Mingle is a new electronic artist from Verona, Italy. EvilSponge is oddly popular with the Italians. Why is that? None of our staff is ethnically Italian, and if you watch The Food Network in America you would think that most Americans are Italian... (But i won't get started on that rant here.) Well, who knows. Let's just accept it and move on.
The positive outcome of our Italian connection is that EvilSponge gets a lot of promos from Italy, and there is some interesting music coming out of there these days. Mingle is a new electronic project of one Andrea Gastaldello, who is from Verona. His press sheet credits him with "piano, tastiere, chitarra, programmi e cable-noise". When i plug that into Babelfish i am told that it means "slowly, keyboards, guitar, programs and cable-noise", which is pretty awesome. I wish more artists played the "slowly", or "cable-noise" for that matter!
Anyway, this is an interesting release. It is electronic DJ music, but it comes from a whole different world than most of the electronic DJ music that EvilSponge reviews. Mingle is not a dubstep artist, nor is his music Berliner disco dub. Instead, this is music that veers off in unexpected directions, and combines sounds in different ways. I wonder if this is typical of Italian electronica? Well, let me briefly go over the thirteen pieces here.
Submerged kicks things off with a faint tinkling, as of a toy piano. It meanders along nicely for a few minutes before fading into At Dawn, a tune which seems to capture the feel of watching the sunrise after having been up all night. Beats skitter nervously over a piano line that wanders around. A looped voice, speaking in English, wanders in and out. Good stuff.
Feeding is a short rhythm piece, just a staccato drum hit and some groovy little sounds. Short, but fun. It is followed by another short piece, Wearing Out. In this tune, a faint drone grows slowly, lulling you into a mellow trance, then suddenly there is a bizarre clattering noise that echoes a few times and then is buried back under the drone, like another song peaking through the thin surface of music. It is only three minutes long, but is all the more fascinating for the two contrasting sounds here.
Gastaldello channels the 1970s on Give Me A Bellows. This reminds me of the spacier moment of Klaus Schutze, or some of the denser moments of Eno's work. It is built of a faint bass burbling and tinkling keys, with strange noises clattering deep in the background. Lovely.
To Move Away is another shorter piece, but here Mingle seems to channel the Make Mine Music Scene. This song has a faint keyboard line and some light guitarwork, reminding me of Epic 45, or July Skies.
Bunch Of Grapes takes a minimal IDM beat that i suppose is the "cable noise" mentioned above, and adds light piano over it. Eventually a faint hip-hoppish beat comes in, accompanied by a croaking bass hit. Fascinating stuff. It fades into Velvet, which is a short interlude made up of synth strings.
On Voiceless Gastaldello channels Orblivion era Orb with a deep bass riff, some strange synths, and a heavily distorted vocal sample. The beat here is meandering and head bopping. He does this sound rather well.
Bright Colour starts with a slow tinkling riff and some sparkling keys, before a really deep synth comes in. The overall feel is of Boards of Canada. On the other hand, All Around gets a good groove going, and almost sounds like a Tortoise song. There is some nice piano and a staccato hit of clicking percussion.
No One Else takes me back to the mid 1990s. Beats skittering alongside a faint laughing female vocal sample, all layered over a deep bass riff. This reminds me of Spacetime Continuum, and the song would not have been out of place on the Astralwerks Excursions in Ambience series.
And finally Gastaldello wraps things up with a short piano piece called Slow Ahead.
There is a wide variety of music here, but i think that Mingle has done a good job of making it all flow together. Mingle is not redefining electronic music by any means, but he has crafted an enjoyable release. I like the combination of different sound that he has compiled, from IDM to dub to piano post-rock, all united in a way that seems fresh to me. I guess that freshness is the Italian sound. Who knew?