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Posted on July 30th, 2015 (10:00 am) by Nick Manai

For an artist who has been a part of Nine Inch Nails since the late 2000s and is always popping up to talk, promote and just generally associate himself with the world of electronic music, Risveglio is a surprisingly insular work. Of course, it is also a lot like Cortini’s other solo efforts, solidifying a difference between the expectations listeners might garner through name association and the actual content. Risveglio is nothing if not contained within its own package of vibrations, making it potentially appealing to listeners on two widely different levels; either it’s just background noise, albeit technically proficient background noise, or it is an ever evolving web of snares that continues revealing more to you as you concentrate increasingly more on each note.

Another juxtaposition, which is a really key term in describing good ambient music, is the interplay between organic life and repetition on this record. Cortini’s songs are all marked by a perpetuating repetitiveness, but they never feel stuck on repeat or a digital loop. There are plenty of melodies within, a sign Cortini knows what the ear likes and isn’t trying to fight with it. But the more you listen, the more you might think he is fighting with someone or something by extending these anti-climactic instrumentals six or even seven minutes. It could simply be your patience in our update-centric techno utopia, but it could also be something deeper: resistance.

Much like those three rectangles in many of Mark Rothko’s paintings, the initial response to more than three minutes of the synth shudder’s that open “La Via” or “La Sveglia” will probably elucidate a guarded response from most listeners. "How hard could that be to make?"; "I don’t get modern art, it’s just shapes and colors my ten-year old could come up with"; "Although we definitely just produce the distilled transience of these melodies, it’s easy to fight with them. Why don’t they try harder to wow me?" But if you stare through them for long enough and - this is the hard part - let them speak to you as worthy adversaries, they begin to speak to you just like those rectangles. Love, depression, regeneration, decay; it can all be inside, if you want it to be.

Still, large parts of Risveglio are also immediately identifiable, which is a real testament to the power of music more than the power of Cortini. Opening track “Stambecco” is really gorgeous in the same way a thunder cloud before the rain can be gorgeous. There is so much hidden, but the main strokes are also so evocative that the listener, and viewer, easily fills in the missing pieces of information to make a personal touchstone of portending doom. But the thundercloud also brings water, and without getting too far out there, the short uptick of rhythm around the one minute mark on “Stambecco” feels fresh and invigorating.

Track List:

  1. Stambecco
  2. La Sveglia
  3. Rispetto
  4. Dormiveglia
  5. Lotta
  6. La Meta
  7. La Via
  8. La Guardia
  9. Posso
  10. Ricadere
  11. La Sveglia (drum version)
Alessandro Cortini: Risveglio
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

75 / 100
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