I find again Francesco and Tony Cigna sometime after another of their albums’ release, Dedication, which I talked about on this blog. The title of their new CD, Kepler 452-B, intrigues me and inevitably reminds me to Sun Ra. However, since the intro of Nebula, the first track, it appears clear that this album is something else. The “cosmic” vibe seems to stem from a detail that immediately stands out to my ear: the presence of synthesisers. It’s Francesco’s guitar, equipped with a MIDI output(*), that controls a virtual synth capable of adding a pad to the classic sound of the strings, converting the intro into something more than just an acoustic sound. So, the track is realized with acoustic instruments, but it gets spiced up with this electronic touch that I personally find to be its extra gear.
The tracks, all signed by Francesco Cigna, go from Nebula’s ¾ to pedal-based structures (Kepler 452-B, The Cosmos, Isolation), from ballads (Weightless) to even eights (Ode to the Sun).
Kepler 452-B’s intro reminds to the dawn of synthesis, when the first Moogs began to appear on stage, with a lead that traces the outlines of a mysterious, sonic landscape. Like a Meteorite, on the other hand, starts with a synthetic arpeggio which eventually gives its place to the swing of electric piano, bass and drums; then, in multiple moments, the arpeggio comes back, including in the finale, where Francesco’s voice joins with an evocative sound that goes back to disco-seventies atmospheres. The use of sus4 chords in The Cosmos also reminds to electric atmospheres, this time more fusion, as well as Weightless’s intro, that calls to mind Joe Zawinul’s synths.
The album’s crew is formed by Francesco Cigna (guitar, guitar synthesizer, vocals, electronic devices), Erik Ørum von Spreckelsen,(piano & Fender Rhodes), Morten Ankarfeldt (bass), and Tony Cigna (drums), and its release is scheduled for July 22nd 2022, on CD and all digital platforms.
For more information check the Cosmic Space Quartet‘s Facebook page.
(*) The MIDI protocol (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a protocol for communication among electronic music instruments. It was invented by Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits and the engineer Chet Wood, who in 1981 wrote together the Universal Synthesizer Interface document.
For more information, see: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_Instrument_Digital_Interface
Translation by Maria Alvino (IG: @im.called.maria).
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