Mario Bajardi is a violinist, soundtracks composer and producer from Italy, with his roots firmly stablished in electronics and sonic experimentation. Not for nothing he has been finalist at the International Competition of Electronic’s Pierre Schaeffer Prize and ICMC (International Computer Music Association), both prizes given to artists who explore new horizonts in music.
Inverse is his second EP published by ONDE, after Glass Orchestra (2013) and his debut Lp Archives (2012). Including seven tracks, this album from 2014 is one who sets high standards at its beginning, and yet it can be said that it goes from less to more.
It opens with 'Rest', a melodic theme with the participation of vocalist Eleze. After a short intro of ambient textures, appears the floating, crystalline voice of Eleze, with a silky register that may remind of Szjerdene in her works with Bonobo. This first track, oneiric and soft, might induce the feeling that the rest of the album would move in the tricky field of weak new-age. However, and still within an affordable territory for sensitive ears, the following themes are instrumental compositions in which Bajardi shows a more eclectic personality.
'Standing' is a beautiful piece with a recognizable medieval resemblance, sustained on pizzicato strings and an expressive violin melody. The explanation is that thise theme was part of a soundtrack the italian composer made for a theatrical version of 'William Shakespeare's Richard III' in 2013.
With 'Interlude' starts the more electroacoustic part of Inverse. A jazzy bass line, synthetic strings and odd sound recordings progressively intertwine in an interesting, although short, piece. Experimentation continues with 'Crusty': the bass speeds up and soft drums and field recordings move us into an urban environment, almost industrial, more complex and dynamic. The cinematic character of Bajardi's music is plain in the last part of this theme, when strings take over.
The piece that gives name to the Ep, 'Inverse', is an apparent chaos of glitchy electronics and fuzzy pulses which nonetheless build a complex rythmic structure, hypnotic and futuristic, in radical contrast with piano and violin melodies. It is here where Bajardi's talent to gently balance bold electronics and the evocative nature of acoustic instruments is shown.
'Missing is the most cinematic theme in the whole. It brings back the absolute prominence of violin in a string's crescendo over a plucked arpegio that will inevitably bring to mind the instrumental games of Wim Merten's Jardin Clos or, to a lesser degree, the orchestral minimalism of Michael Nyman.
Producer and sound artist Carlo Ascrizzi closes the album with a 'Crusty' remix: it is a more ambient version, devoid of any luminous element. Ascrizzi takes the theme to his experimental zone adding complex textures and intricate glitch percussions, giving a dark and unsettling tone to the end of Inverse, a tone totally unexpected when we started listen to 'Rest'.