Franck Carducci [Release date 09.01.15]
Multi instrumentalist Franck Carducci is a Frenchman who moved to Holland to find his blues tinged prog rock niche.
He tells us that during his musical formative years he played with upwards of 20 different bands and on 15 different albums. ‘Torn Apart’ suggests he’s clearly absorbed a raft of influences that are grounded in the likes of Yes, Genesis, Rush and Crimson.
From the opening collision of Govt Mule with Yes’s ‘Heart of Sunrise’ and ‘Starship Trooper’, to the enveloping organ sweep and hard riffing guitar work, Frank Carducci pursues a glorious retro feel allied to his essential prog rock outlook.
On the evidence of the opening title track alone, he’s a guitar player who lives for those intense moments when one eloquent phrase can define a piece of music. And there’s plenty of intensity here, with intermeshed instrumental passages, fiery solos, soaring harmonies and inspired prog rock.
‘Torn Apart’ could easily have been recorded in the early 70’s but it’s full of contemporary production values that make gives the opening 10 minutes, 17 seconds of the ripping title track its intensity. Just when you think it’s finished it rises again with a final crescendo in the manner of the long forgotten Dutch prog band Trace.
‘Close To Irreversible’ sounds almost restrained in contrast, but builds purposely to find its own sense of grandeur, full of subtle dynamics and a gorgeous bluesy guitar break form Steve Hackett.
The keyboard led ‘Journey Through The Mind’ lives up to its proggy, psychedelic title with Richard Vecchi’s extravagant synth and organ work, tempered by Roy van Oost’s plaintive flute, Franck’s own sitar part and a brief harmony vocal with Mary Reynaud. It bursts forth with instrumental colour, lush harmonies and a melodic undertow.
Much like the 10cc influenced ‘Girlfriend For A Day’, ‘Artificial Love’ is a link-piece with backward sounding guitars that leads into the four part, 12 minute suite of the splendidly titled ‘A Brief Tale of Time’.
The piece initially sounds like Genesis, but Franck’s resonant vocal soon emulates Yes’s Jon Anderson on a coherent and linear musical journey.
There’s a change of pace on the acoustic, second part of the suit ‘Higher And Higher’, complete with intricate percussion, bv’s and interwoven guitar and keyboard parts. The staccato and nightmarish ‘2078: Möbius Strip’, features Vecchi again on an array of keys and leads to a guitar and piano resolution with a brief vocal duet. A delicate piano-led ending brings us to the end of an engaging musical journey.
Franck rocks out on ‘Mr Hyde & Dr, Jekyll’ with Michael Strobel on strident lead guitar, while ‘Artificial Paradises’ again features his Jon Anderson style vocal, and an extravagant Yes style synth break as part of a symphonic finish. Much like the album as a whole, it’s probably musically stronger than his lyrics.
Supertramp’s ‘School’ provides a bonus track and confirms his ability as a musician and arranger who aims high and impressively hits the ground running. ****
Review by Pete Feenstra
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