Prepare to embark on a voyage to the pulsating core of Milan with the debut album of Stefano Castelli (Clone Culture), materializing under the guise of CASTELLI. Anni Venti extends itself as a wistful tribute to Italy’s synth chronicles, interwoven with Castelli’s heartfelt lyricism – a marriage of effervescent pop and contemplative poetry, echoing the likes of Alphaville, Bronski Beat, and Simple Minds. Serenaded in Italian, the album delves into the analogue resonance of pop and wave, while simultaneously reflecting on the modern zeitgeist. Hints of Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder shimmer through, particularly in his glacial vocoder experimentations.
Produced by Luca Urbani, this ten-track odyssey brims with vigor and unbridled sentiment. Concise, spirited numbers like “Cosmonauti” and the irresistibly buoyant “Wave Goodbye” will incite spontaneous movement. Resonant basslines and crisp beats are elevated by the majestic chorus of the inaugural track “Festa,” establishing the atmosphere for the remainder of the album. With sonic allusions to MGMT, Ultravox, and John Foxx, it is suffused with optimism in its message, delivered in Castelli’s native Italian, forging authenticity through language and unencumbered expression. Language transcends boundaries; emotions are innately felt – regardless of our location on this spinning celestial sphere.
Castelli’s distinctive sound melds his band origins with the warmth of synth, drawing from a diverse array of styles to forge a sonic identity that is uniquely his own. The vocoder and rhythmic throbs of “Cani” evoke visions of a man-machine realm, while “Paradiso Tropicale” overflows with synth-infused warmth. Italy’s storied soundscapes are immortalized in the measured drama of “Quando Guardi I Film.”
Amidst the vigor and raw sentiment, a gentle optimism pervades the compilation, culminating in the exuberance and electronic exploration of “Nave.”
“Wave Goodbye” has a delightfully campy visualizer, using retro sci-fi footage that perfectly encapsulates the nostalgic sound. Watch below:
Anni Venti is a nostalgic sojourn through Italy’s synth heritage, rendered in a uniquely soulful and contemporary fashion by Castelli. This auditory excursion bridges the gap between past and present, inviting listeners to delve into a world where nostalgia and innovation harmoniously coexist, igniting the senses and inspiring the imagination.
If you’d love to have this on vinyl, you can purchase it here.
Castelli is a creative endeavor sprung from the mind of Milan’s Stefano Castelli, who also occupies the role of vocal frontman for the post-punk ensemble, Clone Culture. Castelli’s auditory tapestry weaves together threads of synth-pop and new wave, an ode to the 80s, interlaced with the timbres of iconic Italian songcraft and Italo lineage. While predominantly a solitary pursuit, Castelli unites with Luca Urbani (Soerba, Garbo, Fluon) and guitarist Claudio Chiodi to construct an aural journey that is distinctly his own.
In 2021, Castelli unveiled his talents with an inaugural EP, bearing three singles, among them “1984,” which boasted the collaboration of Italian New Wave trailblazer, Garbo. Unwilling to stagnate, Castelli devoted the ensuing year to producing fresh compositions, liaising with Urbani, and forging an alliance with the Amsterdam-based imprint, Bordello a Parigi.
In his musical odyssey, Castelli has traversed the stage alongside a constellation of luminaries: Molly Nilsson, Metronomy, She Past Away, Kap Bambino, CJ Ramone, 2Many Djs, Shitdisco, Architecture in Helsinki, Porches, The GO! Team, Giuda, Planet Funk, Etienne de Crécy, and a multitude of others have graced his presence, illuminating the path of his ever-evolving artistry. As Castelli’s sonic landscape broadens, the influence of these remarkable encounters seeps into the intricacies of his work, adding depth and nuance to an already rich palette.
In this symphony of creative synergy, Castelli’s performances encapsulate the essence of what it means to be a truly innovative artist in today’s music landscape. His commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted territories of sound places him at the vanguard of contemporary music, garnering attention from critics and fans alike.
With each subsequent release, Castelli continues to sculpt a distinguished and evocative musical identity, one that pays homage to the past while fearlessly stepping into the future. As his oeuvre expands, it is clear that the world of Castelli is a place where the spirit of collaboration and the drive for artistic evolution intertwine, forging a legacy that will echo through the annals of music history.
As the journey of Castelli unfolds, we invite you to join us in bearing witness to the unfolding tapestry of sound, where the fusion of synth-pop, new wave, and Italian songwriting heritage coalesce into a singular, unforgettable experience. The world of Castelli beckons, and only time will reveal the depths of his musical narrative, as it continues to unfurl and enrapture the senses of all who venture within.
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