Boomkat Product Review:
With incredible tactility and nuance Nicola Ratti (Bellows) evokes odd, bittersweet sensations and stimulates the proprioceptive senses in his definitive new solo opus for Students of Decay.
As usual Ratti gets the most out of minimal input on ‘Continental’, but where his previous string of LPs up to and including 2017’s ‘The Collection’ were defined by their austerity, his music now feels more expansive, sensuous, and subtly illuminated. It was conceived of by Ratti as a “series of big rooms or places to get lost in, full of small details and characterized each by a single flavor or perfume” and we can vouch the fact that he’s beautifully achieved his aim within.
The album’s eight tracks tease the listener’s sense of anticipation and orientation with an uncanny, calmly psychedelic potential perhaps equivalent to the effect of microdosing or jetlag. Entering the gates of ‘Palace’ he comes off like K. Leimer playing in the official residence of Rashad Becker’s Notional Species, and continues to work inside that imagined aesthetic between glassy geometries also recalling the quietest side of Sote in ’nº1’, while ’nº2’ suggests an electro-acoustic simulation of Japanese gaga or Korean classical court styles, and ’nº7’ comms off like Bellows at the beach. However the Lp’s trippiest highlight is reserved to ‘Cuarto’, where a quualude-loaded Dale Cornish drawls over non-Newtonian bass texture and tart harmonic fumes, before ’nº8’ melts and tootles like a semi-organic Pierre Bastien creation left to shrivel and curdle in the sun.
It’s the most satisfying stuff, a real eight course taster platter for the ear.