Ambient Composer/Guitarist Federico Balducci Releases Stunning New LP
The world can oftentimes feel so loud, a constant barrage of noise and chaos amidst fleeting glimpses at harmonious melodies that more often than not end up lost in the overwhelming white noise. To find yourself at wit’s end as a result of such disarray undoubtedly requires the need to sit down in a controlled space with something on hand that can help envelope, or better yet, remove such distractions and negative pieces of sound from your immediate headspace. At times like this, instrumental music can feel like a godsend. Light, fleeting notes sprinkled across electronic drones and drum kits with no lyrics to distract from the rhythmic pulsing. Instrumental music can be a lifesaver.
Federico Balducci knows this plenty; his entire career has been built off of the concept of instrumental and ambient music with a focus on experimental composition, and his most recent outing only furthers his expertise. And Watch the Earth Below (Cadet Chronicles I) invokes the possibility of concept albums that can function as relaxants and thought-provokers before they ever focus on telling a cohesive story. As there are experimental films, there must also be experimental music, and this is something Balducci knows thoroughly.
And Watch the Earth Below manages to cover a wide amount of ground within its forty-minute runtime, never entirely stopping to catch its breath until a gradual slowness envelopes listeners within its penultimate track. The overall full-album experience is worthy of auditory hallucinations as clips of indistinguishable dialogue bounce around on airwaves of droning notes, a sensation most evident within the final track “Bridgers.” The album is extremely devoted to crafting a one-of-a-kind atmosphere within its walls and it succeeds at this from the moment it begins within the first two tracks, “Together in a Baron’s Balloon, Mov. I” and “Mov. II.” The album impressively never loses pace or misses a step with any of its song inclusions; if you’re on board at the start, you’ll be in for one hell of a ride across the next seven tracks.
Looking at Balducci’s repertoire, it’s no wonder And Watch the Earth Below comes off as something so innately polished — he has been responsible for dozens of albums under his name, some featuring songs that run anywhere from just a few minutes to some that clock in at twenty-plus, and doesn’t show any signs of fatigue within his portfolio having maintained proper pace for over a decade. The prospect of a discography this rich and layered in its density and approach to the craft of musical composition is enough to make music theorists chomp at the bit, and it would appear that there is an audience for this type of genre and approach. Federico Balducci is crafting not just songs and albums, but full worlds and visual escapades one can trek across from between the comfort of their headphones. As this is only the first chapter within the Cadet Chronicles, it’s safe to assume there will be more to come any day now and the tease of such material is an exciting prospect, to say the least.