Friday, November 21, 2008

Feel free to mod my mood, Alessandro Cortini

I was shuffling through my room earlier in hot pursuit of my glasses (can't see the coffee maker without that shit) when I shuffled across an old issue (August) of Electronic Musician Magazine with Alessandro Cortini on the cover.

Cortini is not just Trent Reznor's go to synth/sound manipulation guy and Ladytron remixer extraordinaire, he's half of Modwheelmood, a Los Angeles-based electronic duo. I got really into these dudes in my first round of MIDI classes because I figured there had to be something that is MIDI-heavy and isn't Massive Attack or underground hip hop. Modwheelmood blends actual, for-realsies instruments with all the programmed insanity well enough to create a distinctive crunchy indie pop rock sound. They are somewhat Postal Service-y in nature but more technically advanced and less...wussy.

The featured Italian love tank has a unique voice and when I say unique I don't mean it in the way that people say Joanna Newsom's is. I mean it's high-pitched and a little ethereally whispery at times but not obnoxious. One of the biggest highlights in their work, for me is Cortini's somewhat innovative approach to sound manipulation.

This is a video of Cortini using a Lemur control surface with a Monome on a piano. OMG can you say "spank bank?":

Also, a video of Cortini with his Buchla 200e modular synth:

All of Modwheelmood's material is released digitally, available through iTunes or Amazon and a couple songs are up on their myspace. "Sunday Morning" and "MHz" are both good ones but some of my favorites are actually remixes off the "Things Will Change" charity remix album, like Home Video remix of "Going Nowhere" and the Kangding Ray remix of "Things Will Change." One of my other favorites, "Problem Me" is featured in this here youtube video of a dot that doesn't move:

Happy trails my friends, happy trails,


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