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Music Review

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Artist: Alessandro Cortini
Label: Point of Departure
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 06 October 2017

Alessandro Cortini's (NIN, How To Destroy Angels) new album, Avanti, is released via Point Of Departure. There are few more potent examples of the power that music holds over our memories than hearing a song and being instantly transported back to a specific time or place. But what if we could change the soundtrack retrospectively? If the scenes from our life played out on a big screen, how would we choose to score them? It’s an idea that Italian multi-instrumentalist Cortini found himself preoccupied with, and forms the inspiration behind this new release...

Avanti is, technically, an interesting beast. Prior to making the record, Cortini rediscovered an archive of home videos made by his grandfather, who passed away a few years previously. Among the cache were several Super 8 films of family gatherings as well as hours of dinner-time conversations recorded on cassette for posterity. It was as if Cortini had unearthed a perfect fossil of his childhood. The films, however, were missing one crucial element – the sound. So Cortini decided he would restore the missing audio, by composing a musical accompaniment to the footage. As it turned out, Cortini had a few blanks to fill in himself. The films exposed some inconsistencies in his memories, moments that he romanticized or misremembered. But what surprised him the most was that the recordings appeared to be almost as fallible as his recollections – both showed signs of degradation.

It's a personal journey for Cortini, but the experience doesn't translate quite so well for the listener. Maybe, as a multimedia project, with movie and music together, this might have made a bigger impact.

The only track I enjoyed - and I really loved it - was 'Vincere', which has an incredibly slow build to a beautiful crescendo. This track is one I know I'll revisit time and time again, whereas the rest of the album, while interesting, didn't really hook me.

Technically an interesting project, but it's not one that will be embraced by everyone.


Nick Smithson

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