Calypso, the latest LP from Italian ambient artist Gigi Masin, is a set of elegant compositions. Inspired by the islands of Greece and their mythical history, this is Masin’s first solo release through the R&S sub-label Apollo Records. Masin luxuriates across the sixteen tracks of this record. While his sonic palette is wide-ranging here, Masin’s work sounds effortless throughout, as if the music is gently lapping on the sandy shore depicted on Calypso’s cover.
The album begins with Calypso’s title number. This track fuses electronic and organic instruments to create a bustling and beautiful soundscape, one that harks to the Erased Tapes roster as well as the work of the late Jóhann Jóhannsson. Masin explores this sound several times throughout the LP, sometimes pushing and prodding it to a point where it ends up somewhere else - see the Colin Stetson-esque ‘Enter Venus’ and the tracks in Calypso’s second half that twinkle as brightly as a night sky.
These numbers are interspersed with gentle changes of pace - for instance, ‘Bellamore’, ‘Mayo Slife’ and ‘If’ are keening downtempo cuts. Passages of field recordings and found sounds occasionally come to the fore as well - indeed, a taping of a muffled voice rounds out Calypso, something that gives the listener the effect of waking from a particularly pleasant slumber.
Gigi Masin’s Calypso reminds us that the Italian veteran is still one of the premier ambient artists out there on the label that brought us Selected Ambient Works.