Boomkat Product Review:
Nicola Ratti might be primarily known as a guitarist, but this time around he's decided to set his mind on eking sound from the wheezing circuitboards of electrical instruments (hence the album’s title). Ratti uses his electrical companions as simply the first step in a process, and proceeds to bend the source sounds into complex rhythmic forms ending up with tracks that sound like shuffling techno, rasping dub or the kind of chattering electronic manipulations you’d usually associate with Raster Noton. That’s not to say that ‘220 Tones’ is simply an exercise in postmodern digitalism; there is a warm, breathing, heart to the record which belies its curling electrical roots. The scratchy sound of reel-to-reel tape and vinyl, the distant, haunted organ hums and drones, or the pulsing blips of a half-functioning synthesizer make up the album’s core. Just when you think the glitches might get too much there’s something to drag the record back down to earth, and that’s what makes ‘220 Tones’ so engrossing. Somewhere in there lies the blurred cassette dubbed nostalgia of Not Not Fun and the pointed avant-garde experiments of PAN, and yet Ratti manages to distil and re-synthesize these sounds into one coherent whole. The result it nothing short of electrifying.