ALESSANDRO CORTINI, otherwise, one would suspect, very much brought to your knowledge as a member of Nine Inch Nails, is to release an album for Mute in June entitled SCURO CHIARO; come gather round and hear the lead track, “Chiaroscuro”, herein.
It’s deep electronica with a thrillingly scouring and distorted scope, laying beautiful waste to all before it; Tim Hecker’s high, distorted melodic noise awe tempered by analogue retrotronica in a Boards of Canada or Ghost Box mould; beautifully relentless, it’s like staring into the heart of an advancing glacier, seeing those cold pastel colours, the ice blues and mints, refracting back; knowing that to be so enveloped is an honour. Nay, an absolute duty.
The album, we’re told, “comes from a place that delights in the affirmation of life’s constant variations, simultaneously presenting both bewilderment and vulnerability with its sombre hues and pulsing, synthetic surfaces.”
And Alessandro perhaps sees its apotheosis in this first single, whence electronica is shattered into a million sherds by the approaching guitar: “It represents the record, where I was and where I am emotionally,” he says.
“It’s to do with the conscious decision about trying to be positive, of striving for happiness while accepting the fact that happiness is not all positive.”
The album title reverses the lead track in titular meaning, as he explains: “Scuro chiaro is the opposite of chiaroscuro [the use of light and shadow to give strong contrast], and in a way it shows that no matter how you order things there’s always going to be two elements that tend to be the opposite of each other that make up the truth – or make up everything.”
SCURO CHIARO is Alessandro’s second for Mute, following 2019’s VOLUME MASSIMO and carrying on the processes he developed on the latter, working through his archive of personal recordings, carefully surveyed to find sounds and elements with which to compose.
“To me things that were created apart in time can fit together in a work of art, and it doesn’t matter when they were created,” he says.
“You drink wine that is ten years old with a meal that is freshly handmade.
“The final product, in my opinion, doesn’t need to be made at the same time.”
You’ll also hear an entirely new instrument-effects unit being employed; it’s called Strega and it was designed by Alessandro in collaboration with electronic instrument manufacturer Make Noise.
“Strega is a successful attempt to condense my sonic aesthetic into a music-making box,” he concludes.
“Throughout the time that I finished the record I was receiving prototypes, and their work was integrated on the record.”
Alessandro Cortini’s SCURO CHIARO will be released by Mute digitally, on CD and on vinyl on June 11th; it’s already available for pre-order.