Alessandro Cortini (NIN) and Japanese noise architect Masami Akita aka Merzbow elicit previously unheard voices from the classic EMS Synthi; a British synthesiser from the early ‘70s which has been extensively used by a panoply of prog rock legends such as Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd and Heldon during its influential lifespan. Trust that Cortini and Akita’s efforts sound absolutely nothing like the aforementioned and boldly put a bracing, refreshing new spin on its classic sound.
Making thorough use of the now rather rare and expensive classic model, highly regarded for its tactility and portability, the duo coax out a coarser voice than we’re used to hearing from the EMS Synthi, as though there’s a whisky swilling, 60-a-day roadie trapped in there since the ‘70s and they’ve only just realised how to get his voice out.
The result is a retching, sputtering beast of a record wresting jittery animations of white noise and spooling oscillators into chaotic briar patch of pure analog synthesis making the machine wail, buckle and cough up its least salubrious secrets in four extended parts.
If you’re familiar with each artist, respectively, you’ll find it perhaps leans closer to Merzbow’s putative aesthetics than the more layered appeal of Cortini, but when when it does congeal into more viscous puddles of bass and perceptibly sweeter harmonics, one can hear Cortini’s touch come clearer into play, but ultimately they’re both goading each other into a tornado of ferocity.