The fact that Gigi “Gigaldi” Gratt plays a half dozen different instruments on his second solo album is impressive but will come as no surprise to those familiar with the creative range of this musical jack-of-all-trades and master of many. What is surprising, however, is the central role of the spoken word on AIRE. The A side of the LP offers five tracks which could easily be read/heard as experimental poetry set to music. The musical compositions are as free-spirited as they are compact, while the lyrics are cryptically analytical. Gigaldi lends his voice to a pulsating beat, contradicts it with melodious loops, chimes and floating chants, in order to set it free in a sphere of skillful tinkering. His delivery oscillates between robotically calm and highly expressive. Syllables, words, sentences are repeated, dismembered and regrouped in an electrifying manner – until they reveal new meanings in the carefully constructed acoustic space.
The vocals add political motifs to Gigaldi’s work. He sounds out the idea of an unconditional basic income, yelps at the concept of property, reports from quarantine. The B side could hardly be more different. It comprises a single Afrobeat number that brings in four guest artists. Vocals are provided by Magdalenka (Vabrassmas) whose refreshing song in a fantasy language deepens the gradually developing trance. The groove of drummer Bernhard Breuer (Tumido, Elektro Guzzi) is smoothly matched by Georg Schwantner’s (Romanovstra) dynamic sax and Richie Herbst (Regolith) keeps the upbeat hymn grounded with electro noise.
AIRE forges together off-the-wall deconstruction and motley hypnosis. Two sides of a gold medal.