CD tip: "Ends" by Giancarlo Erra

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Giancarlo Erra

As the saying goes, Russian dolls are like the music of Giancarlo Erra if his albums were onions waiting to be peeled. Or something. Erra, the mainstay behind Italian ambient-prog outfit Nosound, goes solo with this neoclassical work, and it's magnificent. Make all the proggy jokes you want — the songs are titled, in order, "End III," "End II," "End I," "End VII," "End V" and so on. But this is a recording that's meditative, luminously melodic and enchanting. Utilizing keyboard washes, blocks of minor chord piano, strings, electronics and spattered percussion, Erra twirls melodies and atmospherics in creative and dazzling fashion. Each new listen reveals something unexpected that manages to dovetail cleverly. It's hard to imagine this album ever getting old or stale.


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