Giacomelli: Opus I-IV (Hohm Recordings, 2016)

Giacomelli: Opus I-IV (Hohm Recordings, 2016)

by Jason

giacomelli-opus-i-ivSteve Giacomelli is an ambient/electronic artist from central California. Opus I-IV is the follow-up to his Loose Canons 2.0, which is a 70’s analog synth video game soundtrack emulating an 8-bit game. Opus I-IV, on the other hand, is an ambient, meditative work that has at the core of each piece four predetermined chords through improvisations. The tracks evoke space, gardens, and trance-like states.

“Opus 1 – Geodesic Homes (Organissimo Concerto)” is the first piece on Opus. It begins with a humming drone along with textures like flittering static. Feedback, reverberations, and subtle noises fill Giacomelli’s soundscapes to create a contemplative and hypnotic feel. Eventually, low rumbles and bleeps bring a different vibe to the flowing drones. The track invites the listener to sink deep into a trance-like state. As the resolution comes, the sonics become very spacy, as if one is now floating in the weightlessness of space. “Opus II – Aspirations (Dance of the Double Helix; for piano and woodwind)” begins with a buzzing texture that floats along a cascading drone. Undulating rumbles begin to infiltrate the drone as laser-like sounds punctuate the spaces in the composition. As one goes deeper into the piece, there is a psychedelic, almost oceanic feel at places. Disruptions occur as well, bringing the listener to attention with woodwind instruments sampled to dance and spring along the soundscape. At the back end of the composition, there is a sci-fi feel, evoking the title of the track. As it comes to its conclusion, “Opus II” fades out slowly, stretching out to its final silence.

“Opus III – Cuando Bolero (Piano Scherzo)” begins very quietly with spaced-out synths that, once again, evoke a sci-fi theme. The sound of strings plucking dot the soundscape with bright, vibratory sounds. This makes the piece feel “scherzo”, or playful, in nature. The string sounds bounce around as swirling space noises circulate through the speakers alongside piano and low rumbles. There is an almost traditional Japanese flavor to this track as it progresses, evoking the light, meditative atmosphere of a Japanese garden. As the piano dances over the drones and various sonics, the track fades into nothingness. “Opus IV – Evening Cadenza (for organ & wood)” is the final piece on the album. It resonates into the speakers with low drones and high-pitched echoes. At about three minutes in, a brief but repeated melody begins to repeat giving some structure to the ambience. It eventually is soaked up by the wall of noise and becomes something other. There is a razor thinness to some of the tones here while horn like sounds peer up from beneath the thick, soaring drones. There is, at once, an organic undertone while metallic, non-organic sounds are layered throughout the composition.

Giacomelli has composed four coherent, contemplative ambient pieces that move between organics and spacy electronics. There is a depth to Giacomelli’s pieces that are moving and yet can be jarring, causing the listener to think and re-think throughout the album. Download the album, put on your headphones, and sink into the dreaminess of Opus I-IV.

Download Opus I-IV here.

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