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Futuropaco — Fortezza di Vetro Volume 1
(El Paraiso EPR074, 2023, CD / LP / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-10-19

Fortezza di Vetro Volume 1 Cover art

We reviewed Futuropaco’s self-titled release in 2022, but that was a reissue of his 2018 debut. Fortezza di Vetro is Futuropaco’s first new recording since then. Futuropaco is the alias of Justin Pinkerton, composer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist, and DJ from Oakland California, who has been busy with numerous recording and performing endeavors over the last two decades or more, including probably a dozen different bands and projects ranging from rock, jazz, folk, roots, funk, psych, and more. With that kind of diverse background one can expect his own music to have elements of all of those embedded in the grooves, and indeed it does, but the most prominent element is that of psychedelic rock informed by all of those other sounds, including some world, krautrock, and Afrobeat as well, a very original and potent concoction that filters its way through these nine cuts on Fortezza di Vetro Vol.1, which translates to “a glass fortress,” a reference to the fragility of the superpower governments of the world, where one small crack in the façade can cause them to come crumbling down. That said, it’s just the musings and concepts of the composer, and doesn’t really bare itself in the light of a set of instrumental music without any lyrics whatsoever. “Muro Vuoto” opens the set, a brisk and brilliant slice of psychedelic rock that lets the listener know in no uncertain terms that this is going to be one wild ride. With no gap, the second song, “Tirannia Velata,” launches with an exceptional drum figure, later bringing in all the other sounds which include guitars, bass, organ and electronic sounds, all played by Pinkerton as he layers all the other instrumentation over the drums. But that’s not necessarily the formula for every piece here, all of which reveal themselves in a variety of ways, often using instruments well beyond the basic four, including synths, saxes, flute, saz, and more, plus a wild array of effects to achieve whatever is necessary, but it’s his work on the drums that makes me believe that his first home is behind the kit. Fortezza di Vetro Vol.1 is an exceptional set that should be of interest to any listener looking for a diverse set of psychedelic music. And hopefully there will be a volume 2 (without the six year wait).

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Futuropaco (Justin Pinkerton)

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