Italian-born Alessandro Cortini is one of the new true masters of sound. The synth expert is probably best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails between 2005 and 2008, touring and recording with the band, playing synth and guitar. His most recent work on his ongoing Sonno series saw Cortini work with field recordings made from everyday objects, and work them into emotional and expressive mood music.
Drawing inspiration from the likes of Donald Buchla, Suzanne Ciani and Charles Cohen, and the emotional possibilities of sound, Alessandro Conti's music takes you on progressive paths of discovery. Ahead of his upcoming headline show at Berlin's Atonal Festival, we delve into the mind of the man himself, discovering the records that changed his life.
What was the first record you bought?
The earliest memory is riding my bike after the middle school exam straight to the record store to buy Faith No More's The Real Thing. I believe it's the first cassette I bought with my own money, as opposed to copying one of my friends.
What song reminds you of growing up in Forlì?
Rocket Queen, Guns N Roses. The whole Appetite For Destruction record, actually. There was a lot of 80s hard rock in my life growing up, mixed with 80s anthemic pop/rock tunes. GNR was definitely a good fit for both scenes. Also… what about that weird synth line in Paradise City after the first intro chorus? Has anyone brought that up before? I am alone in this?
What song made you fall in love with electronic music?
Doot Doot, Freur. The drum programming and synth howls were ear opening to me when I was ten. The vocal delays, the spaces, the lullaby melody, the pads, the synth line at the end... then the outro is literally my favorite outro of all time. I had a chance to meet Rick Smith from Underworld after their last show in town, but didn't have the guts to tell him how much this song meant to me.
What song reminds you of your parents?
Cat Stevens, Father and Son from the Tea for the Tillerman album. My parents music preferences shaped a lot of my youth and aside from The Beatles this is what I listen to when I want to be on the couch with them, but can't.
What song made you fall in love with sound design?
Aphex Twin, Peek 824545201, off the Richard D. James Album.
Is there a song has your favourite intro?
Radiohead, Everything In It's Right Place from Kid A.
Depeche Mode, Condemnation, off Songs of Faith and Devotion. To be honest, the whole song is a chorus to me.
The Chemical Brothers, Let Forever Be
What Nine Inch Nails track resonates with you the most?
All The Love In The World from the With Teeth album. It was the first track they played me in the studio the day I joined, and the first glimpse at what was to come. I really love that record, and this track marked a huge departure for myself and the band, connectedly or not.
What song got you through your first heartbreak?
Duran Duran, Save a Prayer, off the Arena album