Franco Esse is the moniker of Francesco Semproni, who in the late 60s began working as a music and recording assistant in major recording studios in Rome, Italy. He started out at Dirmaphone (then located in Via Pola) under sound engineer Gianni Fornari, before following him to the Emmequattro studios in Viale Mazzini, which at the time were the headquarters of Edipan, the record label founded by composer and conductor Bruno Nicolai after parting ways with friend and fellow composer Ennio Morricone.
Semproni tried to become a singer-songwriter in the early 80s, when he recorded a number of demos with the session musicians who gravitated around the studios. None of these demos was ever released though, for reasons that are still unclear today – his thorny and stubborn personality may have been a factor, since it apparently made him reluctant to compromise with the major record labels of the time. The unsuccessful efforts to launch his solo artist career led to a personal crisis, and Franco Esse eventually quit music to go to work as a sales assistant in a toyshop in Rome's Prati neighbourhood.
Today he seems to have vanished without a trace, but after extensive research, we managed to dig some of his demos out of an abandoned archive and miraculously bring back to life two semi-instrumental tracks he recorded in 1983. Both of them reveal Franco Esse as a refined musician with a reserved personality, an almost minimalist approach to lyric-writing, and a strongly cinematic synth-pop style that is in line with the musical trends of the time and gives a nod to the soundtracks of Fabio Liberatori, falling somewhere in between slow-wave and new-romantic. These two ballads would have been the perfect soundtrack to cold winter nights in the early 80s, with snowflakes floating down on ski slopes, people clad in puffy down jackets, and music pouring into headphones from walkmans kept in back jean pockets.