Image credit: Mathieu Charbonneau and Pietro Amato
Montréal-based sound designers/producers, Mathieu Charbonneau and Pietro Amato are returning under their Charbonneau x Amato moniker to share their new single, “Évaporations” alongside announcing details of their second full-length album, Synth Works Vol. 2 which is out via Backward Music on March 4, 2022. The new single follows the recently-released track, “Light Memoir“ that found support at Tome to the Weather Machine as well as dates at MUTEK –– you can watch a MUTEK improv session here.
Though their names may not be instantly recognisable or familiar to a broader listening audience, both Charbonneau and Amato are seasoned musicians with a rich history in music, sound and score work. The pair initially forged their path together as two-thirds of the effusive instrumental trio Torngat; Amato’s longtime projects include Bell Orchestre and The Luyas with occasional contributions in Arcade Fire, Snailhouse and Amon Tobin, and Charbonneau (a former Luya), works with Avec Pas d’Casque, Organ Mood, Ferriswheel and Suuns.
Charbonneau x Amato are formed of a modular synth, a Farfisa, drum machines and mono synths. In their synthetic dialogues and rich electronic sketches, Charbonneau x Amato invokes spacious soundscapes and complex textures with ambient contours, bathed in elegant harmonic layers and wavering rhythms.
Though they may not have known it, Charbonneau and Amato were working at the precipice of an era. In March of 2020, they holed up in Studio La Traque, a bright, high-ceilinged recording space along the train route through Montreal’s Rosemont neighborhood, for five days of winter sun and sonic dialogue. On day one, the duo set up their respective synths, organs and pedals facing one another, interconnected. Over the following week, the longtime collaborators worked at expanding their shared musical language through exploration, carving out sumptuous worlds of modular melody recalling 70s komische and environmental music. The pieces on Synth Works Vol 2 were recorded organically, live off the floor with minimal overdubs. And as the sessions closed on March 17th, the country shut down around them.
Charbonneau / Amato put melody and mood front and center on this second volume of luxuriant, immersive synth music, like a humanist balm amidst the ongoing wave of conceptronica. The front half of the album reveals the duo’s knack for developing supple emotional terrain through the unfurling of melodic thread, recalling like-hearted Japanese duo Inoyama Land. Each piece within the collection bears a kind of lightness; never completely joyous per se, the tracks function more like stations along a curious journey, unfolding with fascination. The sense of levity reaches a peak at midpoint with lead single ‘Light Memoir’, a track conjuring the motorik, krautrock propulsion. The following piece, ‘Interblip’ carefully deconstructs the momentum, leading the listener into a reflective couplet of tracks for a denouement. Taken as a whole, Synth Works Vol.2 is the sound of two composers roving into uncharted territory, ever mindful of their fellow passengers.
Pre-order Synth Works Vol. 2 by Charbonneau x Amato here
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