Label: A Strangely Isolated Placee
Date: January 26, 2024
Mastered By: Giuseppe Tillieci
Artwork By: Brandon Locher
Well, my Best of the Year feature is over, and we begin anew. While compiling my list of favourites, I’ve posed a few provocative questions to myself. Something I most likely do every year around this time. What do I do this for? Who really cares? How much more music must be made? And has it really changed [evolved?] that much in the last decade? I go through my past selections, find some gems, and revel in the torrent of the sounds. Yet music, to me, is a lot more than it seems. It’s not a tool to calm the mind, to bring some warmth or to wake the body. Each album tells a story, and that tale is unique. So do we need more books? And do we need to meet new people? I think the answer is resounding “yes”, but with the caveat, you see. I think it’s all about the quality of the relationship we establish with the artist and the label, which is transmitted through ideas in this music. And that is what I tend to ceaselessly seek out. This brings me to Salvatore Mercatante, whom I am meeting for the first time via the introduction of the reliable curation of Ryan Griffin’s amazing A Strangely Isolated Place imprint. Be it ambient, classic electronica, or cosmic voyage music – Ryan and I seem to share the same taste regardless of the genre. So yes, there is implicit trust here for his choices. So far, I have been very pleased indeed.
Mercatante is a New York-based electronic musician with albums dating back to 2007, releasing on a handful of boutique and independent labels. For his debut appearance on ASIP, Mercatante takes the concept of Ø [a symbol used in mathematics for an empty set or null] and explores the possibilities of starting out from nothing, “specifically, trying to understand how the idea of ‘nothing’ fits into the realm of sound, and at the same time, exist in a world of influence at every turn.” This is an album that could easily appear on the celebrated raster label or get a head nod from the Alva Noto crowd. Across the ten surgically precise pieces, Mercante explores the concepts of meticulously placed sonic elements, investigating void and all that negative space. It is at once minimal in its execution and maximal in the presented sound, occupying frequencies evoked by glitchy IDM [is that still a used term?], post-techno and reductionist soundtracks.
Beginning with open spaces and allowing sonic textures to live and evolve past where you may expect, Ø allows the space between notes to become equally as important as the notes themselves.
The full album, mastered by Giuseppe Tillieci at Enisslab (Rome, Italy), is out next Friday, January 26th, 2024. You can pick this up on digital or on that beautiful transparent white smoke 2×12″. Highly recommended. A perfect start to a new year!