By describing himself as a ‘non-musician’, Leandro Fresco creates a bit of a logical non-sequitur. With productions steeped in ambient melodics, it’s a humble statement to make. Granted, he’s self taught – but it takes more than just a good ear to compose the hazy beauty present on ‘El Reino Invisible’, the first full length, single artist release from Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series.
To be fair, Leandro Fresco has had some practise with experimentations in, surprising, pop rock cheese at one end of the scale (a discovery that leads me to wonder if this is actually the same producer), to the gaseous, epic haze of 2002’s Amor Internacional.
For ‘El Reino Invisible’ we’re given the full Pop Ambient treatment, with a majestic sound sitting somewhere in between a demure, beat-less Ulrich Schnauss and a prolonged weepy existentialist comedown moment on a Tuesday.
Billows of gentle pads envelop guitar and synth melodies, plucking at the old heart strings with carefully constructed attention designed to wring maximum emotional out take. In places it is, indeed, a touch ‘Balearic chill out’, but hey this is Pop Ambient and there is something really rather satisfying about notes following each other that sound like they should, following patterns and structures that feel natural and harmonically consonant.
I dare you not to feel an internal twinge of deliciously unrequited melancholia upon listening to El Valle. How can you not gaze into the middle distance contemplating the lachrymose profundity of, say, William Anders’ 1968 ‘Earthrise‘ shot whilst the title track plays in background?
Let us not dwell too much on the dark side though, Leandro himself mentions “I do not associate this album with feelings of sadness, but with hope, light and the summer heat, full of cyan and orange colours”. Whilst it’s hard not to withdraw into a state of introspection with this style of music, it’s certainly not difficult to apply these sounds to warm hazy sunshine.
This is not the kind of release you might pop on whilst doing the washing up, it rather invites you to contemplate, slow down and have a good old think about life, the universe and how a ‘non-musician’ is able to produce something as splendid as this.
Needless to say, if you are a fan of the widescreen ambience championed by Kompakt and blogs such as A Strangely Isolated Place you should be hot footing it to the purchase button at the end of this piece with immediate haste.
El Reino Invisible is out now on Kompakt, order a vinyl copy from the Kompakt.fm.