Sterminato Piano by Fabio Orsi

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Fabio Orsi | Sterminato Piano
Backwards (LP)

Italian imprint Backwards is just releasing the latest from Berlin-based Fabio Orsi in a limited vinyl edition on bright orange wax. This is noteable, not just because of the Miami vibes coming off of the sumptious cover art, but moreso due to the unusual change in overall tonal values for the artist usually cloaked and shrouded in otherwise atmospheric obscured gray layers. Here he showcases an entire 360°.

In just two tracks, each under 20 minutes, the artist I’ve known from previous efforts like Osci (2006, SmallVoices) or Stand Before Me, Oh My Soul (2011, Preservation) is barely recognizable at first. But all in all, even from those two releases his sound matured and diversified. So when he opens with the sprite Sopra La Terra on Sterminato Piano yet an even newer wave of development is coming forth from Orsi. It’s a bit sleeker in production and chordal lift, with an unabashed undercurrent that is as enthusiastic as Mastereaster‘s coverart. For the first several minutes there are minimal changes to the lapping synths and sequencers. Known for his field recordings, none are seemingly embedded in the traditional way here, but perhaps glints may suddenly appear as things play out.

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Perhaps for one shift in his personal paradigm Orsi returned to record this in Puglia, on his native home turf in southern Italy. This may have had an effect on his newly generated style, but so many factors often influence an artists’ motivation, and by eight minutes in this piece starts to modify and bleed from its pattern, becoming almost something that resembles a vocal treatment, yet none is fully detected. Embracing a very synthetic sound is the fish swimming upstream in the mix, and by the end there are vague essences of New Order and a host of their followers circa the mid to late 90s.

That said, this doesn’t quite go for the pop sheen of say The Crystal Method or Propellerheads, rather it’s a much smoother amalgam that will appeal to lovers of ambient and post ravers alike. This falls in an odd space between techno and German prog rock ala the early to mid 70s. Yet, it is complicated to wrap my thoughts around the fact that this is coming from the same artist who produced such wildly experimental sounds on A Silent Place and Korm Plastics. It taps the brain (yet in a dynamic way). It’s just one of Orsi’s many dimensions as you can peruse Bandcamp for some of his other recent efforts.

Amai Il Vento starts off on a much different note, coming out of the bleary darkness with a minor gamelike set of basic, cheery synth tones, with a nominal tribal-adjacent beat. Behind this is a unique pulsing quality, barely audible, tying the ends together. The pace picks up, sinks and circles ’round. Here the offbeat structure is somewhat nebulous. As the track reaches its final few minutes the layers recede like waves at low tide – rewinding into a slow fade.

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