Nosound: Sol29 (Independent, 2005)

by Jason

Nosound Sol29Nosound is a recording project by Italian artist Giancarlo Erra. I had previously reviewed a promo cd of this disc that was an incomplete set of tracks and was quite impressed with what he was doing. That said, I didn’t look at my prior review before writing this and figured I would see how the music stood up to the test of time and allow the music to speak to me from a fresh perspective. The disc made me long for the winter and the snow that I most likely left behind when I left Kentucky. Those long, crisp winters that will be much shorter down here in Texas. I have albums like this to take me back to those moments of quiet snowfall in January and February. With ambience and a bit of post/rock feel, Giancarlo plays with moods, sounds, and adds lyrics that are reflected in the mood of his instrumentation.

“In the White Air” kicks off sol29 with a 30’s style guitar, minimal drums, and the pop and crackle of an old turntable. This abruptly stops and the drums begin to pound out a strong but slow tempo beat amidst floating keys and spacey clicks. Giancarlo’s voice comes over the speakers with his great, Italian accent. The bass work and the feel of the song has a very jazzy feel mixed with Brian Eno’s ambient style. The last line of the song is sung through intense fuzz and continues through what sounds like a guitar. All the noise sits on a soft landscape of sound and cascading keys. “Wearing Lies on Your Lips” begins with another set of cascading keys and a low hum. There are spacey keys and noises that float throughout the track. With the dissonance in the lyrics comes an angry, fuzzed out guitar and a stronger percussion and bass presence. The track has a polished feel and is quite beautiful. The bridge is a full ambient piece with rock style guitar played over it. The drums and bass add nice accents and really drive the song. “The Child’s Game” is whimsical, with dissonant keys and spacey sounds. It is a slow-tempo, peaceful tune that is instrumental.

“The Moment She Knew” is a long, instrumental piece that starts out with what sounds like a church organ. It’s quite beautiful. Mixed in with the ambient keys, there is also a post-rock feel to the track. Heavy guitars that play slowly over live drums and bass. Eventually, a fuzz enters the track that is guitar driven. At about 6 minutes into the song, there is a quiet interlude that drops the drums, bass and guitar and allows the soundscape to really spread out in all it’s lushness. “Waves of Time” is a shorter instrumental piece with waves of spacey keys floating between the speakers. This track floats along and brings the listener on a nice, peaceful ambient journey. “Overloaded” has a beautiful voice sample like a choir and acoustic guitar. Eventually, bass and acoustic guitar accompany Giancarlo’s vocals. These instruments and vox float on a sea of deep, floating keys that break into a fuller piece with drums and guitar.

“The Broken Parts” has my favorite beginning on the album. It is a very ambient beginning that is breathtaking. There are cool elements that are popping sounds which sound like wood burning, but that develops into acoustic guitar, keys, and reverb-laden vox. Bass eventually creeps into the mix to fill it out. “Idle End” has an epic feel to it that reminds me of M83’s quieter moments. There are fuzzy guitars and spacey keys in the mix with a minimalist percussion. Acoustic guitar finally takes over in the mix and Giancarlo’s heavily accented vocals come into the mix. The mood is somber and Giancarlo sings of holding onto a moment that is perfect and never should be let go, but he knows that those types of moments are fleeting and pass quickly in spite of how much we try. The end of the track is quite breathtaking and allows for the listener to step back and relax in its quiet instrumentation.

“Hope for the Future” is a shorter track and has floating keys with acoustic guitar. Again, this is a somber, ambient piece. The track’s lyrics hint toward the longing for youth and innocence that once loses as they grow older. The last track on the disc is “Sol29,” which happens to be the title track. This is a long, ambient instrumental that ends this disc on a perfect note. This song has a Stars of the Lid feel to it and is probably my favorite track on the disc. In fact, I am hoping that Giancarlo does more in the way of ambient tracks. The keys are moving and the emotive communication great. The track has a slight build, but not too much.

This is a strong release. Giancarlo has created 10 tracks that will please any listener of ambient, post-rock, or even those who find a more structured but minimalist sound pleasing. Go to Nosound’s website and give him a listen. After some time away from the Promo cd, I find that his music holds up and is definitely worth the listen.

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