De-Franco – Solastalgia
“Always nice when the Twitterverse drops some good music into my feed...”
“This is lush! I’m streaming the album right now, and really enjoying it!”
“Haven’t been able to stop listening to this! Have been on the lookout for a new fave chillout artist and this guy is it! Amazing atmospheric stuff akin to Zero 7 and Jean Michel Jarre.”
“It has layers of nostalgia that reminds me of the beginnings of the truly innovative and excellent electronic music scene but it has hints of 8 bit game soundtracks so prevalent in the modern indie gaming scene too.”
Melodic, evocative, sumptuous electronica ...this perfectly describes the well-crafted debut album Solastalgia from Australian artist De-Franco.
Immersed in a captivating blend of acoustic and electro instrumentation, De-Franco fuses primal elements of progressive, minimal and tech house to create a boldly haunting sound. Add to this some cherry-picked smatterings of ambient, glitch, pop and jazz and the result is a rich, luscious brew that invokes deep sensations of loss, decimation, and ultimately the possibility (however faint) of hope and atonement.
De-Franco explains: “The album title came about from reading a New York Times article about Professor Glenn Albrecht and a philosophical term he’d coined, Solastalgia, in response to mining activities in the Hunter Valley in Australia. And whilst not an environmental album per se, I certainly wanted to explore a range of emotions in relation to aspects of that pain he described, that loss, that feeling of helplessness.”
Composed, performed and produced by the man himself, Solastalgia has been crafted with focussed love. Soul soothing one moment, bent out of shape the next, each piece is intelligent, deliberate and introspective.
From the opening track Solastalgia, through such titles as Anthem For No One, Conquistador (featuring classical guitar from Mexican guitarist Daniel Medina), The Tipping Point and Elemental Lullaby, emotions are delicately examined through sophisticated choices in instrumentation, melody and beats. The only composition flirting with convention, Sunlight Song, features an ethereal, plaintive vocal from Australian singer Rel O’Keefe, imploring us to reach for the light from the dark of despair. The sole track with lyrics, their oblique allusion to Hiroshima delivers chills.
De-Franco cites electronic heroes including Ennio Morricone, Massive Attack, Air, Jean Michel Jarre, Trentemøller, Pink Floyd, Vangelis and Yann Tierson to name a few. “I’ve always been attracted to tunes with great melodies – instrumental or vocal, electronica, rock, pop – it doesn’t matter. If the melody stirs me, then I’m in.”
So close the doors, shut off the lights, turn up the volume and embark on your own, personal journey through the intoxicating and heady sensory experience that is Solastalgia.