The most celestial modular synths committed to record.
Heinali has long been creating evocative modular synth-based performances where everything is pure technological bliss. Blinking beeps, lush arpeggiators and fuzzy basslines. All entangled in a curious mesh of sound that always manages to hit me right in the feels. ‘Madrigals’ sees Heinali merge the digital future with the past and brings in some beautiful string accompaniment to his computer world.
The idea behind Madrigals is to explore how late Medieval music is highly based in maths and that modern music is often being created using mathematical equations too. Heinali brings the merger of the two ends of time together by creating two distinct musical sections. The Medieval section consists of baroque viola and oboe, violin and theorbo (a plucked instrument like a giant lute – I’d never heard of it before). The digital modern section is a collage of modular synths.
Across the four tracks, totalling 40 minutes of music, each song gradually unfolds slowly but assuredly. ‘Rondine’ opens with a glass delicacy that shimmers and shines. The strings are playful and add tiny flourishes to the synths that blink and bleep like floating stars. It really is a magical experience to have the music just wash over you like a strange etherical cleanse. I know how hippy that sounds but it just works. ‘Beatrice’ is a deeper and slightly more caustic track as the strings feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Underneath the synths slowly rotate around like the slowly turning globe in the solar system to accompany the sad and pensive strings. ‘Giardino’ sees the oboe taking centre stage in a beautiful duet that opens the track between it and a twisting synth flicker. Eventually, the theorbo joins in for the most Medieval track of the set. ‘Vita Nova’ closes out the album with a purely synth-based finale that is quintessential Heinali, evoking more emotion from hypnotic pulses and rhythms without the use a drum or anything other than keyboards and maths. There is a section where the music starts to speed up and run faster and faster as if we are galloping through time – it is so well done.
A unique entry into his catalogue but still inkeeping with everything that has come before, Madrigals is a beautiful piece of art that feels emotionally charged and entirely unique when I look back at all the music I’ve listened to this year. You need to get in tune with its cadences and rhythms and slow your mind down early on to fully appreciate everything that is going on. I also really recommend listening with headphones on for the full experience too. Easily one of the most beautiful pieces of music this year.
Recommended track: Rondine
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