Album Review: Sonoio — RED
Breaking into the electronica scene with his first solo produced album BLUE in the fall of last year, Sonoio wasted no time putting together a second full production that dropped 6/21 of this year. RED is the official sophomore solo synth-assembly and the most recent reason for Sonoio to go on tour beginning in September. Italian for “it’s me,” Sonoio is a purely one-man show by Italian artist Alessandro Cortini that fuses instrumental synthesizer chords with drum machine beats and sprinkled with mid-high range voice-boxed vocals that give the fully electronic tracks a pinch of humanity.
As you may recall, Rabbits Black hosted a contest that featured a collector’s edition pre-release version of RED back in June. At that time, Sonoio had barely released the official first full feature single and music video for the song “Enough” that can be seen here: Sonoio: “Enough”. The video features Alessandro, his synthesizers, and a creative string of bright light bulbs pulsing to the rhythm in a dark room. This track gives listeners a pretty good picture of the essence of Sonoio’s electronic and vocal style, not to mention an almost immediately addicting synth melody and mix beat. Further, and perhaps the most addictive little piece of audio performance enhancement, a signature musical motif that comes up throughout the album is also exposed throughout the single — a digital snare drop beat layered with a medium range synth tone directly on top. After hearing the song about 4 or 5 times, I knew “Enough” was “Enough” before the track became my ring-tone. One of the catchiest tunes I have heard since “Le Disco” by Shiny Toy Guns—wow, that was AGES ago.
The rest of the album is almost just as catchy and addictive. All 9 complete tracks are thoroughly laced with electronic synthesizer sounds, drum machine mixes, and distorted vocals. This consistency gives the sound a futuristic feel and arouses a curiosity as to the method of translation to a live performance. I am vaguely reminded of some different stuff that Cortini has helped create in the past, primarily some productions from NIN Ghosts I-IV albums. Songs like “As Long as You Make a Sound,” and “No Fun” share some digitally produced sounds with the NIN album that Cortini himself probably added to the Trent Reznor inspired instrumentals. Overall, there is a complete range of song types on RED. From upbeat dance tracks like “Can You Here Me Now,” to chill electronic ballad beats in the song “Minutes,” RED impressively packs a wide-ranging musical punch for only being 9 tracks long.
If you find yourself asking where you have heard the name Alessandro Cortini before, it’s not the name of a famous Italian clothes or car designer. Cortini is probably best known for his work on tour with Nine Inch Nails from 2004-2008. Reznor has a special eye for this kind of talent and artistic creativity, so picked up Cortini to polish NIN live shows with synthesizer and keyboard mastery. Once that crazy train reached the last station, Alessandro decided to branch out and go solo. Get excited about the live shows coming to your area in September and give Rabbits Black a shout if you plan to attend….we will be there for the LA and SF concerts — drinks are on you.
~“Digital Magic” is a great description for RED, literally. Cortini offers a great sophomore production to BLUE and makes the listener itch with catchy tracks along with a anxious curiosity to see a show.