Dark, moody and in your face
Alessandro Cortini is a musician and producer best known for his stint in Nine Inch Nails and has had a hand in several projects and bands including his electronic rock hybrid SONOIO. He is coming off the solo released AVANTI LP from last year and SONOIO’s newest album Fine brings the same ambient experimental soundscapes as AVANTI, but with added structure, emotional melodic synths lines and his own competent vocals.
“I Don’t Know” is good introduction, starting from a simple Roland 303 synth and building on from there with dramatically sung vocals, great synth work and percussive layering. Overall, Cortini does a good job singing on Fine and the production is detailed and powerful.
“Left” does a great job showcasing Cortini’s skills as a song-smith, the vocals are grandiose and well delivered over tight drum machine grooves and emotional synth pads. “Thanks for Calling” features vintage synth tones and showcases some awesome vocals. The track “Pieces” calls back to the sound of AVANTI. This track is cool and eerie, beautifully layered synths interact with a distant robotic voice.
“Vitaman D” is just okay, we get more of the same but with some lofi mixing. “Bad Habit” brings things back with great whispered vocals and crunchy experimental synth tones. The end of the song is slightly anti-climactic however, and on some tracks SONOIO does a lot of buildup and misses some potential climax and song structure.
“Under the Sea” sounds great musically, but the lyrics and vocal performance are a little choppy; however, Cortini expertly works with samples and effects on the track “What’s Before.” “I Don’t Know Coda” is a fun and dynamic synth banger and the album is ended with the instrumental “Outro,” a dubby drum machine jam.
SONOIO’s Fine delivers some amazing synth programming and attention to detail. As a vocalist, Cortini is versatile and mostly delivers good performances. There are some vocal missteps here and there, but when paired with the lush and evolving synths and some well programmed drums, Fine is a solid addition to Cortini’s discography and will probably make his fans happy for a little bit longer.