Gregorio Franco is one of the most exciting, versatile, and unpredictable creators within modern darksynth music. Following 2017’s epic and occasionally brutal sci-fi creation The Dark Beyond, the artist shifted gears into ultra gritty, metal-inspired tracks that pulverized eardrums with ridiculously distorted synth bass and scorched listeners in their massive, hellish audioscapes. It seemed like the artist was building toward something truly savage, though anyone who was expecting Quantum Memories to be in the ballpark with recent creations was completely mistaken.
Instead, Gregorio Franco has once again shifted gears, this time into blissfully deep and dark cinematic synthwave with a conceptual focus on future space civilizations, delivering 10 cosmic tracks that serve as a portal to the outer reaches of the universe.
Not every song completely succeeds in this new venture, though the ones that do are immaculate creations with the perfect amount of subtlety, depth, and brevity, making them succinct glimpses into pitch-black darkness. Gregorio Franco’s impressively huge audio production is once again present here, though there is a refinement and humility in it that perfectly accents the album’s slices of atmospheric terror.
The flawless production is readily apparent on “Nephthimes,” a sublime piece that builds over the course of its running length, shifting effortlessly from an ambient drone into light percussion and a reverb-heavy melody. A high-pitched synth tone eventually glides into the background, gently shifting in and out before rising to a heart-wrenching wail that slices through the track with a razor’s edge. A lesser producer would allow the notes to reach an ear-piercing level of discomfort, though Gregorio Franco masterfully pushes them just to the edge, enough to tease the possibility of pain before withdrawing them into the shadows, and the result is likely to send shivers down your spine.
Other highlights on the journey through the icy reaches of space include “Si-Ket,” “Larvata,” “Rhyax,” and “Manuchos,” though the variety on the recording is certain to generate a different favorite for everyone. Quantum Memories is a must-hear album for fans who enjoy ambient and cinematic synthwave music, and its tracks offer more than enough depth to reward multiple listens. The recording may be a complete surprise coming from Gregorio Franco, but it’s a welcome one.
Buy the Album: Bandcamp
Check out What is Synthwave? 2018 Edition for a history of the genre
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