Label: Joy De Vivre
Release Date: 24/08/2014
Retina.it communicate best in the language of machines. Having produced under the alias for over a decade, Italian duo Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono have spent this period exploring the sonic capabilities of their assorted racks of hardware which are to put it mildly, extensive. As their most recent release ‘Ops-ci’ testifies, the creativity with which the pair work their equipment has seen them turn in releases which are consistently refreshing and unique in their approach.
This particular EP treads a balance between clinical, Raster-Noton style synthesis and something at least somewhat more accessible. Although you might have to listen inbetween the staggered rhythms somewhat, there is a off-kilter funk and groove to many of these tracks, made all the more satisfying by its subtlety. Second track ‘delta.point’ makes a strong example: following on from the disconcerting soundscapes of opening track ‘collapse’, ‘delta.point’ darts to and fro, light-footed kicks dotting about between equally nimble surges of static, squeaking hi-end tastefully interspersed. ’[N]eon’ is similarly agile, as reverberant stabs and snaking melodies dart inbetween Retina.it’s squelching percussion. The effect calls to mind the charmingly idiosyncratic micro-house offerings of the late/great ~scape imprint.
At other points in the release however the pair seem to take a completely contrasting approach. Listening to ‘gamma_minus’ feels icy and claustrophobic; like being submerged in dark waters, occasionally rising to gasp for air before being plunged into the blackness once again.
‘Ops-ci’ serves as a reminder as to how painfully under-appreciated the Italian duo are; this EP being just one of many stunningly well-constructed electronic gems released from under the Retina.it banner over their many years of service. That said, those in the know can relish the release for what it is - a graceful addition to their ever expanding repertoire.