Ambient in nature, yet stemming from an electronic background, Sintetizzatrice is a departure for Donato Dozzy and a wonderful debut for Anna Caragnano. The album’s title is the Italian feminine for “synthesizer”, but in this case it’s more of a synthesis. Donato Dozzy layers and loops Cagagnano’s voice into lovely shapes and sizes. These from time to time resemble the work of a synthesizer, but also flute, violin, even drums. Add the fact that the vocalist engages in whistles and onomatopoeia, and the results are remarkable.
Lisa Gerard comes to mind; Caragnano has that multi-octave range, most apparent on “Parallelo” but present throughout. Katie Gately and Holly Herndon are other recent contemporaries. With the recent resurgence of interest in a cappella renditions (for example, “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off”), it’s amazing to hear all of the parts performed by a single voice. But of course it’s not a single voice; the unheard voice is that of Donato, who pays homage to his electronic roots on the diptych of “Parola” and “Festa (A Mottola)”, which is simultaneously a tribute to the town in which his mother – and surprisingly, Caragnano – were raised. One can imagine the villagers rushing outside for the annual summer festival, ebulliently raising their glasses and guitars.
The few instances of repeated phrases draw listeners in different directions. “Starcloud” comes across like a languid weather report, as peaceful as a soft spring sprinkle. But “Love Without Sound” casts an odd shadow, as it is sound. Does this mean the track is without love? If so, why does Caragnano sing with such love in her voice? The thoughts are tied up in knots as one tries to wrap the head around the simple phrase. And yet, this is the nature of the release: to layer and loop. The two artists have indeed formed a lovely sintesi. (Richard Allen)