Roberto Mazza – Scoprire Le Orme, 1991

Lino Vaccina and Vincenzo Zitello collaborator. Bardic harp, oboe, and synth all composed and played by Mazza. I hesitate to call Scoprire Le Orme (roughly “discover the footsteps”) minimal, though it does get thrown around as such–it feels denser and warmer than what I typically associate with Italian minimalism. To me it feels like far eastern baroque; very courtly–my guess would be that Mazza tuned his harp to scales more typically associated with instruments like the koto or even the sitar. There’s a dusty exotica sentimentality that reminds me of Finis Africae. A lot to love here. Hope y’all are having a very harpy winter.

Tasaday – L’Eterna Risata, 1991

Delirious narcotic ramblings mix with tribal beats and ambient soundscapes on the final release from Italian experimental group Tasaday. While definitely industrial — plenty of percussion from non-instruments — L’Eterna Risata also employs a wide range of less industrial textures, including horns, bells, synths, pan flute, and what sounds like a hammer dulcimer. Heavy usage of vocal samples and live vocals make this more accessible to ambient and psych fans.

There’s not much information online about this band, other than that they formed in 1983 from the conjunction of two bands, Die Form and Nulla Iperreale. The name comes from an isolated tribe of 26 people who were discovered living a “stone age” lifestyle in a cave in the Philippines in 1971, unaware of the outside world.

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Carlos Maria Trindade / Nuno Canavarro – Mr. Wollogallu, 1991

Not really sure how to write about this one. Mr. Wollogallu is pretty slippery and there’s very little information available about it online. It’s split into two sections, with side A made up of songs written by Carlos Maria Trindade and side B of songs written by Nuno Canavarro, both Portuguese musicians, and both of whom contribute instrumentals through both sides. Songs range from the churning, Sakamoto-esque opener “The Truth” (which includes a sample from Network) to fourth-world, densely percussive “Blu Terra” with silvery sparse mood pieces in between, punctuated by spoken word samples. Somebody should make a movie just to have this as the score. Singular, transportive–this feels magical, in the truest sense of the word. Definitely an on-repeat record.

LFO – Frequencies, 1991

Arguably one of the most important UK techno LPs ever. Just as happy to be heard in headphones as in a grimy warehouse. Gorgeous, heart-skittering, crunchy sci-fi futurism rendered in perfect detail. Perpetually surprising and joyful throughout. A fully-realized prediction of two decades of electronic dance music. Mark Bell died six months ago and I’ve been thinking about him a lot recently, partially because of the Björk retrospective (he co-produced Homogenic, among many others), but largely because of this record, which is a gift.