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Francesco Pico delivers a 23 track long odyssey

Francesco Pico delivers a twenty-three-track odyssey with Perpetual E-Motion

Based in the Hague, Dutch artist Francesco Pico has been at the cutting edge of electronic music for the better part of three decades. Emerging from the Netherlands’ avant-garde dance scene on the strength of releases via Dave Seaman’s Audiotherapy, Eelke Kleijn’s Outside The Box, and Global Underground.

Enjoying a career renaissance since returning from a hiatus in 2018, Francesco has found new life through releases via Deepwibe Underground, Manual Music and his own Magnitude Recordings imprint. The latter of which serves as his primary home.

Francesco Pico has found a way to create a personal universe by exploring electronic sounds, and ultimately finding his own place in the trend-driven state of underground dance music.

Fully formed within the creative confines of his The Hague studio, Francesco’s fourth artist album ‘Perpetual E-Motion’ has followed a less conventional path to its release. Whereas most modern-day albums get dropped with little fanfare, or perhaps an industry standard one or two-single promotional period, Francesco chose to do something outside the norm.

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In his trailblazing ways, Pico decided to record and release singles from the project not only in real-time (as they were completed) but also in the order they would appear on the album’s final tracklist.

A daunting task as Francesco notes, “The real challenge of doing the album this way was to stick with the story. Releasing a single regularly was important so I was forced to stick to the plan, putting it away for a while and checking later if it was correct was not possible due to the deadlines of the scheduled singles. I just had to continue with what I had at the time, kind of like the old days of recording where you also captured the sound at the time of recording and had to deal with it. This was kind of refreshing for me, which I liked”.

It’s this unique and inventive approach to rethink our industry’s infrequently challenged ways that has resulted in a year-plus lead-up to the twenty-three-track epic “Perpetual E-Motion”.

Beginning with the placid pads, clustered pianos and calming fuzz of ‘Underscore’, Francesco’s craftsmanship is immediately taken to heart. Its nature-centric backdrop conjures rustic imagery, creating a quiet calm for what’s to come.

Pico builds the album’s first act masterfully with pieces like ‘Wavery’, ‘Stay Out Of There’, or ‘This 2 Shall Pass’; a trifecta of tracks that tactfully builds mood through emerging atmospheres, broken beats and buzzing electronic structures. ‘Rise Like A Flower’ marks the LP’s first dancefloor-oriented piece, rising out of the calming soundscapes of ‘Starting A Little Ruffer’, before smoothly segueing into the soulful piano/vocal marriage that is ‘Depends On Me’.

Evoking openness and nostalgia, its colours blur into the springy bass and expressive vocals of ‘Summer Of Love – Duhh!’. A piece where Pico flexes a deeper side of his repertoire, perfectly setting up the chunky house stylings of ‘It’s A Good Time’ and ‘State of the Wave’. 

‘Check This Out’ signals a ruckus incoming, with commanding low frequencies tunnelling beneath a rolling co-ax of rhythm and percussion. Sure to soundtrack many a dancefloor, it’s this rising energy from which the album’s title track ‘Perpetual E-Motion’ is revealed. Its punchy yet emotive nature acts almost like a mission statement for Francesco, as its spectral vocals and rebounding rhythms highlight his background in kinetic dance music, while also sitting in a modern creative space.

Muscular beats, wavy arps and industrial structures rip through ‘The Way We Used To Be’, a tectonic dancefloor romp that is offset by the tranquil reset vibes that emanate throughout ‘Why Dret’. A shimmering interlude of sorts and a more than worthy preamble to the pneumatic beats of ‘Wanna Get High’ and ‘Just A Feeling’, a pair of DJ set staples that hit hard and blow off steam accordingly. 

Keen on keeping things fresh, the album’s final stretch finds Francesco maintaining a confident club energy as ‘The B Bob’ dives further into the whirlpool with swung rhythms and vibrant chord stabs. A supercell storm of chunky bass and riding percussion mounts across ‘Poem’, eventually giving way to the silky vocals, emotive key changes and panoramic arps of ‘A Hat Tip To The Great Alexander’.

Superficially, ‘3l Turbo Bazzine’ acts as a classic chunk of Pico bombast, but it exists in a different sonic world, fuelled by percolating acid lines and retro-vocals, in turn maintaining a sense of urgency and spontaneity that astute dancefloors will appreciate. Reaching an emotional apex of sorts is the collection’s final club selection ‘In And Out’, a feel-good journey where weighted rhythms and scintillating arpeggios are contrasted by collapsing waves of light.

As one might expect from Francesco Pico, the arrangements are masterworks of understated execution with oversized emotional resonance, a feeling that perfectly shifts energy into the release’s final act ‘Walkn Away’. Here the storied Dutch artist continues on a magical route, as enthusiastic echoes and gauzy synths blanket broken beats and warm bass swells, resulting in a treasure trove of emotions that one would expect from the upper echelons of electronic music. A fitting end to a sprawling twenty-three-track odyssey from Francesco, one where euphoria awaits with arms raised and eyes closed.

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