- Multi-instrumentalist Aimée Portioli continues to create utterly unique music.
- 2017's Crescente on Donato Dozzy and Neel's Spazio Disponible brought a new direction to their label and placed Aimée Portioli on the fringes of the experimental techno scene. The collaboration was further explored on her stand-out album, Pineapple, the following year. These days Portioli is working with labels that are more obviously connected to her sound. In 2019, she released on the reliable ambient imprint, Longform Editions, and now her second full-length arrives via Editions Mego. Blink A Few Times To Clear Your Eyes is right at home on the label. It's a natural evolution, leaning on the traditional composition techniques that Portioli has studied since childhood. That's not to say the oddball electronics of Pineapple have been left behind. Now, they're fused with her experiments on classic synths, an upright piano, strings and her voice.
The eight tracks switch between glistening ambience and rhythmically complex pieces whose time-honored approach nods to minimalists like Manuel Göttsching. From the off, quivering Yamaha DX-7 notes and warm, heady atmospherics invite your mind to drift. The layers of acoustic and electronic melody synchronize in forward motion, converging in understated crescendos. Given Portioli is a sound designer and film composer, it's no surprise that the music is visually stimulating. A siren sets an eerie scene in "Equations For A Falling Body," cerebral patterns exude from the entrancing arpeggios of "Coordinate Redirects Here" and there are solemn moments like "Canopies." Whatever the mood, the sound design is distinctive and the way she realizes her ideas is captivating. It's the kind of record that you finish without having a favorite track, but you come back to in its entirety, over and over again.
As on Pineapple, it's only on the album's final stretch where a tempered kick drum is introduced. Portioli's voice then appears on closer "All There Now." It is new to the Grand River project, albeit here processed into obscurity. She makes sobering comments on mental health and happiness in modern society, building on the record's melancholic moments through a different medium. Portioli's music as Grand River occupies its own space in today's electronic landscape. It has an acute musicianship which is too often obscured. On Blink A Few Times To Clear Your Eyes, it's front and centre.
01. Side Lengths
02. Mr. Speaker
04. Equations For A Falling Body
06. Coordinate Redirects Here
07. Second Half
08. All There Now