A loud album of quiet sounds
Loud is an interesting concept to deal with in music. Ever since music recordings moved over to the record player, the listener has largely been in control of how “loud” something is unless they’re at a concert. However, loud is more than the volume knob on your speaker, or the little buttons on the side of your iPhone. Loud is a choice that artists make when they mix an album. Loud is a forceful density of sound, and rather predictably, loud is exactly what you get from VOLUME MASSIMO.
In his first album released by Mute, Alessandro Cortini certainly sets out to make a vibrant statement. Almost immediately, the album is more dynamic than his last solo record, the excellent AVANTI. The primary difference between the two is that where AVANTI seemed more focused on creating powerful, cinematic emotions, VOLUME MASSIMO is happy to let listeners search for meaning in what may initially appear to be a more standard record. This isn’t to say that the record isn’t strange, but it takes a more traditional approach to song structure than most experimental albums do. This move largely works in Cortini’s favor.
Where many experimental artists bury their love of melody or rhythm beneath convoluted song structures, Cortini has always been excellent at propelling them to the forefront without losing the mysterious edge afforded by his expansive sonic palette. This is particularly apparent on tracks like “LET GO” and “MOMENTI” where the lack of an experimental structure allows one to focus on the beauty of the sounds themselves.
Returning to the idea of loudness, the longer one listens to VOLUME MASSIMO, the clearer the concept becomes. This record boasts a wide sonic range. Tracks like “SABBIA” and “AMARO AMORE” routinely feature low-end, thumping bass and crackling, high buzzes that have clearly been retouched in production—pushing their sound to the max and almost muddying them in the process. These choices make for an album with punch and depth that is rarely heard in low-budget, experimental music.
VOLUME MASSIMO is an excellent offering from Cortini. While it may lack the emotional punch of AVANTI, it is more interesting from a pure sound perspective. The types of sounds used here are not only interesting, but the way in which they are bent and shaped to Cortini’s will makes them truly special. Any aspiring musician and producer should check this out for the educational aspect alone. Others should be happy just to hear it.