Federico Balducci’s new album isn’t for everyone, but for those interested in the unique and avant-garde works of similar artists such as Brian Eno, AIR, Daft Punk, and Aphex Twin, it will prove a welcome addition. The music on the record, titled Dans differénts cerles… (aether), is purposefully meandering and wide-ranging in scope. It’s clear Balducci isn’t just interested in creating evocative and immersive musical patterns, he wants to take the listener on an intricate journey through sonic realms not always so welcoming or necessarily easy to listen to. The tracks on the album range from neo-classical to ambient horror, eventually tying in elements of European disco, electronica, dance, and alternative into the mix. The one thing that Balducci guarantees is the element of surprise. In listening to the album, your expectations will be repeatedly subverted.
Firstly, it almost seems as if you’re in for a subtly digitized, classical experience in the inspirational vein of Bach and Stravinsky. Very quickly, however, that subtle digitization forms the nexus in the succeeding track, a terrifying series of ambient sounds that retain a musical quality simultaneous to being the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard.
Balducci brings a foreigner’s limitlessness to the American market. It’s clear he isn’t interested in playing ball when it comes to audience expectations. As a result, Dans differénts cerles… (aether) may prove polarizing to some, while to others this will only add to the intrigue of the listening experience. Each song’s evolution, while radically different from track to track, isn’t sudden or hurried. Rather Balducci skillfully blends elements of one piece, no matter how alien, into the next. As a result, while listening to the record is the equivalent to riding a rollercoaster without say as to where it’s about to go, there is a sense of continuity nevertheless retained. Quiet details in a particular track are secret clues to what the next might be, making die-hard music fans likely want to listen over and over again to get a lock on the specificity of Balducci’s calculations.
What listeners may discover the most about the artistic design of Dans differénts cerles… (aether) is the planned freedoms Balducci imbues his music with. While he lays down several stylistic rules regardless of the genre he tackles, Balducci is then permitted by his own creational standards complete and total authority over the musical progression of the song. The result is the uncanny valley of something feeling like it’s spiraling out of control, yet such chaos being of a calculated medium. This only adds to collectively unsettling nature, making the anticipation almost unbearable for the listener when they hit a mellower and more familiar-sounding track. Balducci’s two greatest assets to his craft are first and foremost being a shapeshifter, in addition to being totally and irrevocably free within his boundaries. The result is something truly unique, and that one likely won’t hear anywhere else. Proceed at your own risk.