Emanuele Magni has delivered a pair of new pieces, both of which run 39 minutes and 28 seconds. While the album is entirely electronic, he says the work is inspired by “natural soundscapes … their rhythm and slow evolving structure.”
His focus on rhythm will strike you immediately. “Sottomarino Spaziale” opens the disc with a slow pulse reminiscent of the late-summer cicadas that fill the air near my home in Toronto. Depending on what you are focused, it is a sound that either dominates your attention or goes completely unnoticed.
The piece evolves slowly, not so much in increments but in gradually overlapping waves. This is central to Magni’s vision for the recording. “Sometimes new sounds come and slowly the soundscape changes,” he writes. “Soundscapes seem often the same but they are always different, and this subtle difference gives them beauty.”
Next is “Spazio Secondo.” For an ambient work, it has a surprisingly quick pace. Where track one focuses the listener on a slow, drawn-out rhythm, this one beats like an exercising heart. Again though, it evolves gradually so that we’re given time to enjoy all of its subtle textures.
Because both pieces run exactly the same time, I played them together to see if that constitutes a kind of third piece. While I have no reason to believe that this is Magni’s intention, it’s a worthwhile exercise.
The original recordings are recognizable, but together they are something bigger than the sum of their parts. The tranquility of both pieces is replaced by a surprising intensity. It’s like combining weather. Wind and rain are generally calm when experienced separately. Combine them though, and it’s an entirely different kind of day.
The Moderns, vols. 1 and 2, by Kevin Press are available exclusively from Amazon.