a very interesting release - oddly charming with a surprisingly broad set of influences and sounds that are combined rather uniquely. I like and admire almost everything here, seen as individual bits. Deeply flawed, but so it goes.

3 stars.


LinusW | 3/5 |


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