About

My name is Alex Franquelli and this is my online portfolio.

I am a freelance journalist and writer, mainly writing about politics and music, and my articles appear on a bunch of magazines and online publications. And when they do, they do so both in English and Italian.

I write for The Quietus, Open Democracy, Ondarock, All About Jazz, Angry Metal Guy, Indie For Bunnies and Il Mucchio.

My portfolio: 1, 2, 3

Necks - The Necks At Cafe Oto, 8 October, 2014

Published by All About Jazz

It is always a good sign when the imposing windows of Cafe Oto are misted up. If one could see through the condensation, if one could, with just one finger, remove the minuscule droplets amassed on the vertical plains, one would almost invariably spot fine music in the making. A woman, glass of red wine in hand, explains to her neighbour that, yes, this is jazz, but no, this is not like any other jazz. And that, after all, one never knows what to expect when this Australian trio decide to break the silence with the first note.

→ Read full story

The Shak & Speares - Dramedy

Published by Ondarock

Con quell’inglese un po’ così, quell’andatura un po’ così che hanno loro che sono nati a Pompei, Dramedy, album sospeso tra un punk rimesso a nuovo e un folk datato ma fresco, non poteva che centrare l’obiettivo. Se avevate apprezzato lo sbilenco debutto di poco meno di un anno fa, e se restate dell’idea che esista una via italiana al folk-punk, benvenuti siano i vostri pregiudizi, perché qualcosa ribolle ancora, a Pompei, dietro il ciottolato, le cartoline e gli scomodi avi immobili al riparo dal moderno. Gli Shak & Speares (nome furbescamente orrendo, lo so) fremono per infilarci di tutto, nei 25 minuti scarsi di Dramedy.

→ Read full story

Aisles - 4.45am

Published by PopMatters

Virtus in medio stat (“Virtue stands in the middle”) is a moral tenet of our times and, like most of the ethical dogmas, it loses most of its emphasis when it becomes a mere adage. Our society has the questionable ability of transforming “median” into “mediocrity”, therefore one would be inclined to think that an album like this 4.45 AM is a bluff. It is intricate but not complex, progressive but focused, old-fashioned and current, bold and yet catchy. Aisles is probably one of the best rock bands hailing from South America at the moment.

→ Read full story

Remote Viewers, The - Pitfall

Published by All About Jazz

I love a bit of Remote Viewers in the evening. If it's not in the scarcely busy second to last northbound Victoria Line carriage, I follow their urban drifts while strolling, hands in my pockets, on a straight line: the shortest trajectory from A to home. The things you see while listening to this London-based septet are the stuff you wouldn't notice otherwise. Pitfall closes a circle, one that started back in 2012 when the marvellous City of Nets came out, followed, one year later, by the cynical, nervous Crimeways.

→ Read full story

Rabbitsss - Penguins

Published by PopMatters

When Australian composer Rae Howell and visual artist Jon Cohrs met at the Banff Centre, in Canada, in 2006, I don’t know what happened and how, but the spark that ignited their collaboration was soon lost in a haze of data, bits and megabytes. The beats that were generated fell into their natural place on the resulting record, as the flow continued across continents and years. Eight, to be precise.

→ Read full story

Francesco Nastro Trio - Colors of Light

Published by All About Jazz

As soon as one lets Francesco Nastro's fingers fondle those keys the way he does on "E all'Improvviso il Sole," the musical geometries that create Colors of Light finally come to life. The music springs from a cocoon-like environment in which pianists the likes of Bill Evans and Brad Mehldau must have forgotten their instruments around, which are by now subject to Nastro's gentle manners. It is jazz alright but, even more importantly, this is a study in melody; an elegant mission to surrender the method to the pureness of the musical gesture. "Clicks of Life," "Shades" and "Thinking Silent" contain the introspective coordinates of the album, with their soothing, thoughtful and fluid swagger.

→ Read full story

Pink Floyd - The Division Bell (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Published by PopMatters

I started writing about music in 2002, when Tarwater came to town. A gig like many others, but the cunning art of self-admiration, combined with the romantic idea of receiving free albums and press passes kept me going for quite a few years. I have had many a chance to review groundbreaking albums like the StrokesRoom on Fire, or the Darkness’ late glam masterpiece Permission to Land, and I honestly felt rather embarrassed for those who had to come up with idiotic Pindaric flights to shamelessly tell us that, yes, rock music was reaching a new high. Luckily for me, I never had to review a new Pink Floyd record and I will probably keep myself at a safe distance next time something comes out.

→ Read full story

smallgang - San

Published by PopMatters

Oh yes, the 1990s. I remember having the following conversation with a friend or two as another person was trying to hang the de rigueur Pulp Fiction poster on a wall right on top of a massive PC monitor:

  • Do you think we’ll ever look back and celebrate this decade in music?
  • No, not really. After all, what has come out that will be worth our time and attention in 10 years’ time?

We were serious. Seriously sober, seriously reflective, seriously convinced that almost nothing would be worth a revival in the incoming years. And who needed a revival in the future? After all, who cared about the 1980s in 1999?

→ Read full story

Fiberglass - Hush

Published by Ondarock

Pare, si dice, che Martin Scorsese una volta abbia affermato che la colonna sonora della sua vita è formata da nient’altro che dalla musica popolare. Vero o meno, l’aspetto interessante della questione è che il percorso dalla musica pop (nella sua accezione più ampia) alle colonne sonore è riuscito in molteplici casi. Hans Zimmer, Jonny Greenwood e Trent Reznor sono esempi che dimostrano la compatibilità (o almeno la versatilità) di due estetiche all’apparenza agli antipodi.

→ Read full story

George Harrison - THE APPLE YEARS 1968-75

Published by PopMatters

The Beatles’ legacy is like that certain 19th century empire “on which the sun never sets, and whose bounds nature has not yet ascertained”. These are invisible, temporal confines, true but, still, there is a subtly disturbing feeling of uneasiness behind this concept. There’s a reassuring, yet creepy awareness that certain ideas can’t be perfected, and yet they remain the paradigm through which art must be—sometimes unwittingly—judged.

→ Read full story