Real: a grand work of rich soundscapes filled with sorrow and melancholy

Giulio Aldinucci, Real, Germany, Karl Records, KR096 cassette / vinyl LP (2022)

Quite a busy and prolific artist with eight solo albums to his name along with EPs, collaborations and other projects, Giulio Aldinucci continues his sonic explorations using various electronic instruments and field recordings as a basis for building up layers of sound that Aldinucci then combines with celestial choral voices and sacred music to create soundscapes of immense sorrow and melancholy. “Real” is Aldinucci’s eighth album and his fourth for German label Karl Records. Through “Real”, Aldinucci reflects on contemporary Western society and civilisation by noting that so much of our engagement with life and issues pressing upon us is filtered through digital media which itself shapes and defines so-called “reality” and in so doing, determines our response to those issues. Our reality then is but a distortion by technology of what could be completely different, even contrary, if we were to experience that reality directly. “Real” is intended as an expression of the human need and desire to experience life as directly and authentically as possible, cutting out mediators that might distort that experience.

The eight soundscapes presented here are hypnotic and immersive, and give the impression of being much bigger than they actually are. I confess that I expected these pieces to be quite long, at least ten minutes in length as a minimum, so I was quite surprised that none of the pieces featured on “Real” comes close to seven minutes in length. As they are though, you have a brief snapshot of the reality they represent: a reality that is grand and expansive, infinitely varied, and yet possessed of a spirit or a presence of feeling or compassion for fragile human beings. It is perhaps best then, that you listen to the album as a complete work in itself, with all tracks linked to one another as in a tapestry, all of them symbols for or portals to different aspects of reality. The slow droning music, gentle in sound and mood, unfurls its secrets gradually and with care and empathy; it can feel much longer than it is in individual tracks.

Each succeeding track seems more mysterious and spacious, and goes deeper in the sonic universe of “Real” than the previous track, even though Aldinucci appears to do no more than combine his source materials into one hybrid piece and lets that rip more or continuously. The music can be rich and wondrous to behold as you go further into the album and experience its glories; on the other hand, the music’s emphasis on sacred mystery can seem a bit excessive, especially on one track “Every Word, In Summer” where the brilliant radiance goes on forever and its drama becomes a bit theatrical.

It is a beautiful work, at times mind-blowing and expansive, and yet feeling quite close and intimate at times. Even so, I do find that the music can be a bit remote, glorying as it were in its own richness and warmth, and not reaching out to connect with its audience emotionally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *