Nicola Ratti holds a rich history in the world of experimental and minimalist composition, having released music under his own name on labels such as Kning Disk, Anticipate, Preservation, Holidays, and Senufo Editions and in recent times concentrating his energy into his collaborative project ‘Bellows’, work which has seen the light thanks to Entr’acte Records and most recently Boomkat Editions. His latest solo work ‘Pressure Loss’ finds Ratti at a potential turning point in his musical career, exploring rhythm and tonality with a new vigour, in a way which embraces the fluid and consistently evolving modern world of electronic music, yet still references a history of electronics, limiting his sound palette to work only using the Serge and ARP Modular Synthesizer.
Bass, rhythm and melody, those basic ingredients of musical composition, are always present throughout the 8 compositions Ratti presents here, although it is almost like this balance was only briefly explained to someone who had never heard a conventional music piece before and was then left alone to improvise with the recipe with deep curiosity. A devastating pulse runs throughout, acting as a basin for a world of strange syncopated rhythms caught amid sonar blips, ghostly serrated hi-hats and dripping stalactites. The fluttering melodies that creep around the compositions' edges sound like a tentative and childlike version of grime's simple but visceral paranoid hooks.
There is in fact very little that is conventional about Ratti's music. There is pace and pulse but only the most oblivious or bloody minded dancer could keep moving to it. While Nicola's sonic vision occasionally encroaches on territory reminiscent of Pierre Schaeffer jamming over a old Hype Williams cd-r, there is a trove of isolatory emotion, brooding tension and even playful intent to be gleaned from the enveloping tones of ‘Pressure Loss’. Ratti has here created an absorbing world of rhythmic idiosyncrasies, otherworldly tonal experiments, minimalist moments of beauty, and understated environments of menace and suspense.
Ratti says of the record - “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. This album freezes a moment within Ratti's musical research of the rhythmic possibilities achievable by using the fundamental and not complex elements of modular synthesizer systems”.
released January 3, 2016
Mixed by Nicola Ratti, additional mix and mastering by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Sleeve Photograph by Allegra Martin.
Design by Studio of the Immaculate Heart.
There are so many things I could say about why this album is absolutely perfect. But to keep it short, single-handedly the most depressing album I've listened to, but also the most fantastic album I've listened to. Would highly recommend to anyone willing to give it a listen. mcdoob