Who says free-flowing electronica has to be easy-listening? Under the band name Pillow, Italian avant-garde artist Luca Di Mira makes his solo debut, Flowing Seasons, with beautiful unease. Di Mira, first and foremost the keyboardist of the post-rock band Giardini Di Miro, enlisted the aid of vocalists, cellists and other instrumentalists to complete his vision of melancholy.
Rather than focusing on filler, Flowing Seasons is all about capturing absence. The songs are kept to a bare minimum so that listeners will hear the subtlest scratch of feedback, quiet vocals and the addition of solid electronic beats as the songs unravel.
In Cut-Out-and-Keep Quarrels, the buildup of whispers and melodic drivel will transfix you until you feel the full effect of its numbness.
The dreariness won't drench you though. On Thick Skin, Di Mira only makes us more aware as the moments accumulate to reach a sense of heightened intensity in the track. Indecision begins with hushed vocals and a brooding string section, 'Where are you,' a sombre voice sings. Mixologists and Waifs sounds a little like what Sigur Ros might do, especially with its combination of warbling male vocals, quiet strumming, clinking bells and triangle.
Few tracks are instrumental, but Di Mira ends the LP with With the Passing of the Seasons, a song that features piano as its main voice. Although some might find the keyboard arpeggios and clarinet a bit cheesy for their taste, Di Mira offers no compromise on his vision.
Living up to its namesake, Flowing Seasons never strays from its under-tone of melancholy, as Di Mira takes his time to develop the mood of his songs into the full bloom of a dark album.