Two waves of coronavirus since working with Daniel Avery, Nine inch nails Accomplice Alessandro Cortini is back with an album of lo-fi synth games, slow crescendos and atmospheric soundscapes.
Scuro Chiaro begins with Ecco, which contains one of the most fundamental elements of electronic music: a lonely drum machine kick, adorned with analog hissing. As the track progresses, more and more drones and hums are added to the mix until that bass pulse is almost overwhelmed before it is reduced to an arrhythmic click echo.
Such incremental song structures are commonplace here and give the album a pleasant narrative sense, especially with the longer songs. The nightmarish Semper is a great example who focuses on whining tones and a relentless mid-tempo beat. Such a simple arrangement could easily become a lament in the wrong hands, but all the layers gradually mutate until the sound is amazingly monstrous, acid-soaking highs and an intimidating wall of bass.
Meanwhile, Nessuno accumulates an initially reserved ostinato with distortions and whips it into a frenzy, while metallic effects fade in and out like the chatty atmosphere of Aphex twinYes.
Most of the melodies are deliberately sober in terms of composition, but there are innovations to be heard, for example on Lo Specchio. The synth motif uses the same intervals in a descending order of minor chords, creating an intriguing dissonance with the nervous synth lead and an ominous nature that betrays Cortini’s soundtrack experience. The tracks Corri and Fiamma also show a sense of rhythm, the first a jumpy 59-sixth loop that gains its definition by pressing and releasing keys, the latter dominated by a tremolo-induced hemiola.
Scuro Chiaro can best be called the sonic trickery of. to be discribed Fennesz collides with music, which is often more minimalistic in the classical sense. The novelty of this approach fascinates the ear and results in a fascinating album.