Originally a 12-hour installation for a bridge, 12H contains some of Dozzy's gentlest music. That's not always a good thing.
In the early '00s, an international competition asked people to submit designs for what would become Music Bridge – Armando Trovajoli, a pedestrian bridge in Rome crossing the River Tiber. Participants were tasked with considering how this structure, among other things, could reform the relationship between "the river and the landscape." Donato Dozzy's latest project, 12H, aims to capture that same confluence. Originally a 12-hour sound installation, 12H was played on 24 speakers that dotted the colonnade, and is condensed here into a continuous, 100-minute mix. The resulting album contains some of the most unobtrusive music of Dozzy's career.
12H recalls the serenity of Plays Bee Mask tracks like "Vaporware 01," in which field recordings coalesced with new age synths. But while the album is mostly ambient, it has a notable variety. Swelling, organ-like synths on "12H.2" merge into bubbling water and clinking glass. The vocals on "12H.5," echoing those found on 2015's Sintetizzatrice, are rendered as choral pads that, in their elegant simplicity, produce one of the album's most relaxing tracks. The woozy "12H.9" is defined by reverberant percussion and sparse, dissonant instrumentation.
12H is cohesive, but it can be a bit tiresome. "12H.4" is a kosmische piece whose incessant arpeggios don't lead to any climax or release. "12H.6," one of the few songs with a beat, falters in a similar way. Its knotty percussion is initially hypnotic, but over ten minutes it doesn't evolve much. In the song's final stretch, a chipper synth filigree adds some flair, but then segues into an uninspiring field recording of water and an airplane overhead. 12H eventually proves unconvincing as an album—though Dozzy cut ten hours from the original installation, it still feels bloated and uneventful.
A comparable album to 12H is 2018's The Height Of The Reeds by Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang, which was created for a sound walk across the Humber Bridge in England. The trio's work, intended to be heard on headphones, is a more transformative experience. Reeds draws from third stream jazz and, while serene, tries less to blend in with a stroll across a bridge than influence one's impression of it. Dozzy's approach is modest by comparison, simply offering a headspace for people to appreciate the Music Bridge, the Tiber river and the surrounding environment.