- "The album came because of the input of my mentor and teacher, Paolo Micioni," Donato Dozzy told RA earlier this year. "He called me one day in January 2014, reminding how he has been following me for a while now, being proud, yes, but also pointing on the evidence that something was missing in my career. It was time to deal with the voice." Hence Sintetizzatrice, a collection of pieces built entirely from the human voice—Anna Caragnano's, to be precise (per Micioni's recommendation).
Dozzy is, of course, a techno artist, but one distinguished by his unusually subtle take on the genre. In the last few years, he dazzled techno's headsy crowd with ultra-subtle works like K and Voices From The Lake. More recently, he gave us Dozzy Plays Bee Mask, a spectacular ambient album that reinterpreted music by Chris Madak (AKA Bee Mask). Like that record, Sintetizzatrice arrives on the American experimental label Spectrum Spools, and marks another confident plunge into completely beatless music. But where Dozzy Plays Bee Mask was bold and inspired, Sintetizzatrice feels a bit timid.
Caragnano and Dozzy recorded Sintetizzatrice together, and in the end it's Caragnano who takes center stage. Her voice is beautiful, and it retains its natural characteristics throughout, only occasionally lapsing into something more abstract. We hear her coo, moan, whistle and chant. Through layering and subtle effects, Dozzy illuminates Caragnano's voice from all angles, and ultimately achieves his usual range of moods: epiphany, wonderment, melancholy, menace.
The end result is indisputably lovely, but underwhelming nonetheless. At their best, Dozzy's productions (and even DJ sets) conjure rich and vivid landscapes. This one doesn't have that transportive quality. Its songcraft is slightly flat as well, with few passages that stick in your mind or keep you coming back. As pretty as it is, it stops short of being truly moving.
In grappling with it for the first time, Dozzy gave the human voice his undivided attention—there is no other sound on the album. You have to wonder what would have happened if, instead, he'd incorporated Caragnano's vocals into his usual production method. Limitations often enhance creativity, but here it seems they held it back.
07. Festa (A Mottola)
08. Love Without Sound