Italian producer Alessandro Cortini is one of the secret forces behind the work of industrial sad boy Trent Reznor, but he also makes his own music based around propulsive but meditative soundscapes; Skarn is mainly focused on such work, and 'Revolver' shifts between gentle minimalism and striking, indigestible noise.
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- Revolver by Skarn
5/10 Laurie Staff review, 14 November 2014
NIN diehards assemble! Indecisive Reznor bandmate and Italian synth geek Alessandro Cortini has found a new super techno disguise in Skarn, and is releasing the project’s debut release on Shifted & Ventress’ Avian imprint.
Unless I’ve got these at the wrong speed (they sound like a bad game soundtrack at 45), they’re all slow techscapades combining the kick-bass throb of hypnotic bangers with raspy distortion bursts. This guy just loves to show off his synths, but they remain quite shrouded here, either completely filtered down to single dissonant tones or pushed into fairly brutal overdrive units. The thing is, there’s a clear fomula for a Skarn track. Start with the slow subby groove, very steadily bring in sparse bits of filth, before suddenly unleashing them during the last quarter or less. I’m actually quite underwhelmed for someone who loves distortion. For the most part, the music doesn’t go anywhere or immerse you deeply, as seems to be the objective with the more minimal side of techno.
It plods along, oblivious to the fact that it could be so much more if detail was added to the production. With all that gear at his disposal, it seems a waste for Cortini to not fill in the blanks with some subtle atmospherics. Unfortunately not an amazing debut into the world of underground dark beats, but we’ll see if Cortini can turn it around next time.
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