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Alessandro Cortini Risveglio Hospital

Following last year’s Sonno, multi-instrumentalist and Nine Inch Nails guy Alessandro Cortini returns with more brooding synth drone. Like Sonno, Risveglio is an all-hardware outing that Cortini recorded on tour. Using a Roland 202, 303 and 606, the Italian has crafted something that’s very at home on Hospital. He’s not the first to repurpose the machines for more ambient purposes, but whereas guys like TM404 pursue a cleaner sound, Cortini feeds his through so much overdrive and delay that they emerge tortured, burnt-out and full of menace.

The constraints of old hardware mean that Risveglio’s tracks are built largely of simple synth-loops. What makes them engaging are the nuances, like the filter movements, or the background hum of effect pedals. Opener Stambecco’s saturated patterns unfold at a mammoth’s pace, like a pair of city gates being slowly wrenched open. La Sveglia’s gloomy pulse shimmers and breaks beneath the weight of tape-delay. Lotta’s molten-thick melody drifts abys- mally, corrupt and lonely.

Unsurprisingly it’s a little exhausting to absorb all at once. Harsher, percussive tracks like La Meta do little to break up the dense synthscapes, nor drive the record forward. By the time we reach penultimate track Ricadere, we’re still wandering the same bleak territory.

A great record, if not emotionally demanding – but then again, probably not half as demanding as spending half your working life with Trent Reznor. Count yourself lucky.