Alessandro Cortini’s “Perdonare”

It’s been a major crap day, due to a number of reasons I just don’t want to get into. So I’m going to start the evening with an instrumental that’s fitting for my mood. It’s called “Perdonare,” and comes from Alessandro Cortini, an Italian musician best known for being Nine Inch Nail‘s touring keyboardist. Admittedly, I didn’t make that connection until I started this post. But it’s just as well. Prior history isn’t a prerequisite for digging this particular tune of anxious ambience.

“Perdonare” reminds me of the unsetting yet hypnotic soundtracks from ’80s horror films – think “Phantasm,” ‘The Fog,” or any of the first three original “Halloween” films – with a focus on the beatless atmospheric parts. It holds a similar deep synth vibe, darkly new wave and shaded in ominous tones of foreboding trepidation. It’s completely devoid of any recognizable form of percussion, driven solely by a pulsating drone, awash in a spatial delay of repetitive keys. And it builds in a progressive hum, whirling in tweaked electro synthesis, melancholic and inciteful, until it peaks in a malformed organ-like pitch, glassy and sharp.

A quick search on the internet translates “Perdonare” from the Italian, as “to forgive” or “pardon.” Given the sheer instrumental intensity, I’d guess the original offense must’ve been pretty severe to warrant a score of this gravitas. Or maybe not … with instrumentals, it’s all up to interpretation. And at the moment, this one’s catching me, while my mind is still sinking in the shadow world. Hence, dark …

“Perdonare” comes from Cortini’s 2017 solo LP “Avanti,” which as a whole, shines a broader, brighter beacon of melancholic sound. Of the seven tracks, “Perdonare” appears second, early enough to establish conflict, with plenty of room for resolution. At least, given a single listen, that’s how it feels in the context of a larger scope. Again, interpretation …

Cortini, as I mentioned earlier, is the touring keyboardist for Nine Inch Nails, which offers clarity to his particular craft of synth-based composition. He’s also been an integral member of the NIN side project How to Destroy Angels, as well as worked alongside Liverpool-based synth act Ladytron, and experimental techno DJ/producer Daniel Avery, who happens to be one of my favorites of the genre.

Curiously, I’ve been letting “Avanti” run in the background. And after a few cycles of “Perdonare,” I’m starting to feel this album is an entirely experiential journey, intended to be consumed as a whole. It’s what some might call a concept album. It’s quite emotional, pushing you down low and lifting you back high. But it’s not an easy trek, with obvious cues and straightforward notes. It requires some investment, an attentive mind, open to the interpretive tones and textures layered forth.

Either way you approach it, Alessandro Cortini’s “Perdonare” is a haunting piece of synth-soaked captivation. I’m included embeds for both the single, and the album, with a music video wedged in-between. For lack of a better saying … enjoy!

“Perdonare” from the 2017 album “Avanti.”

Appropriately moody, a music video of vintage stock and snowed in nostalgia.

And the experience as a whole …

Alessandro Cortini’s 2017 album “Avanti.”