Nicola Ratti’s work has always been equally intriguing and stimulating, but to me, he really came into his own with Streengs (Senufo, 2012) and through his work with Giuseppe Ielasi as Bellows. After Ossario I and II (Holiday Records, 2014), comes Pressure Loss a new full length vinyl out on Where To Now?. This was preceded by the tape Wounded Boys, released by the same label only last October.
Playing out like the aftermath of a rave party in a cavernous abandoned warehouse, where the last revellers had forgotten to turn off a few switches and unplug the modular synth, Wounded Boys resonated with dub overtones and plenty of fuzzy loops, while picking up random pops and techno beats gone astray like static on a nylon tracksuit.
Pressure Loss feels more rigorous, but shares a similar sense of fun and a propensity for taking unexpected turns. Evidence of the calculated chance element at play, filters through the disjointed pulses that often take diverging paths and never quite feel aligned.
By reducing the variables at play, Ratti opens up enough space for different scenarios to unfold.
This is how Ratti describes the concept behind the album, “Pressure Loss was recorded at Worm’s studio in Rotterdam during October 2014, where the creative and compositional process took place via a very limited palette of sounds and elements. The aim was to achieve a complex rhythmic ensemble whilst limiting myself to 8 low frequency oscillators through 8 modular filters patched together with few variations.”
As he further explained to me, concept and execution took place in the studio with the choice of materials (gear) and their settings (sounds and interactions) making up 90% of the finished album. In other words, having set those parameters and variations, Ratti recorded the sounds, and once back in his hometown of Milan, he only had to do some minimal editing, in terms of selecting the most appropriate segments. To finish things off he then added some reverb and echo while doing some overall equalizing.
With Pressure Loss, Nicola Ratti has mastered his own personal musical language without feeling a need to increase his vocabulary by introducing foreign elements, and while he still likes to experiment and take risks, his command of the sonic syntax is such that only the essential ingredients are needed to guarantee a thoroughly enjoyable listen. No ornaments. No added flavourings or sweeteners. This is the real deal.
Pressure Loss is available on vinyl on Where To Now?
Nicola Ratti will be playing live at Cafe OTO, London, on Wednesday 16th March 2016.