Costanza – Sonic Diary

Band: Costanza
Album: Sonic Diary
Genre: Electronica/pop
Label: Zerokilled Music

1. Just Another Alien
2. I’ve Been Waiting For You
3. I Am Ready
4. Babilon Dream
5. God’s Gonna Cut You Down
6. 50 Bullets Fired in Queens
7. Burqa
8. In The Sun
9. Where Have You Been
10. I Tuoi Occhi Sono Pieni Di Sale
11. Back Into My Mother’s Womb
12. Promises
13. Medicine
14. Silence
15. Coming Home

I’ve always been profoundly curious about how the electronica genre works. There really is no radio play or any sort of advertisement for it, but it still thrives with a massive fan base. I guess I never considered people you hear spinning music at clubs and such as artists, but then again, Fatboy Slim, Tiesto, and others have been bringing this oft-overlooked genre to the forefront. A new contender for the spotlight would have to be Costanza Francavilla from Italy who goes simply by Costanza and recently released, Sonic Diary. The album is a collection of tracks that are each dedicated to a different subject or person. There are no top 40 samples here, but original beats and lyrics [with the exception of a Johnny Cash cover] and though it isn’t the greatest album we’ve ever heard, it shows some serious potential you may want to take notice of.

Diary starts with very light synth tones on, “Just Another Alien,” and pulls you into the world of Costanza with a sense of wonder about what could be ahead. The track itself however, is mainly the same 10 second loop for almost 5 minutes while Costanza reads an immigration questionnaire that, while an interesting concept, falls flat in terms of grabbing you and making you want to listen to more of the album. The follow up track, “I’ve Been Waiting For You,” plays like a more upbeat Enya track with Costanza’s light voice moving through the beat like a ghost with a broken heart. Musically, it’s a very well flowing beat that doesn’t try to take the forefront of the song, but rather stays pulsing just below Costanza to help you relax and ease into the sound. This feel is then continued on, “I am Ready,” in which Costanza gets a bit more expressive with he music, but it seems to come at a cost vocally as a lot of the song sounds like one big chunk of repetition. I understand that repetition is common in electronica, but with the depth the album seems to desire to have, the things that work for club anthems only hinders tracks here.

The album has a real highlight with Costanza’s cover of, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” which was of course made famous by Johnny Cash. The track has the recognizable heavy back beat, but with a whole slew of digital tones and well placed synth have made it all Costanza. This moment of musical grace is then followed by, “50 Bullets Fire in Queens,” which is about a boy who was killed in New York by the political in 2006. The track sounds good, but overly heavy echo on the vocals takes away from any kind of political point that may have been attempted. “In The Sun,” however, has jsut the right echo effect and gorgeous music for accompaniment. This is the best track on the album without question to me. It’s upbeat, but still has a very light feel to it and fits into the groove of the disc. Unfortunately, the following tracks don’t do much and event he use of a foreign language [to us, that is] doesn’t keep Costanza from falling into elevator music territory.

Hope returns for the album on, “Back Into My Mother’s Womb,” which pulses with deep bass and penetrating vocals. It’s a love song for her mother and though she does disappear amongst the synth at times, you feel the emotion in her voice and tones she’s chosen to make the beat. After this track, the followers, “Promises,” and, “Medicine,” are solid, but nothing really flares out as special. This happens on a lot of albums though, so it’s not really Costanza’s fault as the songs are good, they’re just not in possession of the “it” factor. The album does go on to close on a high note with, “Silence,”and it’s moody beats and accompanying vocals. It’s not an epic climax, but rather a song that’s true to the rest of the album and doesn’t try to step outside the bounds already set, but simply makes the best of the area of music available. There is a bonus track that is all instrumental, which is quite nice, but I don’t think hidden/bonus tracks are really space for fair judgement. It is different though and not to be missed.

Overall, Costanza has quite a ways to go. The mood on her debut album ,Sonic Diary, is a very calm one and that can lead listeners to lose interest unless you give them a reason to stay tuned in. Unfortunately, many of the tracks fall short of that ideal sound to grab a large body of listeners, especially simultaneously. On a rainy day this could be the music you read to while watching water tap your window panes, but I really so no purpose for the album outside of this occurrence. However, the tracks that are gripping, are great which means Costanza simply needs to work a bit harder next time around and I’m sure she will deliver an album that will put this one to shame.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 4.5/10

James Shotwell
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