Music Reviews

Artist: Obsil (@)
Title: Vicino
Format: CD
Label: Psychonavigation (@)
Distributor: Psychonavigation
Rated: *****
'Vicino' is Italian electronic music composer Giulio Aldinucci's third album under the name Obsil, and from the one-sheet that accompanied the CD, in a similar vein to his previous works. It has been compared to the work of Japan's Susumu Yokota and Austrian guitarist/composer Fennesz, but as I am unfamiliar with them I can only give you my impressions. 'Vicino' is a brief album with nine tracks clocking in at only 36 ½ minutes but it quite an interesting excursion. Beginning with what sounds like a collage from the toy chest from a variety of vintage windup toys, xylophones and thumb-piano kind of things, sweet string lines and maybe a muted oboe wave throughout giving an impression of childhood nostalgia and wonder. This carries over to the next track ('A Smile in Summer') where the sound of a cuckoo-clock appears at one point. Classical orchestral instruments (but as far from traditional classical music as you could imagine) are integrated providing a wistful feel. Obsil's use of repetition is more along the lines of gamelan, quite playful.

Things turn a bit darker on the fourth track, 'Lenti Silenzi,' where what sounds like filtered sustained mellotron chordal drones comprise most of the piece. It does lighten up and climb into sunny territory as it progresses, like the parting of clouds. Field recordings and found sounds also play a part on 'Vicino'; well meshed with the music and never obtrusive but a natural part of it. This is an element that makes the album highly intriguing. Sonically, there are a lot of different things happening throughout but it never devolves into chaos or loses its focus. It is also quite mellow without being placid, and on some level, psychedelic too. I've played this at the bookstore that I manage and have had customers asking me about it. (That's always a good sign.)

To me, it is rare that you hear an album that is as experimental as this yet unequivocally enjoyable and evocative. 'Vicino' is a brilliant departure from what may comprise most of your music library but well worth seeking out. Eclectic to the max, and fascinating to the ears.

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