On his latest long-player, Panorama, L.A. native, Frank Maston, pays homage to his European roots, and the Italian Library Music maestros who`ve influenced him. The album being commissioned by the legendary KPM, must have been a dream come true, encouraging the multi-instrumentalist to pull out all the stops. It certainly sounds like it. Frank’s productions here are totally authentic, indiscernible – in terms of arrangement, composition, and execution – from those – now highly collectable – works of the `70s that he’s drawn inspiration from.
Created during lockdown, and using picture postcards as his visual cues, Mr. Maston’s manufactured 12, 2 to 3-minute, mini, movie scores. Light-hearted, blue, summer, skied, soundtracks that summon scenes of Parisian lovers, skipping hand-in-hand by The Seine, and hip, shade-wearing Romans living La Dolce Vita. Acoustic guitars are strummed. Plucked in pretty patterns. Electric wah-wah pedals, well and truly plugged in. Funky beats back funky flutes, and fantastic Fender Rhodes flourishes. Swinging `60s vocal harmonies – a la Enzo Minuti`s Opening* – mix with vibes, harpsichord, and celeste. Muted brass fanfares are teased from a trio of French and flugelhorn-blowing friends.
Storm has the feel of proggier, jazzier, fusion. The whistled refrain of You Shouldn’t Have brings to mind Ennio Morricone`s Giu’ La Testa.
Generally these are gentle grooves, but the cool, clustered chords of Medusa, do pick up the pace. While not quite urgent, it`s certainly travelling at speed. Not a balls-out bank heist chase, but Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw, in a swanky sports car – top down – on a weekend getaway.
Maston`s Panorama is out now, care of KPM and Be With Records.
*Enzo Minuti’s music, coincidently, has just be compiled, for the first time, by the fine folks at Rome’s Four Flies.