Vincenzo Salvia Breaks The Surface And Takes The Plunge
(original link from Synthetix.FM here)
If one views 2009 as the break-out year for 80s inspired synth music, this means we’re now in the fifth year of the development of the soundscapes modern producers are creating with homage to classic 80s sounds. The evolution has been incredible to witness, thus far, as splinters of ideas have now become towering evergreens of deeply rooted styles. Singular ideas have inspired tens of producers who have now re-imagined this inspiration and crafted it into something new. I’ve always said: it’s the producers who push into new territory, with new ideas and creativity that will keep the scene rockin and my excitement levels in the red zone.
Vincenzo Salvia is one of these producers. It’s a shame I missed the opportunity to put my Top 10 Albums of 2013 on Synthetix.FM, or elsewhere, as Vincenzo’s Auto Radio was my favourite album of last year. The vision of this producer and his reverence for the classic sounds makes him a true artist and with his new EP, Vincenzo has gone even further out of the 80s-comfort-zone and into invigorating new territory.
The Atlantis EP is five tracks of Vincenzo Salvia’s own brand of 80s inspired synth music that channels much of the classic Italo Disco Synth of his homeland while adding ideas and aesthetics that have, up to this point. been buried beneath at the bottom of the ocean’s floor; unexperienced until now. Much like the incredible artwork that ignites the visual aspect of this EP, the thematic is new and fresh, broadening the aural horizon and really capturing the 80s spirit and feeling in a refreshingly beautiful way.
Beginning with sonar beacons and crashing waves ‘Over The Pillars’ washes over you with it’s dignified melodies and heavily narrative based arrangements. Unlike Auto Radio’s much more pop based arrangements the stories told in the tracks on Atlantis are heavily detailed with nuances and soundtrack inspired passages that continue to divulge the ocean’s mysterious secrets to you in an elegantly adept manner. The parts take your imagination through levels of depths and into delicate refrains that override the underlying dangers with wondrous anticipation.
Our first companions in this new watery realm are the ‘Mermaids’ and Vincenzo Salvia’s innate gift for capturing the spirit of classic Italo Synth is brought out into the shallows as light filters through the water and glints seductively on the curvaceous mythical creatures. A lightness is imbued into the melodies adding a playful and carefree atmosphere, idyllic and entrancing while inspiring a heartfelt joyousness.
The richness of the underwater kingdom is brought to life in the third chapter ‘Gold And Ivory’. These two very tactile substances are reflected in the sparkling refrain that dances from side to side in a most inventive way. The instruments used on this EP feel like they’ve been coerced and caressed into being with their delicately elegant tendrils moving effortlessly in the underwater currents, conveying the magical majesty of Atlantean culture. Airs of sorrow and remembrance are layered in with a ghostly serenity towards the end of this piece that adds a reverent depth to the musical richness.
‘Towards The Light’ becomes a pivotal point in the adventure as inquisitive melodies offer bright possibilities and promises with riddle-like buoyancy. The atmosphere takes a more dramatic turn as the costs of one’s choices begin to appear, the light becomes stronger but is it a light of warning or of welcoming? Melodies play off each other, never really uttering the answer, but instead purposefully making the choice a one that requires listening to the heart and the mind.
This all becomes moot as the final chapter, ‘Consequences’, plays out the the true eventuality, that the choices we make are guided by forces beyond own consciousness and the Atlantis of fable and lore is not a tomb from which riches are plundered, but an idealised path that human evolution branched away from. The wonders of the deep rise with crescendos of jubilant melodies and the mystical Atlantean magic gives us a glimpse of a beautiful world we could have had. The dazzling sights and sounds are enrapturing, concepts we can barely grasp flash before us and as our comprehension almost reaches breaking point we’re sent back to the surface; seemingly in an instant. The crashing waves of our own world serve to wake us from the fantastical dream-world we just experienced.
The spirit of adventure and exploration is a running theme throughout these pieces of music and each serves a different aesthetic dimension to Vincenzo Salvia’s vision. To say this EP capture my imagination is a monstrous understatement, from beginning to end this journey was wholly tactile, I could see the beauty of Atlantis and feel it’s tragedy also. The narrative is stunningly well crafted and is a huge achievement in how visual a soundtrack can be.
Future City Records presents Vincenzo Salvia’s Atlantis EP on their Bandcamp page here. It’s available at a name-your-own-price point but I encourage all fans and supporters of the 80s inspired synth scene to dig deep and show your appreciation for this work of art. The five chapters of Atlantis are individual, self contained stories that intricately describe this mysterious realm in a totally mesmerising way. The ocean thematic is a perfect pairing to the Italo Synth palette, as evidenced previously in Plaisance’s work, but the other-worldly fantasy aspects make Vincenzo Salvia’s vision unlike anything else. As a conceptual artist Vincenzo Salvia has made something very special in this EP; Atlantis is a truly Synthetix Reference Experience.