Gianfranco Pescetti New Album ‘Daystar Nocturnal’

Gianfranco Pescetti creates (mostly) instrumental music now, but you may not realize he has also studied ballet and danced professionally during the time that led up to his musical career. Dance still plays into the music he creates, although you likely cannot imagine ballet dancers moving to the sounds compiled for his album Daystar Nocturnal. No, this music is much closer to what’s been termed chillwave, than anything akin to the classical compositions usually used for ballet performances. His sonic influences go all the way back to the more danceable sounds of Gothic-tinged acts, such as The Cure and Depeche Mode. He’s been positively compared to artists that range from Thundercat, to Cocteau Twin to Jean Michel Jarre.

There is just a hint of guitar on one here titled “Obsidian,” which may remind some of early The Cure. The Cure just had a way of creating mopey instrumental grooves. However, when they did so, they also had Robert Smith’s mopey singing voice to go along with his minor key guitar riffs.

Although these ten tracks are instrumentals, they’re not particularly long ones. For instance, nothing is longer than five minutes, and only a few of these recordings last over four minutes in length. Thus, these pieces may strike you as pop songs – sans words and vocals. Perhaps, then, Pescetti is actually a pop artist at heart. One wonders if he writes or imagines words that may be set to these sonic exercises. If so, that would not be at all surprising.

“Nostalgia Aime Le Rouge” is one of this album’s prettiest tracks. It may be electronic, but it still sounds fully orchestrated – as if it could just as easily be played by a full orchestra. It has a lovely, wide open romantic vibe running through it. With the word ‘nostalgia’ in its title, it may make you think about places and times that have made you feel nostalgic for something or someone. It’s just that evocative.

In contrast, though, “Be My Ghost” ups the rhythmic quotient significantly. It begins with the sort of driving groove associated with Depeche Mode. This is definitely intended to get the listener to move. It has rhythm to spare. It even sounds like it has some female background vocals in some places. Then there’s “The Wake.” This one is slow and mournful in places, even though it has a soft beat going for it. Maybe this is one that instrumentally expresses Pescetti’s inner Goth side. “Fogbound” sounds a whole lot like Pet Shop Boys. It has the sort of rhythmic base where one can well imagine a dry, droll vocal being sung over it.

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Yes, there are many different ways for the imagination to run wild while listening to Daystar Nocturnal by Gianfranco Pescetti. It has as many moments to make the body move as it has instances to cause one to be a little more contemplative. There’s also more than enough variety to keep things interesting from track to track. Instead of using his body to dance, Pescetti lets his musical imagination do all the dancing with this effort.

-Dan MacIntosh