Alessandro Adriani | Morphic Dreams
Stroboscopic Artefacts (LP/CD/DL)
Returning to the Stroboscopic Artefacts label with his sophomore LP, Alessandro Adriani offers a thoroughly enjoyable mix of mid-paced techno, EBM and beat-less excursions into ambient territory. It’s an album that is full of analogue warmth and catchy arpeggios, borrowing from dance music’s history but served up in a style that could only be made today. This retro-futurism is evident throughout the collection, setting it apart from other more minimal, streamlined techno. Jacking beats, pulsating arps and an unashamedly melodic take on dance floor music give these tracks a real robustness and weight that works best played loud.
The Tropical Year starts off the album with reversed pad loops, gated into a rhythmic pattern on top of which a hefty kick drum and shimmering hi hats begin their march. Every sound here is big, but there’s enough space between them for the music to breathe, with a sweet little counter melody played out by the toms in the sidelines. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, finding pleasure in looped sequences that are both hypnotic yet not overly complicated. The pace is picked up in the following track. Raindance ups the BPM with an ever so slightly acidic squelch in the arpeggios, adding some extra bite to the patterns. Snares land like thunder claps, almost exploding at times as swirling textures pan from side to side.
Storm Trees reduces the tempo again, little triplets on the hi-hats lending a sexy swing to the beats. Ghostly vocals intone incoherent murmurs in the background, giving this track a weirdly post-punk texture, which works well in this context. The first of two tracks containing a collaborator comes in the form of Dust / Mist (feat. Simon Crab), the tempo being taken down yet another notch to conjure up a blissed-out dub techno number that skanks to a slow beat. If the variation so far on the album has been striking, the mid-point track takes an even sharper diversion, this time into full-on ambience. Gaseous synths and processed field recordings combine on Casting The Runes to create a widescreen vista that serves as a perfect mid-album marker, a palate cleanser to prepare the listener for the next half.
The second half of the LP finds Adriani exploring broken beats and buzzsaw synths on Hors De Combat, again employing scattershot snares to offset the other drum parts. This second side of the album also contains the most anthemic track in Crow, which bristles with energy and I can imagine being a euphoric floor-filler in clubs. The drums follow the same protocol as preceding tracks, big and brash, but this time the sunshine chords of the synth melody takes the front seat, reaching higher and higher, brighter and brighter. The last track is also the longest, with Make Words Split And Crack clocking in at over eleven minutes. It’s a sublime closer, an epic ambient piece that shimmers steadily until the end of this LP.