Nicola Di Croce - Affective Room Tones [901 Editions - 2021]
Affective Room Tones is a release that sits in a strange place between drone making, modified field recordings, stretched ‘n’ wonky noise texturing, and sound art. It’s certainly something fairly distinctive and unequal- though it’s not an entirely successful venture. With sometimes the structure and flow of the compositions becoming a bit too blurred /vague to remain wholly compelling.
Nicola Di Croce is an Italian architect, musician, sound artist, and scholar- he’s been releasing audio work since around 2015, and according to Discogs he has six releases to his name- though this release is not mentioned, so I'd take that with a pinch of salt.
Affective Room Tones is a four-track CD/ digital download- and each of these runs around the nine-minute mark. And as far as I can gather the tracks are created from room sounds- where someone may or may not be playing an instrument in- with Di Croce altering both the room tones, musicians sounds (from their instruments or themselves), and general audience ambience.
The album moves from the feedback and rattle, later modified string drone meets slow pitch shifting and room settling elements of "Tone I". Onto the slow reverb, knock and grate of the opening "Tone II"- which later shifts into a blend of cold ‘n’ clear guitar tones (recalling a more random take on Howard Shore’s score for Crash), gentle reverb knocks, and neck fiddles. Through to meshed-up and mangled audience ambience of "Tone III"- that later starts sprouting tolling ‘n’ winding sting & key tone hits, before dropping into muffled out sustain hazes. Onto the stretched audience tones meet nearly harmonic ambient rise ‘n’ glow of "Tone IV".
In conclusion, Affective Room Tones is certainly an interesting proposition on paper. And I enjoyed elements of many tracks here, the issue is that only one or two of the tracks fully work for me. I’d say check out samples first and see if it clicks more with you.Roger Batty