Italian multi-instrumentalist Gigi Masin is back with his first major statement since his wonderful trio Gaussian Curve’s most recent effort from 2017. As far as I can tell, he plays everything on Calypso, and it does sound more of a layered studio creation than his GC work. Inspired by his visits to the Greek island of Gavdos, the new album is a beauty, one of his best and most cohesive records in a long career that began in 1986 with the proto-Balearic chillout classic Wind. Some of the shimmering, melodious pieces swirl around a core sound of jazzy piano, light synth arpeggios and warm orchestral drones. Others weave in odd treated sounds and loops like the eerie shuffling scratches of “Enter Venus” and distant tribal drums of “The Water Sybil”. He plays a zither or dulcimer on the achingly lovely “Amaranta” alongside a smooching brass-like synth line. The music is as sensuous and textured as the legends of the island itself, an Aegean landmark which has long been associated with Greek mythology. Most crucially, the artist’s much-lauded “Venetian grace” is intact; his sense of restraint, his love of mystery, his romantic feel for landscape. It’s fantastic to see him on the Apollo label – the ever-evolving ambient imprint of Belgium’s legendary R&S Records – which was resurrected by R&S founder Renaat Vandepapeliere in 2009 after nearly a decade on the shelf.
Album out 28 February. More at apollorecords.bandcamp.com