♫♪  Alessandro Cortini - “Scappa”

Animated by fine-grained lead melodies and swathes of pure bass, the Buchla synth performances of producer/composer Alessandro Cortini (he of Nine Inch Nails, SONOIO, and the Trash Audio collective) reach us as a live-in-the-studio arc of twisted knobs, sketching out a path of gradual development for the voices of his finite system. With Important Records’ release of the third and final installment in his Forse series, those of us who have dug into Cortini’s sessions have another 2xLP to blast at full volume, for the benefit (right?) of all our neighbors and loved ones, as if to sonically embody the goo oozing in careful geometry across the album jackets. If the now 40-year-old Buchla Music Easel seems limited compared to the infinite customizability of modern units, Cortini demonstrates that his well-documented shredding on the instrument is more than a case of “making the best of what he has.” With one hand on a timbre slider and another on the touch keyboard controller, he dials in massive tones on a machine that has come to form a new lobe of his (verifiably analog) brain. As his interlaced voltage paths complicate, he can’t afford to waste a gesture or let an oscillator idle. The final streamlined incarnations of Cortini’s synth patches drip into our skulls at a pace so deliberate that each minute development can thrill.

On “Scappa,” our first taste of Forse 3’s seismic synthesis, Cortini exploits radical dynamics to maximum effect, building an expanse of low-end bursts and whistling oscillators into a triumphant fanfare melody fit for some Olympic montage from an alternate 1970s timeline. If tracks like “Canta” from Forse 2 derived narrative motion from Cortini’s ability to push a progression out of its original presentation by staggering sets of chords to recur in increasingly short iterations, “Scappa” pursues the opposite tactic: the fine-tuning of individual tones within a state of relative harmonic stasis. Two-thirds in, he opens the floodgates, and it is worth remembering what they say about maximum volume w/r/t maximum results. Filters loosen their grip and every stacked layer of his creation starts to resonate with new weight. We see the finish line ahead, but we’re not quite ready to cross it. We let Cortini and his machine plod on. We slow down and we file in behind them.

Forse 3 arrives March 31st on Important Records.

• Alessandro Cortini: http://www.sonoio.org
• Important Records: http://www.importantrecords.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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