Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on ‘An Electronic Hero,’ the moniker of rising independent musician, Federico Foria. Foria’s sophomore studio endeavor under the alias has recently dropped, entitled ‘Isoipstar.’ The album’s title is derived from Greek roots, essentially making ‘isoipstar’ mean ‘the elevation reached by the spirit over aspirations and earthly fears. What exactly is this three track EP, then?
It’s a concept album about a spaceship whose crew is stranded on their vessel with nothing to do except move further away from home. This imagery is manifested musically through an array of genre inspirations. Though primarily electronic, tinges of soul and ambiance are most surely present. It’s refreshing to get a concept album that’s based in science fiction, especially an electronic one. Foria’s synthesizers and eclectic beats lend themselves well to the imagery. (Geek side note: the ‘plot’ of ‘Isoipstar’ is very similar to that of ‘Stargate Universe. They’re stuck on a ship that keeps moving farther away without control from the crew.)
‘Earth 1989’ introduces the album with fiery optimism. The ship is taking off from Earth, and there’s nothing but exploration and advancement ahead of them. It sets an intriguing stage that ultimately builds the crew up toward their inevitable failures. Foria is backed by an outfit of talented artists on these tracks, but to various degrees of success. I found the vocal sections of ‘Earth 1989’ feeling more than a bit awkward; they don’t fit alongside the poignant instrumentation very well. It may have fared better as an instrumental.
‘Fireworks,’ the following track, handles the vocals far better. They don’t feel oddly forced into the instrumentation: their soulful, dramatic nature mixes elegantly into the final product. In fact, I’d argue ‘Fireworks’ is the most stunning and compelling track of the three. That said, the finale, ‘After Universe,’ is an intensely good romp through superb composition and grovely, dark spoken poetry. (At times it feels Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits influenced.)
‘Isoipstar’ is a fantastic record. The first track’s vocals are a bit misguided, but the vast majority of its execution is absolutely fantastic. Spin it below and connect with AEH.