** Edition of 80 ** For nearly five years, the Italian imprint, Ivreatronic, has been issuing strange, fascinating, and wonderful artefacts by a range of artists who manage to bridge the musical underground and popular culture in inexplicable ways. Their latest batch of LPs - Cosmo’s Fermarsi, Foresta’s Paesaggi, and Enrico Ascoli’s La Manigua, pushes this realm of suprise even further, encountering the label venturing into territories of explicite experimentalism, unveiling new dimentions of possibitly within the ambitious music currently flowering within Italy’s borders. Gathered together and only available within a specially packaged bundle, issued in an edition of 80 copies comprising 4 LPs, entitled Nuova Sauna Possibile, each artist takes a singluar sonic adventure that joins the next to culminate as one of the most exciting and suprising releases of the year.
Cosmo "Fermarsi" (LP)
Cosmo, the working moniker of Marco Jacopo Bianchi, belongs to the fascinating, genre bending world that Ivreatronic has built around themselves. A pop singer by trade, whose last record, La Terza Estate dell'Amore, was issued by Columbia Records, Fermarsi is unlike anything the artist has created before or since. An adventure into experimental and ambient music, it illuminates what a skilled and versatile artist he is.
Fermarsi was conceived as a form of sonic therapy roughly a year before the outset of the global pandemic, and completed during the final days of 2020. In Marco Jacopo Bianchi’s own words, «It is a record that does not want to have edges, does not want to shout, does not want to go anywhere. It just wants to stay still and sway, observing the plants, the sea, the clouds. ..to remember. And maybe sleep.» This internal sensibility, standing in stark contrast to outward realms of popular music within which he usually traces under the same moniker, shimmers in calming beauty across the album’s two sides.
Taking up the entirety of the first side, drawing on a pallet of numerous synths and analog instruments, the 21-minute composition Intorno allo schermo draws into a fluid world that shifts and sways at a glacial pace, delicate harmonics, long tones, and punctuations dancing in washes that subsume the body and ear in pure aural bliss.
From here, the second side’s first two tracks, FDB and Canto di maggio, delve toward more explicitly tense and experimental territories, with dissonances, textures, and broken rhythms generated by acoustic instruments taking a more forward position, percolating alongside naturally occurring room sounds and actions, that occupy an entirely different spectrum of meditation before returning to an immersive blissed out harmonically drenched world with the album’s title track, recalling the heights the historic new age movement and early efforts in the ambient genre, concluding a career altering effort from Cosmo that sets our perceptions of his practice on its head.
Foresta "Paesaggi" (2LP)
The second release in Ivreatronic’s Nuova Sauna Possibile is Foresta’s Paesaggi, stretching across the entirety of two LPs. Foresta is the moniker of Marco Foresta, who generally works under the name of Fabio Fabio, a more pop / dance focused project that rests within the label’s family of previous releases.
Paesaggi ventures far afield from Foresta’s better known work, falling headlong into explicitly experimental realms with a strikingly deft hand. Begun in March 2020 as a series of experiments during the preparation of the episodes on Radio Unforgettable, the project rapidly evolved into a free-standing effort of musique concrète, deploying a vast range of sonic materiality, auditory textures, and tonal interventions that rise collectively as a dystopian image of the future, with Foresta, joined by Ugo Sanchez, as a protagonist within an absurdist adventures, exploring the boundless possibilities of sound.
Marked by bristling and tense expanses of abstraction, punctuated by meditative passages of drifting melodies and driving rhythms that reframe the perception of the album’s musicality, and sound collage at large, within visionary terms of positivity. Conceived partially as “a sort of social orgy of desire”, tinged with elements of sci-fi, Paesaggi takes up where similar forward-thinking efforts like Roberto Musci’s The Loa of Music and Barney Willen’s Moshi left off. A truly thrilling sonic adventure that defies expectation and stands among the most fascinating and engaging creative efforts we’ve heard all year. We truly hope that Marco Foresta continues down this path.
Enrico Ascoli "La Manigua" LP
The final LP in Ivreatronic’s Nuova Sauna Possibile is Enrico Ascoli’s La Manigua, a fascinating creative construction drawing a vast number of field recordings captured in various locations over a number of years, placed in connection with more active instrumental sounds.
Based in Paris but actively part of the scene that has grown up around Ivreatronic, Enrico Ascoli has traveled extensively to various geographies and remote areas, recording and creating sound for documentaries and podcasts. La Manigua, his latest LP, grew from readdressing the material gathered during these adventures and the impulse to rework it into a series of “sound dioramas” that would present a more accurate and developed memory of those experiences... “with listening hyper amplified by microphones, the protean voice of nature mixed itself in a hallucinogenic way with the restlessness of loneliness and the wonder of discovery, giving life to magical and disconcerting inner universes.”
Divided into four compositions, utilising recordings from the Serra de la Bocaina in Brazil, the Sotani of the Huasteca jungle in Mexico and the Selva Lacandona on the border with Guatemala, interspersed with the sounds of wind instruments discovered on Ascoli’s travels - such as the fujara and the Karen horn from Myanmar - and percussion - each work is driven by bubbling textures taken from the natural world, filtered and processed in varying degrees by electronic intervention, sculpting a potent and immersive sense of imagism across the album’s length that shifts between atmospheric and the abstract, peppered with airy harmonics and overtones that dive deep into the soul.
A truly captivating LP that beautifully rounds the vast spectrum of creative adventures covered across the totality of Nuova Sauna Possibile, Enrico Ascoli proves to be an artist of rare vision and skill.
A stunning three albums set that doubles as an alternate reality and the crucial importance of open experimentation in sound, this is unquestionably one of the most engaging, surprising, and fascinating release of the year. Grab it fast. The edition is limited to 80 and is going to fly.