Leandro Fresco is a familiar name on the Argentine musical scene, partly because of his partnership with Gustavo Cerati on most of the late rock legend’s more recent projects, like his live band, the Soda Estéreo reunion tour, and laptop trio Roken, along with Flavio Etcheto. Fresco’s been making music under his own name for almost two decades, and now he’s returned with El Reino Invisible, for which he joined forces again with the renowned German imprint Kompakt.
Single “La Edad de Oro” is an accurate snapshot of the album; an epic instrumental journey bringing emotions to the surface with the use of melody, ditching beats and vocals this time around. Its music video is stunningly simple, and features a 3D render of an asteroid-like formation covered with a complex angular texture. The camera movements are slow, tracking a blue star rising behind the formation as the track evolves, making it an infallible recipe for a heart-warming moment.
We chatted with Leandro Fresco about the video, his return to ambient, and details of this new great release.
Since 2012, you’ve transitioned from straight-up pop to singles that signaled a comeback to the abstract. What moved you to return to a more ambient sound? Do you consider this music-making approach more gratifying than making songs in the conventional way?
This album was a return to the world of electronic music, ground I feel comfortable on and where I can show an emotional, almost cinematic side of my music. The album that precedes this record was influenced by my work in Gustavo Cerati’s band, by the tours we went on. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of writing songs– the lyrics and music. Following that experience, I started writing tracks that I knew would be instrumentals from the beginning. Beatless… it’s something that comes naturally to me.
El Reino Invisible is the first full-length album released by Kompakt on their now-popular Pop Ambient series. Are there pop elements in the record’s timber and textural experimentation?
Yes, all of the tracks are artificial, but they keep a melodic feature that connects them to pop music. They are built from synth layers and there are also timbers like the guitar’s. There are also a lot of ambient sound processes made on the computer. The album tracks are melancholy and romantic. That’s why I associate them with tango, which is the music from Río de La Plata, from Buenos Aires. The fact that I live here has an influence on my sound.
This record is loaded with feelings. “Sol de Medianoche,” has an especially emotive moment, with guitar lines recorded by your long-time musical partner Gustavo Cerati. What made you decide to rescue that recording and include it on the album?
This album closes a chapter. Now, [Cerati] will be present in a different way. I included that track because I like how it sounds: it’s deep and hopeful. The album is dedicated to his memory. Aside from being just music, an album is woven through with personal events and feelings the artist goes through, which everyone else doesn’t know [about] and doesn’t find important, but are still there. Sometimes, the musician is a medium. On a different level, there’s something that goes beyond the record, which doesn’t have anything to do with the music.
The music video for “La Edad de Oro” is a beautiful piece of 3D animation that is both hopeful and contemplative. Who directed it? Is there a direct relationship between its concept and the song?
The video was directed by Argentine artist Gabriel Rud, whom I met through Daniel Melero. Gabriel is a 3D animation genius, among other things. The video sort of sums up the complete idea of the “invisible kingdom.” It shows a landscape that has something both familiar and new. When I look at it, I project myself into a cyan and orange place that doesn’t exist and to which we seem to be heading. Plus, all of the tracks’ titles are related, and few times are by coincidence.