After last year’s release “Orc”, which I praised for its finely balanced treatment of electronic emotion and raw noise, Giona Vinti is back with a longer and more expansive series of deep electronic soundscapes and rough-textured abstract scenes. This time around there’s a little bit more patterning and even some rhythms. There are also a few shades of acoustic instrumentation (including a bansuri flute and a jaw harp-variant dan-moi), but it’s a natural progression that’s predominantly electronic keeps the darkest production qualities at heart.
The expansive ambient texture of opener “Afyonkarahissar” serves as a prelude to the long, relentless drumming of “Divina Ossessione”, which has an Alvin Lucier-esque sense of gradual deterioration, with the tribal-style rhythm initially cutting through cleanly but gradually devolving through feedback, reverb and shifting EQ. Vinti then takes this to the next level by twisting and tuning the feedback even further.
The ‘dub’ in the title of “Il Giardino delle Delizie (in dub)” seems to refer to the delay effect that echoes the sparse drums sounds into the distance while a strangely squeaky, almost duck-call like and possibly improvised melody meanders over the top- very strange out of context, but in the middle of this album, valid to the point of feeling normal. It contrasts nicely against the bleepier, lighter, more fragile-sounding frame of “A Colloquio con il Veglio della Montagna”, a 17-minute excursion that sounds like a kind of broken Tangerine Dream at times, in a good way, and which again deconstructs itself towards noise over time.
This in turn leads into the screamier “La Quiete prima della Catastrofe”, the album’s most awkward moments, with uncomfortable chaos and an almost anachronistic patternless techno sub-kick.
This is a concept album that theoretically tells the fictional story of a European man around 1100AD on a journey to Persia to find Hassan-i Sabbah, leader of the Hashishin (the source of the word “assassin”), but being fully instrumental and electronic, you’d be very hard pushed to make that connection without reading the promo sheet. There’s a certain filmic, spacious road movie vibe that makes sense in association, and some of the acoustic instrumentation could be said to give a slight Persian flavour at a stretch- most notably in final piece “Ritorno ad Afyonkarahissar”- but to be honest I would say don’t worry about the story- there’s more than enough to enjoy in the music abstractly without feeling like it has to be tied to a tale.
It’s also part of a concept series on Elli Records called “In The Room”, a series of releases where the artwork is a one-sixteenth part of larger piece- so theoretically if you bought them all on Bandcamp in the right order, you could see the whole painting on your profile, though it would take dedication to get that to work accurately! It’s a fast-turnaround series, putting out releases almost as soon as they’re ready, which has limited the opportunity to review them, but there is certainly a lot of quality material in the series and it’s worth monitoring further.