Through his productions and live performance, the Italian virtuoso’s music is dark, impactful, charismatic, a signature sound diffused straight from his first EP released in 2016 on the Roman label Trivmvirate. Through his honourable path, marked by stops in emblematic labels such as Circular Limited and Illegal Alien, Worg explains being in “a constant search of both complex and distinct sonorities”, while we feel, on our side, that he’s on a perpetual campaign for dopeness. And it works. His last EP, “Il Piano di Medea“, released on his young label Lykos Records, is an ode to the dancefloor, with impressive dynamics, deep and electrifying.
In addition to these musical aspects, it is worth mentioning that Worg is first and foremost an “artist of Rome”; a privileged witness and descendant of a long lineage of legendary artists who gave birth to our dearest Italian hypnotic techno. In the present chart, Worg has requested to pay tribute to them, by sharing some of the most iconic works from Roman culture.
In his own words: “I have chosen the theme of Rome through a non-exhaustive list of important works, composed by artists whom I consider innovators, for having contributed to shaping the techno movement worldwide and making the city and its culture shine beyond our borders.” If you probably already know most of the proposed titles, we invite you to take the time to read the comments and experience a very captivating historical immersion…
Leo Anibaldi – Elements [ACV in 1991, reissued by Flash Forward & Safe Trip in 2017]
Worg: I could not fail to start with this icon of electronic music; a track that has marked entire generations and made thousands of people dance all over the world since its release in 1991. Characterised by a classic groove and a constant bassline, “Elements” is as minimal as functional, and historically contributed to the house and techno foundations. Leo Anibaldi juggles superbly with leads and pads, old school today but futuristic back then, enhanced by a melody and piano chords that catapult the listener straight into the vibrant and colourful artistic wonders of the 1990s.
A DEEP ATMOSPHERE
Giorgio Gigli and Lunatik – Pròdromo [Enisslab, 2020]
Worg: Choosing a track for this category was somewhat difficult, since the atmospheric component is an almost inescapable and fundamental peculiarity of the Roman deep-techno sound. Out of many, I chose “Pròdromo”, which is part of a 56-track compilation curated by Neel and released during the pandemic crisis, with the aim of raising funds for the Red Cross. Gigli and Lunatik’s worlds are very different yet nicely combine, with Gigli’s emblematic textures and Lunatik’s melancholic and cinematic melodies, played with dexterity and pathos, out of a 1980s-sounding synth. The end result evokes the score of some dystopian sci-fi film, in line with the pandemic crisis.
A MENTAL LOOP
Modern Heads – Beginning [Outis Music, 2014]
Worg: Iconic, hypnotic and fascinating, “Beginning” evolves in a linear variation, with the tension building up slowly until a climax, only to return to the starting point with a circular structure and development. Elements are added up throughout the journey, while they gradually dissipate with imperceptible changes in the end. In the background, granular textures and atmospheres set a comfort for the mind, while luminous sonorities, like sparkling stars, guide the traveller on his dreamlike odyssey.
A DARK TRACK
Giorgio Gigli – Hidden In The Darkness [Zooloft, 2010]
Worg: If such a title and vibe fit the topic, my choice is also highly driven by my pleasure to share the very first deep-techno track that made me fall madly in love with the genre. I can still remember how fascinated I had been by this dark enrapturing landscape, as gloomy as a forest full of dangers and magic. The complex layered textures, enriched by squeaks and organic noises, immerse the soul into the thick haze. The round bass enveloping the hypnotic groove and the metallic pattern standing out in the distance, mixed with the bright hi-hats, create just the right contrast to the shadowy ambience. “Hidden In The Darkness” remains one of my all-time favourite tracks, which perfectly reflects my tastes and pushed me to approach the genre.
PixFoil – Monkey Chant [Eklero, 2016]
Worg: Pioneers of the genre in Italy, and anecdotally my teacher of Live Electronics at Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, PixFoil is for me both an artistic guide and a master of thought. In “Monkey Chant”, rhythmic patterns of glitches and kicks reduced to a single point build syncopated and articulated rhythms, while Tibetan gongs, woody percussion and tribal choirs rise a solemn and spiritual aura, archaic and ritualistic. The complex and never-predictable arrangement creates constant tension and releases, fuelled by emotional sound effects and metallophone melodies, at times eerie and anxiogenic.
Worg: This iconic track is the perfect example of how a trippy bassline can capture your soul and make your body move uncontrollably and irrationally. The bassline, catchy and sensual, goes well with the groove of the kicks, glitches and hi-hats in 1/16 shuffled in 1/32. Another peculiarity of the track is the use of the legendary Virus B synth, to create these memorable metallic harmonics, evolving spectrally via filtering. Furthermore, the rhythmic pattern is complexified by delay lines, giving the sound life on its own.
Lory D – The Sounds Of Rome [Sounds Never Seen, 1991]
Worg: In the 1990s, Rome was a vibrant city, full of stimuli and innovation. People were coming from all over the world to enjoy the capital’s flourishing rave scene, from music lovers to international DJs, eager to perform in Europe’s most interesting cultural centre. In the foundations of it, Lory D was an undisputed protagonist, with his label “Sounds Never Seen”. It was the first of the genre, renamed later “The Sounds Of Rome” and co-owned by Re.mix shop, also behind the future project Elettronica Romana in 2004. The titular track, based on the classic 909 grooves, is iconic from its repetitive metallic rimshots and vocals, saying “This is the sound of Rome”…
TO START A MIX
Dj SaY – Follow The Star [Trivmvirate, 2016]
Worg: After a four-minute long intro, consisting of ethereal pad chords, distant choruses and hypnotic synth arpeggio, “Follow The Star” goes on with a sudden disruptive attack, intense and explosive. Deep kicks and an energetic bassline on sub-audio frequencies mark the body of the track, enriched by the progressive addition of rides, hi-hats and percussions, evolving under the constant presence of two synth sequences that intertwine each other in interesting melodic dialogue. With such an original arrangement, “Follow The Star” stands out for me as an opener, and also because it has sentimental value. Produced by a Roman artist that I deeply respect for his discography full of gems, the track is also issued from the imprint which released my very first EP.
FOR THE PEAK TIME
Worg – Oracolo (Neel Remix) [Lykos Records, 2023]
Worg: “My label”, “my release”, I might sound opportunist with this selection, but I got very emotional in Enisslab Studio the first time I heard Neel’s remix. When he hit play, the short acid intro followed by the powerful attack on the kick instantly excited me. Then the scratchy, distorted synth sequence, full of harmonics, harsh and at the same time enveloping, gave me goosebumps. I found the arrangement perfectly developed, with the sinuous pads brilliantly contrasting with the incisive percussions. Neel takes full advantage of his mastery and experience in knowing how to dose the elements at the right time, to create an escalation of tension and release, conveying mad energy and passion for his music.
BONUS – TOPIC BROUGHT BY OUR GUEST
A MUST-HAVE ALBUM
Voices From The Lake – Voices From The Lake [Prologue in 2012, self-reissued in 2023]
Worg: Even if it’s probably the most famous album in the entire hypnotic techno scene, I can’t help but share it, for the huge impact that it had on me. Immersive and personal, rich in detail with dreamy, oneiric atmospheres and melancholic melodies, it forever marked me and gave home to my deepest musical tastes. The fifth track in particular, “S.T. (VFTL Rework)”, has been a game changer for me, from its tribal organic opening to its subtle, barely perceptible movement, at times static or changing, embellished by the complex textures and the beautiful rising melodic azures, magical and dreamy. The album is an invitation to make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and let your soul be transported for an hour into unexplored and enchanted forestal meanders.
WRITING BY: ANDREA LUPO & CEDRIC FINKBEINER | 27 JANUARY 2023