Fabio Orsi: Sterminato Piano (LP, Backwards, June 2019)

For a while now there’s been a slow but steady resurgence of form of music that, for want of a better term, I’m going to call kosmische. You know the kind of thing: analogue synths, or good emulations if not, sequenced into big fat motorik swirls of sound. At it’s best, it can be rather lovely: warm, immersive, and satisfying (check out the 2017 release Synthwaves by Tangerine Dream’s Quaeschning & Schnauss, say). At it’s worst, it can be derivative and dull, lazily using the instant nostalgic appeal of the sound palette to mask the fact that it really has nothing very interesting to say.

You can see where this is going, I’m sure: this record really is a supreme example of the breed. There are two tracks, clocking in at just under 15 and 19 minutes respectively, with Orsi on synths, sequencer, and field recordings. And both are fantastic from start to finish. Just check out the opening bars of the A-side, Amai Il Vento, for heaven’s sake: a simple sequence of a handful of notes repeats, but the dynamics are to die for, a sinuous spiral of filter-driven goodness winding infectiously through the melody that lifts it from the pretty to the magnificent. And then that building, building intensity, without ever losing that deftness. This is maximalist music made with a minimalist’s attention to detail. I’m no musicologist and I’m no poet and I’m not really doing justice to this so go stick some headphones on and just click that play button. You can thank me later.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Modern Classical / Ambient.

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