Prior to making his third solo LP, Avanti, Alessandro Cortini rediscovered an archive of home videos made by his grandfather, who passed away a few years previously. Among the cache were several Super 8 films of family gatherings as well as hours of dinner-time conversations recorded on cassette for posterity. It was as if Cortini had unearthed a perfect fossil of his childhood. The films, however, were missing one crucial element – the sound. So Cortini decided he would restore the missing audio in his own way, by composing a musical accompaniment to the footage.
Avanti is rich in anomalies and irregularities – much like our memories – which Cortini let creep into his compositions by recording live on a single synthesizer, the EMS Synthi AKS, without overdubs. The album's tracks evoke the feeling of nostalgia through the warmth of their instrumentation and samples from Cortini's grandfather's archive, which bookend each track. Take opener "Iniziare" which, with its undercurrent of bass and swelling string-like motifs, is like a sepia-tinged photograph brought to life – at once elegiac and uplifting. Or the wistful "Nonfare" that, with its fuzzy, organ-like tones veiled by noise, sounds like a faded memory. While on "Vincere," the lush layering of effervescent melodies with choral harmonies paints a picture of a carefree, sunlit scene from childhood, now painfully out of our reach.
The recordings that are sampled throughout the album offer us a deeply personal glimpse into Cortini's childhood but they also have the effect of stirring our own recollections. "I wanted the recordings to facilitate this connection at an emotional level with the listener in the same way I feel connected to it personally," he says. With Avanti, Cortini has created a soundtrack not just for his own past but also for ours.