Last week, we told you about Alessandro Alessandroni, Morricone collaborator and whistler, soundtrack and library music composer extraordinaire, central figure in Italy’s 1960s and 1970s scene. Today we bring you Prisma Sonoro, apparently his personal favourite, an album which we haven’t managed to stop listening since we stumbled upon it a few weeks ago.
Prisma Sonoro could be the McGuffin in a remake of the Maltese Falcon set in the music nerd scene.It was a library music micro-press for the Sermi label. In it, Alessandroni was given access to a full orchestra and he went to town with it:
“The editor gave me total freedom, so I composed for a great orchestra with 16 violins, 4 violas, 4 cellos, it was truly fun. It isn’t often that a producer leaves you free to compose whatever you want.”
Words fail us as we attempt to describe this record. One could call it lounge, and imagine it playing in the backdrop of a jet-set party in a futuristic penthouse, though cigarette smoke and controversies about existentialism. But it is so much more. Like Burt Bacharach’s work (specially with Dionne Warwick) it is infected with transcendental innocence and melancholy, a psychedelia acquired not through filigree but through depth. Fly Basil Kirchin’s genius to the Italian riviera in a Learjet 23.
We listen to it and feel the same sweetness we do when we look at photos of our parents when they were young and cool. Perhaps we miss the (nuclear eschaton-tinged) optimism of its times, perhaps we feel a vicarious nostalgia for its dreams and hopes, things that never came to be.
Perhaps we miss a world that gave up on itself so that we could be.
Prisma Sonoro was reissued by Light in the Attic some time ago but the older pressings go for $1500 in discogs, and this isn’t a market failure.
Although we know a few things about Toshifumi Hinata, a Japanese pianist / balearic composer we also featured recently, the Internet is silent regarding the history and meaning of Chat D’Ete, an album he released in 1986.
We have decided to post it today because, like Prisma Sonoro, it opens a wormhole into a universe that doesn’t exist anymore, a universe that perhaps didn’t ever exist, a universe that maybe can’t exist because basic physical constants don’t allow such perfect folding of coolness upon emotion.
To be honest, you could say that about most Hinata albums, seamless pot pourris of franco-phile piano, exquisite minimalism, pastel ambient and tracks like 異国の女たち (‘exotic women’), a stately synth ballad whose melody might have soundtracked Rutger Hauer’s terminal speech at the end of a version of Bladerunner scripted by Haruki Murakami and shot by Michael Mann in that impossible universe of blinding neon we alluded to above.