Philly Electronica Artist Paul G. Marchesani Unveils His Grandiose Vision Under Forest Kids Collective

What’s in a name? To Philadelphia electronic/EDM /vaporwave artist Paul G. Marchesani, the answer is apparently “a lot”—which is why he’s had more than 20 of them.

For 10 years, Marchesani has been recording under multiple musical aliases—starting with “Crossing Bridges” and snowballing from there—which he says has been the only way to preserve the distinct character of the more than 1,500 (!) tracks he’s laid down in that time. But every once in a while, he feels the urge to compile standout recordings by his various identities under a common umbrella. Hence “Forest Kids Collective,” whose new album, Galileo Grandiose, collates some of the best of Marchesani’s work into a remarkably smooth and cohesive listen.

A 17-song instrumental suite, the album segues effortlessly from soothing electronic soundscapes to quick stabs of unsettling atmospherics and back again. Spotlight track “Eye in the Sky” is a prime example of the former, laying out a pleasant churn of synths that patter like rain falling on a window while cymbals crash in a way that feels therapeutic rather than intrusive. The acoustic guitar flourishes add just the right melodic emphasis to keep the four-minute fantasia on a path of perpetual motion.

Moments like those repay the debt Marchesani says he’s always felt to “calm and passive music.” Because it’s that style in particular that got him through when his beloved older brother, who had inspired him to take up playing, took his own life. Marchesani’s subsequent depression only subsided when he stumbled across a YouTube animated video with a particularly compelling musical soundtrack. “I still was hurting, but this felt like I was healing,” he remembers.

What proved crucial was that he reserved the right to heal in a number of ways.

“My outlook on life has always been ‘Why do I have to choose?’” Marchesani says. “If given a color choice of something as a kid, I’d want the whole collection, I’d want the whole rainbow of color. So when creating music, it’s the same idea. I can’t stick to a single style or vibe.”

Galileo Grandiose is the clearest proof yet that variety is indeed his friend. The product of five years’ worth of tweaking and tinkering, the wordless album nonetheless flows like a great story, with all the peaks and valleys one would want. And that, Marchesani says, is the true rationale for having one alias that can hold sway over all the others.

“Forest Kids Collective is a full story,” he explains. “Each alias within the collective is a character with a personality and story arc that is reflected within their discographies. When I release a Forest Kids Collective album like Galileo Grandiose, it’s almost like a special event/ movie of all the characters interacting within this fantasy world.”

High-energy peaks and respites of stillness; grooving bangers and experimental mazes to get lost in; it’s all part of the sonic experience that is the Forest Kids Collective. On Galileo Grandiose and “Eye in the Sky” in particular, that experience draws you in like never before. What you call it almost doesn’t matter; what counts is that it calls to you.