The thesis statement to Francesco Ameglio’s latest project under Guybrush is found in one of the track titles itself: “I Woke Up In Madrid And I Felt Lonely”. A sound artist and scholar based out of Turin, Italy, Ameglio recorded the Something Extremely Light EP during a temporary, isolated stint in Spain. The resulting six tracks offer concise ruminations on foreign places, melding electro-acoustic ambient and field recordings to spasmodic results.
Ameglio has a background in video game soundtracks, so the walkthrough immersion of these compositions makes sense. Each song is akin to a neighborhood theme song, a sampler of mood setters for brisk walks. Opener “Once You Told Me To Let It Go” envisions something quiet— like daybreak— with the damp, skeletal modulation of contemporary drone. “I Woke Up In Madrid And I Felt Lonely” takes Brian Leeds’ residual club music and filters it through background street chatter, recalling a curbside football game or a late afternoon farmers market. Inversely, the cold “Marbles Impact” sounds like a hundred insects crawling in one’s skin on a humid, paranoid nightwalk. Individual arrangements provide the cohesion of a bottled thought, but taken together, there is a restlessness that eats up any chance for sustained clarity.
The framework surrounding the EP is a self-described ambivalent loneliness, equal parts detached and contemplative. The intermingling voice recordings and electronic work certainly evoke some dissociation, as if Ameglio sees his own production as the skewed reflection of what he hears and sees around him. The creeping soundscapes often begin to coagulate with synthesizers and pads, creating a believable harmony between the outside world and the self. However, with such short runtimes, it’s only possible to fully bridge these disparate parts as each track teeters to a close. Although slightly frustrating, it’s admirable to see rich textural worlds as nothing more than snapshots.
Perhaps most interestingly, Ameglio’s scholarly research centers on “sonic failures,” or evidently “wrong” compositional choices. If anything, Something Extremely Light functions as an opposing sense of complacency. The dynamic shifts and melodic elements on every track are smooth and inviting— going back to the idea of a meditative walk through new spaces. It leaves me with the feeling that something warmly familiar is going on in this work: a joyful open-mindedness to the peculiar alienation of finding one’s self somewhere new and daunting. (Josh Hughes)