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Pristine minimal ambience from Italian musical giant Giusto Pio. Best known for his many collaborations with Franco Battiato, Pio was a composer and world class classical violinist born in Castelfranco Veneto in 1926. He was sought out by Battiato as a violin teacher, but the two went on to sculpt Battiato’s sound from post-prog to minimalism to Europop, with many other projects along the way, like their contributions to this Francesco Messina record. Among these collaborations, Battiato produced Pio’s first solo album, considered to be Pio’s crowning achievement and a holy grail of avant-garde minimalism: 1979’s Motore Immobile. Pio continued to release solo records until 1995. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 91.

Alla Corte di Nefertiti, however, is a very different beast. Though it was released by Battiato’s publishing company L’Ottava S.r.l. as a subsidiary of EMI Records, Battiatio wasn’t involved in production. The record is two long-form tracks of synth impressions, the first of which is more of a holistic composition and the second of which is a reflection, or “frammenti,” of the first, sonic pieces broken up and scattered with spaces falling where they may. I like the more pure minimalist moments the best, where single vibrating tones are left to hang in the air like washes of color, but there are also some great moments with synthetic choirs of angels radiating concern from plastic celestial bodies. A few moments of percussive texture, some which have a cinematic urgency that feels appropriate for Pio’s background, but for the most part Alla Corte di Nefertiti is just drifting in pillows of sound. Made on an Akai MG1212.

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