Delving into sonically overwhelming despair, NOSOUND mastermind derives catharsis from personal drama.
There’s nothing lyrical about death in our post-Byronic world, but any of us can be so devastatingly forlorn that sadness may become romantic: such is the imagery filling Giancarlo Erra’s sophomore solo effort on many levels – be it the photographs the album’s booklet consists of, the soundscapes “Departure Tapes” comprises or the mental pictures this record evokes. Abandoned by his father at 14 and recently having to take care of the estranged parent who was dying from cancer, the artist set to travel between England and Italy – engulfed in reflection and turning his thoughts into music with the help of analog synthesizers and digital plugins. Hence the warmth of the six pieces on offer, a kind of cure for a wounded soul.
Whereas Erra’s 2019 debut displayed reserved grandeur in its use of string quartet, the follow-up to “Ends I-VII” feels much more subdued, understandably so, yet the crackling of fire and repetitive piano motif produce optimistic effect once drowned in a droning, if increasingly crystalline, wave on “Dawn Tape” the ever-shifting space of which is rid of claustrophobia and protected from snapping by elastic bands of bottom-end. However, while the Theremin-like fiber of “Previous Tape” forms and devours a distinct tune in under two minutes and “169th Tape” reaches for electronically enhanced orchestral horizon, the contemplative epic “Departure Tape” – note a singular here – locates faux voices amidst naturally solemn swirl of acoustic and electric lines – and the pulsating, expansive and gradually groovy “Unwound Tape” wraps itself around the listener’s brain to seep in and cleanse their mind.
Only then, the indefinitely vanishing “A Blues For My Father” blends into the background to bring forth the light of it all – the shaft of almost blinding rays of hope. Immersing in those, not basking, is possible on the companion DVD with the album’s surround mix, but there’s a risk of depression involved without lending one’s ear to the CD first.