Grit is the key element of Dissangue (“to bleed”). Ambient music is in abundance these days, but grit gives this release an edge. The piano is present, and does its best to soothe. But so are dark murmurings of drone and dissonance, feedback and fuzz. While many people prefer their ambient music to be surrounded by smooth edges – to slide from the fingers like jellyfish – I prefer the tube feet of starfish. It’s always a surprise when a starfish sticks to the hand, and the same is true when ambient music sticks in the mind. Does this defeat the purpose? Not unless one’s definition is restricted to the background.
The press release is quick to point out that “everything is Italian” – music, production, and art. But with the exception of the spaghetti guitar on the closing track, Dissangue doesn’t sound like Italy. It sounds more like its title, a threat, a wound. If it never quite approaches the depths of dark ambient (a man bleeding to death in a dark alley), it does conjure images of lesser blood incidences: the trickle of an internal wound, the slow loss of mind and memory. Andrea Gastaldello‘s piano is responsible for the album’s consistent warmth, while Andrea Faccioli‘s textures are responsible for its shiver.
As the tracks are based on improvisations, one can imagine the two Andreas playing off each other. Whenever the mood veers in one direction or another, the opposing player adds balance. Consider for example the electronic steam of “Accumuli”, as insistent as an untended tea kettle. At first, this harsh noise offsets the lovely ivories, but in response, the piano grows louder. In the final seconds, Faccioli backs off, and the do-so-do continues as Gastaldello follows his lead. The two have come to an understanding: push and I’ll push back, relent and I’ll retreat. This all comes to a head on the title track, as a wall of chimes and dissonant guitar rushes in like a tsunami. This turns out to be a fitting metaphor for the album and the genre: in order for ambient music to survive, it may first need to be destroyed. (Richard Allen)