Nosound have come a long way since their humble beginnings as a solo project of main man Giancarlo Erra. Six studio albums along with the odd EP and live CD/DVD have seen them hailed as one of the most interesting up and coming alt/art rock bands in Europe. Nosound inventively combines influences from ’70s psychedelia, ’80s/’90s ambient and contemporary alternative and post rock.
The follow up to 2016’s ‘Scintilla’ sees the band forging a different sound. “Allow Yourself’ is a new phase for Nosound. Finding a new balance between organic and electronic sounds. stepping away from rock structures and ditching guitars to have more space for experimentation.”, says Giancarlo, “It is a stripping back of what we have known before, and its inspirations are in a different field altogether, finding the band in a new space once more, wholly embracing Alternative/Electronic influences.”
So is the new sound of Nosound (sorry, couldn’t resist that!) a step in the right direction. Well yes….and no…
There are times when you bemoan the absence of the lush chords and wonderful orchestrations of the previous albums, especially ‘Afterthoughts’ and ‘Scintilla’ and, to my ears, some tracks that just don’t work at all. However, at other times, it’s minimalist feel and heartrending simplicity is painstakingly beautiful.
The highlights of the album are the wonderful, ethereal sounding shelter, my drug, this night and saviour, four tracks where the band’s desire to take the stripped back route works just about perfectly, leaving you with a feeling of whimsical, melancholy delight. The slow burning desire of at peace works particularly well, all the pent up desire burning under the surface but never allowed to break free.
The less is more approach works less well on ego drip, don’t you dare and weights, all good songs but just lacking that spark I have come to expect from this band. I just cannot get into growing in me and defy at all, I’ll just leave it that they are not my cup of tea.
So, overall, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the new album. I always applaud a band’s desire to progress and change, that is the lifeblood of music but, for me, there is just too much pared back minimalist style on the album. The good tracks are very, very good indeed but they don’t quite make up for the others. It is by no means a bad album but the change in direction just doesn’t fit with my musical ethos.
Nosound’s 2018 studio album Allow Yourself finds the band in a new space once more having grown alongside their evolving and borderless label Kscope. The new material is a stripping back of what has come before, and its inspirations are in a different field altogether, based on founder and songwriter Giancarlo Erra’s own shifting interests.
“Time has arrived for a radical change towards an alternative and electronic direction, being the music I have enjoyed the most in recent years.”
Giancarlo Erra chose the track “Don’t You Dare” as the band’s first single & video to reveal this new direction: “The ‘daring’ aspect is part of the ‘allowing yourself’ process, expressed in this track by an unsettling melodic line and an unusual up-tempo conclusion with disco-like electronic drums. The song then begins its second stage, presenting acoustic instruments in new ways (cello) and then several synced electronics mixed with chopped/inverted acoustic parts.”
Scintilla (2016) began the process and Allow Yourself takes the band’s minimalist vision even further, incorporating elements from The National, Notwist, and Portishead, alongside an approach to mixing inspired by Bowie’s Blackstar and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.
Founder/writer Giancarlo Erra reflected on the direction of the new material, “The idea behind the album is encased in the title “Allow Yourself”, something directed to the listener but was first of all directed to myself. After attempting to find my own way and leave behind early influences and categorisations, I realised I was afraid of committing to the full change I was chasing. I needed to put myself out of my comfort zone, which meant lots of studying and completely changing my studio and instrumentation. A truly deep change happened and I discovered that with uncertainty and insecurity, with limitations and uneasiness, a more varied and exciting creative process sparked.”
Allow Yourself was recorded at Erra’s The Bench Music in Norfolk, with additional recording in Rome at Binario2. Songwriting, engineering, mixing, production, mastering and artwork has been handled by the frontman, which has resulted in a coherent message in the band’s new work.
Allow Yourself will be released on the following formats – all available to pre-order HEREnow
LP –presented on audiophile 180g heavyweight ‘Crystal Clear’ vinyl in a reverse-board gatefold sleeve.
CD – presented in digipack reverse-board packaging with a 16-page booklet
Digital – available on all major download and streaming services, as well as select HD 24-bit download services, as both a standard mix and binaural mix.
Pre-orders through the Kscope Store will receive an exclusive signed postcard & wristband(till stocks last), immediate download of the first single Don’t You Dare and, on release date, the full album as mp3,uncompressed binaural mix & FLAC 5.1 surround sound mix.
With the release of Nosound’s new studio album, Scintilla, the band is pleased to be able to premiere their new video for the song “In Celebration Of Life” featuring guest vocals from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh.
Giancarlo Erra explains how the song is a collaboration with and tribute to music fan AlecWildley “’In Celebration Of Life’ was probably among the first tracks written for Scintilla, it was inspired by an artist and well known member of the fellow prog community, Alec Wildey. Those who knew Alec know what happened t and I’m not going to delve into details, but it really was a tragedy that shook everyone.
He was a big fan of Nosound and our Kscope label mates, in the past Alec contacted me to see if we could work together, but I was always too busy, this time I felt particularly hit by the situation, for personal and musical reasons, so I wrote the track and recorded it all quickly in my studio as I wanted Alec to be able to hear it. His lyrics fitted perfectly the music and the message we wanted to send. His reaction to the song was, and I suspect will always be the highest point in my personal career, with my music I felt part of something bigger and beyond me.
Although it was a very difficult time when we decided to collaborate, paradoxically we created a celebration of life song. As I always say the beauty of music is to transform something negative into something positive, transform pain in beauty, anger in happiness, desperation in hope.”
Giancarlo continues on how Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh became involved “This uplifting anthem to life immediately struck a chord with Vincent. I played him the song without saying anything about all this, and he liked it immediately. When I told him about Alec, his emotional and moving reaction told me that he too was somehow linked to that situation, and we instantly knew that we were going to work together on this track. Anathema and Nosound were two of Alec’s favourite bands and we know now that wherever he is, he’s enjoying the track he worked on with me and Vincent.
For the video we wanted to tell a story, but one that everyone can interpret in their own way: there was a lot of thought put in as to how to leave it open. So,while I’m not going to reveal my personal story, I encourage you to look at the details and enjoy the song we wrote In Celebration Of Life, something we should all remember to do every day.”
Scintilla will be Nosound’s fifth album, introducing a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band, it is an emotionally complex and musically direct work presenting a stripped-down set of compositions that mark a major departure from Nosound’s trademark symphonic lushness and production precision. Taking in influences from Post Rock, Shoegaze and Alt-Singer-Songwriters, the album imaginatively utilises a mostly organic and acoustic sound palette. As well as featuring Andrea Chimenti , Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh lends his distinctive vocals to two of the album’s tracks, and cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns once more to the Nosound fold (this time in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity).
Scintilla is available on the following formats:
A deluxe CD/Blu-Ray in Mediabook with a 24 page booklet. The Blu-Ray contains HD stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes, plus additional video content.
An audiophile double 180g vinyl edition (mastered at 45rpm to ensure quality) in a gatefold cover with booklet and poly-lined inner bags. Also includes a download card featuring the vinyl master at 320kbps.
“The power of music, whether joyous or cathartic must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace–”
― Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
I write reviews and run this website purely for the love of music. I don’t get paid for anything I write or publish and this bothers me not one iota. I am a music lover and I feel it is my mission to expose as many people out there as I can to some of the wonderful, awe inspiring, life affirming songs that are created mostly to be heard and to enrich people’s worlds.
Hopefully this will mean that they will then support the artists by buying the music or sharing it with even more people which will enable those musicians to carry on their creative endeavours. A musical Circle of Life if you like.
This could be upbeat music that just puts you in a really great mood or music written specifically for the love of life. When I’ve had a major upheaval in my life I like to listen to music that soothes my soul and calms me down, cathartic songs that can take the worries and strains of real life and just smooth them away to ease me into a place of calmness. I’m not bothered about genre, it is the music that speaks to me the loudest that I want to hear and, more often than not, it’s one band who my radar zeroes in on….
Italian alternative band Nosound started as a one man studio project in 2005 by Giancarlo Erra, but has since grown into a five piece band, evolving into something unique, focused and powerful. The music is evocative and intense, with personal songwriting. Influences range from Pink Floyd to Brian Eno, from Porcupine Tree to Sigur Ros, passing through rock and electronic/ambient.
As well as Giancarlo (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Nosound is Marco Berni (keyboards, vocals) Alessandro Luci (bass, upright bass, keyboards) PaoloVigliarolo (acoustic & electric guitars) and Giulio Caneponi (drums, percussions, vocals).
I discovered the band upon the release of their 2013 album ‘Afterthoughts’ and I was immediately bowled over by their particular type of widescreen melancholia and wistful imagery which really struck a chord with me. This led to the discovery of their back catalogue including such gems as 2013’s reissue of the wondrous ‘Lightdark’, a remaster of the album originally released in 2008.
Their trademark symphonic lushness and winsome ennui really suited many of my moods and I almost felt reborn and pulling free of the trappings of a painful life after listening to the music.
So, you can imagine that news of a new album by this expressive band is going to make me a happy boy and you’d be 100% correct. Earlier this year an email arrived from the PR company stating:
‘NOSOUND ANNOUNCE NEW STUDIO ALBUM – SCINTILLA & RELEASE FIRST VIDEO FOR “SHORT STORY”’
After barely containing my excitement, I ploughed on to see what we had coming in store for us.
Featuring guest appearances from Anathema’sVincent Cavanagh and acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti, ‘Scintilla’ is inspired by personal upheaval and a desire for change and is a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band. Cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns tot he fold but, this time, in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity.
He goes on to say:
“The intention with ‘Scintilla’ was to do something a bit more different than previously and illustrating more vigorously what Nosound is today.
During a decade of activity, my listening tastes have shifted gradually towards a more simpler, more direct music with an intimate character that still retains a certain richness and detail in sound.
Northern folk and alt singer-songwriter music are possibly the stronger influences, but generally speaking, everything that is simple, direct and minimal but with rich sound is what I like, and what I hope this album is.”
This latest work marks the beginning of the second phase of Nosound’s fascinating career.
Low key and almost under the radar Short Story makes a very unassuming entrance. Delicate piano, lush soundscapes and an almost ethereal vocal immediately set the tone and calm any rushing heartbeats. With an almost organic creativity to the music, it seems to have a life of its own as it wistfully drifts across your psyche with its gentle sonic palette. Last Lunch immediately takes on a more melancholic and dreamlike note, the music being the tapestry upon which the vocals paint their temperate scene. Initially a paragon of self-control and emotional depth, it really touches you deeply, the wondrous Cello is particularly emotive and touching. 7 minutes of laid back, low key and yet deeply stirring music has an ultimately cathartic outcome and I find myself afloat upon a sea of my own dreams and aspirations. I saw Nosound play live at The Resonance Festival two years ago and can still remember how much of himself Giancarlo puts into the songs as he sings them. They are part of him and come from the depths of his very soul. As the song comes to a close you feel you have been through quite an emotional journey and are all the better for it.
There is a whimsical feel to the opening of Little Man, nostalgic and playful, as the chiming keyboards resonate. It soon opens up into a much more mature track as the soothing strings and heartfelt vocals stir up emotions deep in your psyche. The way the drums are delivered is relaxed and composed and the Cello, once again, provides moments of pure indulgence. A sinuous soundscape is created that leaves tendrils of thoughtful contemplation floating around in your mind, the meandering guitar playing is another highlight of this reflective song. In Celebration of Life sees the first contribution from Vincent Cavanagh and the introduction is as sonically intimate as they come, small pearls of musical delight surround you and leave you in a tranquil state, musing what is to come next. More verdant strings continue the meditative mood. The whole musical vista that is laid before you is celestially sublime and, when the vocals begin, all breathy and gossamer like, the spell is set and you are caught right in the middle of a thing of utmost beauty. The exquisitely heart-breaking solo is absolutely amazing and strikes you right in your heart, a song of pure delight and wonder.
Sogno e Incendio was co-written, and is sung by, renowned Italian singer Andrea Chimenti, it is serenely intense and full of a deeply felt passion. The vocals are delivered in such a fashion as to leave you hanging on every word, whether you understand them or not. The musical accompaniment is classically superb and compliments Andrea’s voice perfectly, it is like a melancholy lament but is oh so beautiful, painfully so in places. The Italian language, especially when sung, is a thing of charm and grace and I am left with a feeling of utter bliss as the elegant guitar floats around your mind. The trancelike Emily is like wisps of cloudlike delights that fleetingly leave an impression on you before moving on, transient and ephemeral notes of music that leave you in a dreamlike reverie. It is surreal but in an exquisite fashion and tugs at your heartstrings all too briefly before departing to who knows where.
Cavanagh returns for The Perfect Wife, a mournful and somber track which wears its heart on its sleeve. There’s a deep lying and potent passion at the core of this powerfully compelling song, the ardent sentiment is clear in the fervor of the vocals. The somber and forlorn music is incredibly emotive and fills you with a sorrowful empathy, the Cello seems to become animate and alive with its own character and draws you even further into this dark and plaintive story. These musicians leave nothing behind and exhaust you with their intensity and ardor, as impassioned a track as you will hear this year. What appears to be an alluring love song at first with its tender piano and fragile vocals, Love is Forever soon reveals its unexpected sarcasm in the cynical lyrics yet you can never get away from the fact that this song has style and artistry at its heart, quite a conumdrum. I just let the winsome music wash over me and enjoy its cathartic powers.
Evil Smile is an elegantly charismatic track that takes you on a meandering journey through a wonderful acoustic soundscape, the organic feel is increasingly evident in the flow and texture of the vocals and the hypnotic music, especially the strings. The trance-like instrumental sections leave you mesmerised, only recovering when the introspective voice of Giancarlo wakes you from your musing state. The final title track Scintilla takes all that has come before and amalgamates it into something even more divine. A fantastical musical journey where you are the only passenger and there is a musical universe of a myriad opportunities in front of you. Hesitant and slightly unsure, it takes small steps before the halting vocals draw you in and the journey commences for real. A song (and, indeed an album) worth listening to with headphones on and silence around you to pick up every tiny nuance and subtlety. Enjoy a fine wine and just relax as this seraphic track cleanses your heart and soul and encourages the deepest parts of your very being with its almost heavenly grace and charm.
Not so much a leap into the unknown as a slight re-imagining of who they were before, ‘Scintilla’ is more than just a piece of music or an album of new songs. It alters your state of mind and your very essence and you come out of the other side feeling a better and more complete person. That Giancarlo Erra and Nosound can achieve that is testament to their amazing songwriting skills and musical ability. I implore you to buy this album and, as soon as you can, see them perform it live, I promise you will not be disappointed!
Nosound’s new studio album, their fifth, entitled ‘Scintilla’ marks a major departure and includes guest appearances from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh and acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti.
After a decade of crafting a very particular type of widescreen melancholia and wistful imagery, Nosound’s fifth studio album ‘Scintilla’ introduces a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band.
Inspired by personal upheaval and a desire for change, ‘Scintilla’ is an emotionally complex and musically direct work presenting a stripped-down set of compositions that mark a major departure from Nosound’s trademark symphonic lushness and production precision. Giancarlo Erra says,
“The intention with ‘Scintilla’ was to do something a bit more different than previously and illustrating more vigorously what Nosound is today. During a decade of activity, my listening tastes have shifted gradually towards a simpler, more direct music with an intimate character that still retains a certain richness and detail in sound. Northern folk and alt singer-songwriter music are possibly the stronger influences, but generally speaking, everything that is simple, direct and minimal but with rich sound is what I like, and what I hope this album is.”
Taking in influences from Post Rock, Shoegaze and Alt-Singer-Songwriters, the album imaginatively utilises a mostly organic and acoustic sound palette.
Musically looser and more sonically intimate than the band’s previous releases, ‘Scintilla’s’ emphasis is placed firmly on feeling rather than technique.
Anathema’sVincent Cavanagh lends his distinctive vocals to two of the album’s tracks –In Celebration of Lifeand The Perfect Wife, and cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns once more to the Nosound fold (this time in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity). Acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti co-writes and sings on the serene Sogno E Incendio.
Shifting from the uncharacteristic sarcasm of Love is Forever and potent anger of The Perfect Wife to the dreamy sensitivity of Emily and the unusually uplifting Celebration of Life, ‘Scintilla’ represents the boldest statement of Nosound’s career so far.
A cathartic album of emotional extremes, Scintilla marks the brave beginning of the second phase of Nosound’s fascinating career.
Nosound have launched their first video for the song Short Story – Giancarlo comments of the song and video,
“This is one of the shortest and less structured Nosound songs, both musically and lyrically, and yet one that perfectly sets the mood to ‘different’ and prepares for the album. A statement of intentions, so much that it is the opening of the album and the one we choose to be the first single. The video was shot specifically for this song, introducing the places where the album was partly written and recorded, and at the same time illustrating the emotional extremes present on the whole album, being at the same time delicate and thunderous without very much for the in-between.”
1. Short Story
2. Last Lunch
3. Little Man
4. In Celebration of Life
5. Sogno e Incendio
7. The Perfect Wife
8. Love is Forever
9. Evil Smile