How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This esoteric recording by two Italians who go under many pseudonyms is definitely along the lines of the mystical American ambientmaster Robert Rich. This is not a surprise, as "Alio Die" (Stefano Musso; the pseudonym means "On another Day" in Latin) collaborated with Rich on the equally arcane 1997 album Fissures. Like Rich, the Italian duo concentrate on sustained and cool-textured synthesizer and sampled-instrument drones. They use the same digital looping techniques as Rich, to create rhythm and pattern. And like the American, the Italians use recordings of nature sounds, such as water, crickets, frogs, bubbles, and random voices in strange languages. But unlike Rich, this pair do not usually use microtones ' they stay within conventional tuning in pleasing harmonies of fourths, fifths, and wider-spaced elevenths and thirteenths, rather than Rich's weird "just intonation." They also have taken the "eerie" out of the Rich style, leaving out the wailing flutes, screaming sirens, and underground burblings. As a result, "Sola's" output is simply easier to listen to. The Italians' abstract music of drones, minimal rhythms, and "found sounds," rather than being spooky or boring, spreads a calming layer of gentle sound over the listener. It has a nocturnal but serene quality, and feels like the soundtrack for long quiet hours in an elegant Oriental country retreat. It evokes a place one would like to return to, rather than a nightmare from which one struggles to wake.