Boston’s Federico Balducci’s new album Clowder ov death 2 [Maniére] nestles itself to the listener’s psyche. From the macabre-like “Rusty Claws” to the dreamscapes in “One Way Street” to the bird-chirping “Walk In The Park”, Balducci’s wide swath of musical landscapes covers a very wide range of sonic experiences. This instrumental odyssey is a stunning accomplishment. Filled with organic movements and electric pulses, the listener can easily escape into these stirring, emotional pieces.
With a total of 16 tracks, including three interlude tracks, it’s hard to choose standouts. There are several, but for the sake of this review, I’d like to point out “Rusty Claws”, “Where Are You?”, “If I was a cloud” and “Gazoullis”. These are just a few of the highlights; each of the songs in Clowder are uniquely rich and vibrant. Balducci has a rare gift of manipulating sounds that echo for hours, and that invade the listener’s mind.
“Rusty Claws” sounds both mechanical and organic. At one point, it sounds like the listener is there, walking along a side street, stepping on acorns. Crunch, crunch, crunch. It also possesses a scary tone, a darker, scarlet sheen. In the more modern, almost desolate sounding “Where Are You?” , the sound of a blinking, siren-like tone repeats. At times I thought it was a faraway slot machine. Layered into the sound texture is a statis radio signal, or even faint TV broadcast. And, fused into that is a brooding guitar. It’s a mesmerizing song and whisks the listener away into a modern state of mind. It made me feel like I was elevating over a big city, flying. I was spying on homes below me and picking up their signals and the goings on in their life kept seeping into my brain. “Where Are You?” delivers an imaginative springboard.
In “If I was a cloud”, Balducci gathers together an African safari vibe. I felt like the thunder, an almost galloping sound, came together. I loved this sense of urgency and mixing of natural sounds. This song really impressed me and threw a lot at me at once. While I never felt overwhelmed, I did feel engulfed into the moment. Emotionally, it charges and energizes the listener. The song lends itself to an outdoors veil, a covering of nature and all of Mother Earth’s wonders. It spoke to me in a way that was different than the other tracks.
The lengthy track, “Gazoullis” is also another gem. This standout is just over eight minutes long, but the time goes by very productively. Sounding a bit more copper, this song has a hauntingly beautiful violin. The sound of birds chirping (much like the track “Walk In The Park”) hovers over the dreamy, atmospheric layer. To say this is an ambient song is saying too little. “Gazoullis” means ‘chirping’ in French. It’s a fluttering extravaganza and sonic aviary.
Overall, Balducci taps into his worldly imagination and the listener is better for it. Songs like the aforementioned, as well as “Tomorrow will be better” are proof that this exciting composer is on the cusp of an evergreen career.