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Federico Balducci – And watch the earth below (Cadet Chronicles I)

What’s in an instrumental album? In some cases, it can be something intended to see release as a score for a film or other visual media. In others, it can be released with the sole purpose of taking listeners on a wholly auditory experience within its composition. It’s not every day you’ll find a concept album that revels in the fact that there are hardly any spoken words in its runtime to further flesh out the concept part of said concept album, but that is what Federico Balducci has set out to do with And Watch the Earth Below (Cadet Chronicles I.)

Federico Balducci is someone new to me, but you might know about him and his work considering he has over one hundred albums that have seen release on his Bandcamp page since 2008. And Watch The Earth Below is his ninth release of 2021, for example; this is an example of a musician so in their element that they’ve nearly become a factory able to churn out material at an alarmingly consistent rate. The albums predating this supposed first entry in the Cadet Chronicles series are fully unfamiliar to me and the sheer overwhelming number stacked up against this one album made it nearly impossible to find a place to start, but I feel confident in my journey to discover more Balducci classics now that I’ve seen how excellent his craft is within his most recent outing.

BANDCAMP: https://federicobalducci7.bandcamp.com/album/and-watch-the-earth-below-cadet-chronicles-i

The refined polish distributed across the eight tracks that comprise And Watch the Earth Below is noticeably that of someone confident within their works; branching from an opening track that feels like something familiar and almost expected out of the genres of experimental ambience that Balducci has chosen to play within come follow-up songs that begin to almost dismantle the core conceptions of what music can accomplish within an instrumental album. The genre feels almost impossible to fully label as muddled soundbites of dialogue are buried beneath lilting and phosphorescent notes that feel almost divine in their sheer existence. The path the album leads listeners down is one most experimental artists might view as daunting, but the music speaks for itself one hundred percent and paints a picture that more than fills in the blanks in the place where words might otherwise go.

The promise of more to come from Balducci in this specific series is an intriguing one; a fully instrumental story that spans multiple albums is certainly an ambitious ask, but it feels as though Federico Balducci is up to the task more than most others based on both this first stab at the story as well as his whirlwind release schedule. Listeners will more than likely find themselves eager to inspect the depths of Balducci’s discography after familiarizing themselves with the first Cadet Chronicles entry, and the fact that there is plenty to seek out is more jaw-dropping than it is overwhelming. And Watch the Earth Below (Cadet Chronicles I) is available via Federico Balducci’s Bandcamp and on all traditional streaming services now.

Mindy McCall

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