Great Ideas That Only Go Halfway
Matteo Vallicelli employs some great ideas and techniques on Primo. It is his first full solo release, but he is also the drummer for The Soft Moon. Unfortunately, most of his songs just never go anywhere beyond an interesting opening passage. They sound as if they are building up to something that never comes. This album does not feature a mainstream or commercial form of electronic music, so it is sure to be polarizing. Instead, it offers weird, crisp sounds, such as the serene synths on the opening track “Frammenti.” However, these elements are never built up or expanded upon in a way that demonstrates Vallicelli’s versatility.
While listening to many of the album’s songs, one may think, “man, this intro is so good,” only to have it not be an intro at all. Rather, what one thought was merely the beginning of a track is often the full extent to which Vallicelli’s ideas are realized. It’s not that minimalist music never works. It can be great if done well. Yet, with this project, Vallicelli makes it sound like there is always something else coming. It is easiest to feel this sense of unresolved anticipation on tracks like “Nuova Notte” and “Lausitzer Platz,” where the heavy synths would have come together impressively if the song had an established beat.
However, there are definitely parts of Primo that are worth celebrating. Vallicelli is incredible in his innovative use of eclectic techniques to create something new. “Michelangelo” and “Arpeggio Due” showcase his technique and ability to create unique and compelling songs. These are probably two of the stronger offerings of the album, as, while they maintain the same style as the rest of the album, they feel as though they progress. By the end of each of these tracks, Vallicelli has taken us on a brief and exciting journey through his art. On other tracks, however, it’s often easy to lose interest in this journey.
Vallicelli has incredible potential as an artist. It must have taken a load of creativity and confidence to put together an album like Primo. It truly is an impressive sonic experiment and Vallicelli can surely learn from its successes and shortcomings to create something truly exceptional in the future.