Best Albums of 2020: Dronarivm label

Stalking The Elusive (Dronarivm)
Inoculations (Dronarivm)

Stalking The Elusive is a work of pretty astonishing elemental power, a first-time collaboration between Italians Enrico Coniglio and Giulio Aldinucci. It lifts environmental samples from mundane environments – households, airports and so on – and seems to reimagine them as the sounds of sacred spaces. At the centre of the music is ghostly vocal chants and choral loops, enlarged with reverb to cathedral-size proportions, with support from swelling organs, droning strings and strange hisses and distortions. “Until The End Of Remembrances” is a rich, dark elegy thick with Gothic atmosphere. “At The Airport Cathedral” is a piece of environmental sampling genius worthy of Japanese composer Tetsu Inoue, deconstructing a myriad of sounds from a busy airport into an expansive ambient drone and swirling melody from a boy choir.

Also outstanding from Moscow’s Dronarivm label is the latest effort from Texas-based Todd Gauthreaux aka Tapes & Topographies. For newcomers to his music this makes an ideal introduction to his “contemplative melodies of sorrow and light”. The signature sound on Inoculations is sighing, glowing chords that sound like a cello ensemble, treated with gentle, fine-grained distortion and sometimes accompanied by spare piano figures. Even at its most solemn, this is gorgeous and immersive stuff. When the melodies get eerie, the lo-fi treatment and subtle wavering pitches sound rather like Boards of Canada minus the fractured beats.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

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