True synth masters don’t really exist anymore, with synth sounds coming pre-set with almost every program to create almost any melody a producer wants. Sound manipulation has also never been easier and no one is necessarily complaining. Those of us who love earlier electronic music – from the science to the sound – know there’s something missing with the heavily digitized EDM world we live in now. The craft is not entirely extinct, however, and modern-day synth composers are still out there fighting the good fight. Chris Ianuzzi is one of these Moog warriors and he’s got an excellent plan of attack.
Ianuzzi’s early exposure to the Moog left him fascinated with sound for life and it’s served him well. He’s tinkered, studied and played with synths his whole life and as soon as he was in college he began racking up the racks and the accolades. Studying his beloved synths alongside classical music theory and composition, he worked with everyone in experimental electronica including a member of apex synth masters Tangerine dream, won a Clio award and conducted two workshops at Moogfest in 2017. You can’t get this guy away from Moogs, and who would want to?
With two solo albums already under his belt, Ianuzzi just dropped a new EP called Olga In a Black Hole today, and he’s got a full album incoming on May 1 called Planeteria. Olga In a Black Hole is a good place for EDM fans to enter this sometimes forgotten world of experimental synths, as Ianuzzi has started adding modern tech to his compositions, and dance music has emerged.
The title track on Olga… is pretty trippy and experimental, a nine-minute long journey both of where synths have been and where they’re going, if Ianuzzi has anything to say about it. Worth noting on this track as well for Moog heads is how creatively he uses the brand here…it’s not the usual unmistakable Moog-forward sound here but more toned down and blended into the rest of the madness of this experimental masterpiece.
The second track on the mini EP is “Hello” and this is where the EDMers will get hooked. It’s just as trippy and synth-forward as his other tracks but it’s also, ostensibly, a drum & bass track. The beat is sort of backwards and syncopates in weird places, but it’s definitely steppy and danceable. D&B artists are generally on the edge of experimental but not like this. Here’s hoping it leaks into mainstream D&B even more.
As if there was any question as to the diversity of Ianuzzi’s style, EP closer “Fork” has a beat that seems unintentionally aligned with industrial music, although it may be inconceivable that an industrial track can be made off a Moog. “Fork” doesn’t quite hit Rob Zombie levels but for an experimental piece done mostly analog that’s probably composed like a classical score, it comes as close as any experimental track could.
Planeteria has even more interesting experimental/EDM mashups from Chris Ianuzzi and though this is hardly getting in on the ground floor, dance music fans would do well to start paying attention to this modern-day synth master. If not for the synth education, do it for the opportunity to dance to a different…synth.