Recommended Tracks: Starcloud, Luci, Parola
RiYL: Julianna Barwick, White Noise, Seefeel, Voices from the Lake
Sintetizzatrice sees Italian techno don Donato Dozzy return to Spectrum Spools for another ambient excursion, his second album for the label. However, instead of doing a straightforward techno album, he’s collaborating with vocalist Anna Caragnano, who was introduced to him through his mentor Paolo Micioni. In the short span of the album, Dozzy uses his sound design chops to mold Anna’s voice into a form as wholly immersive as his techno work, ditching his detailed ambient sound palette for one made solely of singing. The result is less vocal and more choral, exploring a more textural side to the human voice.
The album begins with the track “Introduzione”, which sounds like several whispered conversations strung together, and the track comes out of the gate showing off the unique ways in which Dozzy shapes the voice of Caragnano. While not much of a full-fledged song, it is interesting none the less in the textures it explores. The album goes into more melodic territory with the track “Starcloud” where a loop based sample of Anna saying the world “cloud” anchors the track and gives it drive. In spite of its short length, Sintetizzatrice covers a lot of ground. While most of its 9 tracks are barely 3 minutes long, each track is fully developed and unique. Even the cover of seminal electronic act White Noise’s “Love Without Sound” from their 1969 album “An Electric Storm”, gives the track a fresh and minimal make over, morphing the heavy radiophonic racket of the original into something more gentle and weightless, pushed forward by vocal loops and buoyed by choral drones.
While the album mostly has a sound more indebted to choral music, drone, and ambient, Dozzy works in some techno flair with the track “Parola” where small nonverbal utterances and quickly spoken Italian give the track an almost techno like pulse. The rhythm is totally morphed on the next track “Festa (A Motolla)”, which is based around traditional Italian music. The album closes with “Conclusione” which sounds quite a bit like material from Dozzy’s “Voices From The Lake” project with its oscillating aquatic texture, and it ends the album on a nice note that harkens back to Dozzy’s roots.
What’s truly amazing about this project is that Caragnano’s voice not only anchors these tracks, but literally creates them. No other instruments were used but Anna’s voice, and it’s one of the rare albums that takes such a involved concept and works with it in a realistic context. Many albums get caught up in conceptualization and forget to make songs, but Dozzy and Caragnano avoid this trap almost wholly. Overall, the result are varied and very immersive for something that clocks in at less than half an hour long. In spite of this short length it is able to cover a wide range of territory and sounds, from Italian folk mixed with krautrock to R&B smashed together with church choirs, proving not only the vocal skills of his collaborator but also standing as a testament to the varied abilities of Donato Dozzy.
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