What does ONDA sound like?
Classical piano and new age chiptune collide for a new slice of contemporary classical music.
The review of ONDA – Nami
Stefano Guzzetti has been composing classical music for many years but ONDA, one of his new projects, allows him the creative freedom to explore electronica in a classical sense. Stefano’s piano is still present, but now it’s dressed up and nestled in various keyboards, drum machines and retro synths. It is exactly how I’d imagine a contemporary classical artist would tackle chiptune and ‘Nami’ is a superb classical crossover piece.
‘My Sunset’ opens the EP with a sublime soft piano that has been slightly distorted in places to hint at some of the production to come. It is intimate but soon lo-fi beats start to seep, followed by airy synths. ‘Falena’ is like a gentle, careful ambient house track. The house beat is a simple throb with lots of cymbal interplay and that allows a shimmering wave of synths to take over. Piano is present early on but the track twists into something more synthpad and arpeggiator-focused over its duration. I’m reminded of composer Masashi Hamauzu and his work on the Final Fantasy XIII series. It’s a warm soft hue of synths that envelops the listener but there is a throbbing beat to it too.
‘Asimov’ is a curious track as the bassline sounds like the resonance of a phone on vibrate. It hits hard compared to the ethereal synths that the rest of the track has and for the first two minutes, it doesn’t quite align. Whereas the previous tracks were cinematic in an emotive way, this track goes for a sinister sci-fi sound. After halfway, dramatic piano chords announce themselves and the bass makes much more sense, giving the drama a satisfying gravitas. The closing track ‘Sleepyhead’ is where ONDA gets to explore his dance side. The track starts off as a simple two-chord sway and although that never leaves, more instruments pile in to transition the song from an ambient drone cloud to something danceable. The bitty nature of the synths evokes chiptune memories without them being a full-blown chiptune sound but I’m not sure they need to be. This is a gentle sway to lullaby land and a salute to exciting dreams too.
A curious mix of contemporary classical ideas and playful ambient synths and drum loops, this sounds like Stefano Guzzetti is enjoying an electronic playground. One thing that’s omnipresent across the release is that the ambient synths are slightly detuned. It doesn’t sound sinister or foreboding. It’s more like each chord wants to flex and bounce a little. Ultimately ‘Nami’ works best as a breezy and light classical ambient house EP. Wistful, lazy and airy throughout, I’m looking forward to seeing what else ONDA’s playground has to offer.
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