A beautiful excursion through IDM, trip-hop and ambient.
These tracks, crunchy and sometimes crushing, are written with texture and tone in mind as much as rhythm. It's why the ambient opener, "Attimo," is one of the best tracks on the LP, with soaring melodies that sound like a choir of synthetic angels. "SKLYN" starts out beatless, then drops a chunky breakbeat with dive-bombing basslines, though the rhythm section is cocooned by the celestial sounds around it. Many of these tracks have humming tones that sound like pipe organs, or at the least whirring machines running in the background. The effect is like flying through clouds. It's blurry in a gorgeous, impressionistic way.
Andrea finds tremendous variety in this formula: skittering IDM on "LG Amb," wobbly dubstep on "Liquid," '90s world music-influenced trip-hop on "Twin Forests." Complex drum patterns are always cushioned by soft sounds, like on "LS September." The Coki-style wobbles on "Liquid" rumble below the hopeful, starry-eyed melodies of liquid drum & bass. Best of all is "Backdrops," part of the album's central one-two punch, which softens the blow of the brutal "Drumzzy" with distorted drums that float on a breeze.
The album is an artistic high point for Andrea, capping off a stunning run of techno full-lengths on Ilian Tape. The label and its artists have a keen understanding of how to tackle an album: don't shed the club approach entirely, and push the envelope without leaving your comfort zone. Ritorno looks back to the golden era of '90s electronica LPs with the musical lexicon of 2020: breaks, bass, brooding techno. It's with these ingredients that Andrea and his cohort have built a sound that feels like it could define our era: techno with rowdy rave characteristics and pretty melodies. It's the Ilian Tape trademark.