Estasy is the musical alias of Rome, Italy-based installation and performance artist Emiliano Maggi. After a few cassettes and CD-Rs, Estasy is releasing its full-length debut, Wild Songs, on AcÃ©phale (SALEM, Elite Gymnastics, How To Dress Well).
Wild Songs doesn’t sound like anything else, but it contains echoes from disparate sources. The first thing you’ll notice is Maggi’s voice, which has the range and timbre of an Italian Coloratura singer. Unlike many of today’s high-octave singers, this is not a falsetto; it’s a soprano. Sometimes it appears stark and alone, sometimes buried underneath ghostly vocal overdubs.
Wild Songs has a haunting quality that derives spiritually from Maggi’s recording process. All but three tracks on the album were recorded en plein air: amongst nature in fields and woods. The sounds of wind and nature, and Maggi’s tape recorder, blend into his spectral soprano to create a mythological world that modern civilization can no longer see, but which through acts of the imagination we might be able to hear.
The result is something like Alan Lomax’s field recordings trapped in Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Reference points include the Nordic folk music traditions currently being kept alive by acts such as DvergmÃ¥l, the sublime other-worlds given birth to by Sigur Rós’s made up language, and most notably the proto-gothic funereal dirge of Nico’s post-Chelsea Girls trilogy.