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Sleepdriver: Frozen Fireworks in A Star Lit Sky

Mario Mastroianni, also known as Sleepdriver, took almost six years to finish his debut, Frozen Fireworks in A Star-Lit Sky. Comprised of over forty songs, it boils down to MIDI sounding home studio instrumentals with vocals attached (which is not the same as "songwriting," mind you). Unfortunately, it wears out its welcome before the first track completes; you'll likely feel embarrassed for Mastroianni as you listen.

Born in Rome, Italy, Mastroianni is a twenty-seven year old "musician" and "singer" whose influences include David Bowie, David Sylvian, Duran Duran, and The Associates. He classifies his music as new wave/progressive, and I suppose a comparison could be made to the layering production techniques of Mike Oldfield and Brian Eno. However, the similarities lie in the basic approach, not at all in the quality or variety. Taking Mastroianni's humility and good intentions into consideration, the following must be said: this is an awful, repetitious work full of problems.

The music on here is offensively redundant and inhuman. It sounds as if Mastroianni simply programmed drum beats, synthesizers, keyboards and guitar to meld together without any idea of how musical construction works. It's like more complex video game music made for the 8-bit NES. True, there are many instruments replicated, and there are some interesting moments, but everything sounds so robotic and cold—there's no human element at work. If you accompanied a player piano with frantic solos, irregularly rhythmic drums, and various other odd sounds, well, it'd probably sound better than this. Regrettably, as unworthy as the music is, it's the better half of the equation.

Mastroianni attempts to sing on many of the tracks. But he can't. At all. Not only are his melodies unbearably basic and useless, but they don't even match the music; if he does follow time signatures and measures instrumentally, his vocals ignore them. He sings sporadically and freely like an intoxicated armature. Honestly, with his low register, odd accent, and range of about half a step, he sounds closest to present day Cher. Overall, it's simply awkward.

Frozen Fireworks in A Star-Lit Sky is almost three hours long, but you only need to hear it for three minutes to be turned off. There is no reason for an album with this many tracks to be so unvaried. Mastroianni may be a talented musician in terms of individual playing, but he's an awful composer and arranger. He may fit in well as a member of a band, playing one or two instruments; however, left to his own devices, he can only create a schizophrenic mess. And above all else, Mastroianni must never sing again. Ever.

Track Listing
1. Melancholicks
2. The Cyborg
3. An Open Letter
4. Top of the Wall
5. Necromance
6. Wild is The Wind
7. Nothing To Believe In
8. Tear My World Apart
9. Owl Creek's Bridge
10. Neon Snowflakes
11. Right To Hell
12. Just Illusion
13. The World Is On Fire
14. Formerly Knows As The King
15. Sinful Like Angels
16. Neverending Days
17. Eaten Alive By Vegans
18. Room 22
19. Lost
20. Spread The Word
21. Hold On
22. Run Away
23. Such A Crime
24. I'll Take You From Behind
25. Drifting And Fading
26. Quantum Loop

1. Strange Intoxication
2. Vivian
3. In The Wake Of Dreams
4. Requiem For A Rainbow
5. Committing Suicide
6. Hidden Behind A Cloud
7. Jazz
8. For Every Woman
9. Hollow Cityside
10. Falling In Love
11. Overload
12. Last Night At Chrysalis Hotel
13. Crystal Dawn
14. Out Of Control
15. The Anger We Breathe (No Exception)
16. Twilight Boulevard
17. Bittersuite
18. Sweet Suite

Added: March 25th 2011
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Artist MySpace Page
Hits: 1915
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Sleepdriver: Frozen Fireworks in A Star Lit Sky
Posted by Mario Mastroianni on 2011-03-28 20:02:25
My Score:

Anyway, I was wondering...what are the interesting moments that you appreciated within my songs?

Sleepdriver: Frozen Fireworks in A Star Lit Sky
Posted by Mario Mastroianni on 2011-03-28 19:59:43
My Score:

Hi there, I just read the review of my album...what can I say? At least you listened to it, I suppose that's enough...I should have specified that I never took music nor singing lessons and that I only play (with my own means) the keyboard since the end of '99 approaching music with a totally punk attitude, if you get what I mean.
I know I have a non-brilliant vocal timber and that I cannot reach certain high tones, but this does not mean that I should not keep on composing and singing my songs, as you hurry up wishing to me not even knowing what's behind the work of composition. I don't even know how to "program" a track, I just compose the musical parts on a six-track keyboard (which I play, improvising most of the time) and then manually quantize the imported midi with Cubase. I recognize that the VST sounds might result "cheap", especially to the music pros, but not everyone can afford a pro recording studio. This said, I totally disagree about the album being "unvaried" and my melodies being "basic", since hyper-elaboration is my main attempt, but I already know that this won't change your mind, so thank you anyway for your listening!

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