While most good drummers know how to use texture and subtlety (or at least should), you won't find many who take the idea quite as far as Massimo Discepoli. While his rhythm parts have a recognizable and compelling pulse somewhere, that usually isn't the half of it. The point is the entire soundscape. His recordings are craftily packed with sonic detail, however busy or airy they happen to be.
The last time Discepoli appeared on record with The Right Place on the Wrong Map (Dof, 2019), it was at least 80% atmosphere with any more earthy parts making traces in the ether. Last Year, The Next Day generally shifts the ratio closer to half and half (and sometimes tips it over the line into borderline post-rock). While the overall tone is somewhere under the ambient umbrella as always, its hypnotic trance could be either a pleasant background listen or a full-out immersive experience. There's a gripping immediacy to these grooves while the scope remains vast.
Sometimes the rhythm even takes the form of an actual drum beat under the swirling clouds; more often there are still plenty of stray rattles or clatters to fill in the sonic palette while synths build to towering heights. There's still a beating heart underlying everything in either case, and it's enough to keep the sound from getting too forbidding even when the tone leans chilly. When it gets warmer, particularly in the highlight "Cycle of Coincidences" with its swirling peak of jungle-gamelan minimalism, it's dynamic enough for an actual rave floor without needing to actually go heavy. Discepoli's simple recipe is one good for all manner of expansive concoctions, as elusive as they are electric.
Layers of echoes;
Pattern of change;
Listening to the fog;
Remains of a reflection;
The meaning of floating;
Cycle of coincidences;
A question to forget.
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