Electronic musician Alessandro Cortini shared a new track called “LO SPECCHIO” in advance of his upcoming June 11 full-length record SCURO CHIARO. It’s the second single following “CHIAROSCURO,” which is essentially the title track, named after the art style involving strong contrasts between light and darkness.
“LO SPECCHIO,” translating to “mirror,” is a cinematic piece that gradually builds momentum as it picks up more layers. Two low bass kicks and an echoing drum hit repeat as a hypnotic pattern until the intro electronics fall away and the bass hits are left playing for a noise akin to wind roaring.
In a video for the new track, a CGI-animated eyeball stares closely at its reflection. The pupil dilates in time to the bass kicks and a tear falls out for each drum hit, splashing into the reflective pool of water separating it from its mirror image. Detailed looks at the inside of the eye, rotating perspectives and the intensity of the music make for an absorbing experience. Like the video for “CHIAROSCURO,” the video was directed by Marco Ciceri in collaboration with CGI artists Marco Ciceri and Axel Schoterman.
The full album is built thematically on contrasts, the mirror a contrast through reflection, different from the contrast of light and shadow as opposites, “SCURO CHIARO is the opposite of chiaroscuro, and in a way it shows that no matter how you order things there’s always going to be two elements that tend to be the opposite of each other that make up the truth—or make up everything.”
In 2020, Cortini shared a popular collaboration with Daniel Avery called Illusion of Time, which was a meditative yet noisy electronic album. Cortini’s previous solo album was VOLUME MASSIMO (2019), which also came out via Mute, the record company releasing SCURO CHIARO.
He drew a comparison between that album and this new one, saying he used the same process he had developed during the creation of VOLUME MASSIMO in which he worked through his archive of recordings and carefully picked out individual sounds and elements with which to compose new pieces. “To me things that were created apart in time can fit together in a work of art, and it doesn’t matter when they were created,” Cortini states. “You drink wine that is ten years old with a meal that is freshly handmade. The final product, in my opinion, doesn’t need to be made at the same time.” SCURO CHIARO’s artwork also references the cover for that album, both of which were shot by Emilie Elizabeth.
“I really enjoyed the fact that VOLUME MASSIMO became a series of rough colours that I added to in order to specify a more definite image, or a more definite painting in a way,” Cortini commented. “It’s something that I hadn’t done before as a lot of my recordings are live recordings. With SCURO CHIARO I went back to this process. A lot of the compositions that I included are compositions that I listened to, worked with, massaged, and shaped the corners for them to fit in this specific puzzle—but there was less dissection, less hair and make-up than VOLUME MASSIMO.”