You can see reflections in the music (in the mirror). The ambient layer looks like glass with its sleek, polished appearance and smooth surface. The music slides around as if it were skating on a sheet of breakable ice. A drone with a long tail skirts over the ice, pale blue eyes glinting in the weak sunshine; a cobalt colouring that mirrors the pool of water lying just underneath the ice. Those eyes always shine with purity and innocence; the same goes for the music.
Pristine tones lie like shiny gemstones. Shards of light fall onto the music. The drone is married to the gentle rocking motion of a wave or a crib, and a variety of field recordings pepper the music, adding an amazing amount of depth to this soft, glistening ambient album. “Aer”, the new album by Giulio Aldinucci, is awash with fluttery tones and breezy electronics that bow and sway lightly in the wind; soundscapes infused with light field recordings. It’s a study on how sound wraps itself around its environment and transforms itself into music. Some view music as organized sound, but that doesn’t really apply to experimental music. Some say that every sound — the shrill shriek of a car alarm, the washed out, tamed roar of the passing traffic a couple of miles away — is music itself, and in its purest, unedited form. Noise is a genre, after all. Sound is “the voice of the air”, and it drifts all day long. Aldinucci’s ambient music is light and frothy, always in motion and always with perfect balance. If this is the sound of the air, Aldinucci makes it believable.
Bells, chimes and blurred voices all tease the senses and add colour to the music. Later on, the chirping chorus of the office wildlife and its electronic ecosystem gently takes over the music. At this point, the chaos of the blips and the bleeps still, somehow, come across as ambient, incredibly soft and almost spongy in texture. It’s still relaxing, and a little casual, despite the strict rhythmic assault and the daily stress that so often accompanies the environment.
The drone reappears just after its siesta. Cool air circles around the thin, well-ventilated drone, just as an air-conditioned vehicle will shield its driver from an outside wall of searing heat and furious fire. The temperature stays cool inside, but it adjusts ever so slightly as we drift and ride through to the evening. The buried bass is maternal, providing sustenance and energy to the track. It prefers to lay low, staying close to its home. The bass is a tertiary colour, dulled to a point with its lower vibrations, but it’s always present, and it gives the music a real weight, a slab of cement stuck to an otherwise fluid listen. The drone drives along the road with a little turbulence and a small, subtle variation in the field of vision.
“Aer” enjoys plenty of movement and plenty of motion, which is pretty ironic for a drone… they’re frequently, perhaps falsely, depicted as a static thing. Maybe it’s just an illusion of movement. Pitch shifts don’t just distort the image — they bend and curve the notes gently, shaping them into something new. There’s a real intensity to this ambient music, which holds a distinct yet unknowable purpose despite its minimal mood. At other times, the music turns a little sour. An organ drones and swells. A slightly foreboding mood takes you unwillingly in its skeletal grip, raising the hairs on the back of your neck as you set your feet down on treacherous ground for the first time. A scuttling electronic army passes by, like insects on a misson.
The drones let in the leafy light of Autumn. The dry air fills the lungs and blends against a perfect light. The bass vanishes, and the music is left to hover on the thermals. The drone glides in a natural motion, flying without wings. It was always meant to do this. “Aer” is something special. Frozen air whispers of wintry weather on the horizon, but for now the air is wispy, invisible.
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