(New Album Review) Giulio Aldinucci- Goccia

Giulio Aldinucci is a sound artist and musician whose work is culled from Italian culture and mystic memory. Goccia, off the always reliable Tokyo/Warsaw/Berlin ambient mainstay Home Normal, is his seventh solo album under his own name (he used to record more IDM-leaning music as Obsil) and it is wonderful! The lovely cover photograph was taken by Peter Nejedly.

You could best describe Giulio’s take on sound art as a gazey mixture of pop-ambient, minimalist modern composition and field recording similar to offerings from Simon Scott and Rafael Anton Irisarri, but at turns clearer and more vibrant than theirs. What often makes Giulio’s art so original and hyper-evocative even in the context of the international sound art community is that his field recordings are based more in recording the hustle and bustle of everyday human life rather than the usual suspects of nature ambience (the ocean, forests…). Buried voices and street scenes make up a bigger part of the world that Aldinucci wants to process and share.  This was especially clear on Giulio’s excellent first 2015 album Spazio Sacro, which was based around field recordings taken in his birthplace of Tuscany. His follow-up The Yellow Horse continued in this field-recording oriented vein, but in a noisier mode that came as a surprise. And for Goccia, he has gone for something a bit more buoyant and less-focused on meshing field recording with music than both those albums: droney, dark electronica that forms a vision gorgeously melancholic and beguiling.

On Goccia, Giulio finds a vibe a bit like Biosphere’s ambient techno. The shadows cast by the music’s heavy, hazy languor are long and pregnant with mystery, though not so long as before, with more rhythmic parts bookended by glitchy, soft-color textural details.  The swells and stuttering stabs that pulse through “The Rule of Forgetting” roll in like clouds heavy with rain and depart slowly. The pastoral landscape is temporarily in the shadow of regretful, blurry reminiscence. And yet, it’s often just so darn pretty that you can’t help but feel it goes down easier than Giulio’s past work.  “Immobile, Blu” could be a dazed respite from the storm clouds from before. The insistently questioning “Los Ojos De” manages to give the feel of Antonioni’s alienated empathy. And though, as on previous collections, Giulio makes use of field recordings that evoke the human mystery within the slow pace of rural life, those elements are incorporated more sparingly here. On “Apart”, the sound of children playing in the street gives a nostalgic backdrop to the melody, while blaring horns bleed into the reverb and delay trails to create a pretty striking effect. For “Rondine”, Aldinucci makes the ritualism and mystery of Catholic ceremony the backdrop of the ecstatic drone, returning thematically to the general area of Spazio Sacro while keeping the vibe of this new album distinct from that one. Goccia is a very unique and rewarding effort from an artist who consistently challenges himself as few others do.

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