When I first listened to Lorenzo Balloni’s Expectations, I wasn’t prepared and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I had to turn it off a few minutes into the second track. Musically, I was into it, but this is a release with so many heavy emotions baked deep within its core that I couldn’t take it at that moment. With a few days distance and better prepared, I let Expectations wash over and tear me apart.
Balloni says this is an album about human suffering. Using a stark, cold palette, dramatic swells and chord changes, and caustic percussive synthesis, he paints a bleak picture where promises of light are snuffed out by the cacophony. His tools are familiar, but this is more than just sound design. Imbued with a sense of loss and honesty, Balloni’s pieces teem with life. Nuggets of truth bleed through the granularity of “Everything in this life is nothing, don’t attach your mind to anything,” quiet spaces erupting into a full-blown panic in the blink of an eye. This quick movement is prevalent throughout Expectations and beautifully illustrates the harrowing vulnerability of his music.
Ideas about honesty and authenticity can be treacherous ground to cover, but Belloni’s work is so rife with an emotional delicacy that these concepts blossom into truths. “Imperturbability in Inexertion” closes the album with squashed cinematic landscapes awash with dramatic sweeps and sonic missives folding in on themselves. Desperation permeates the edges, barely holding together before pulling back from the brink and finding a shaky solace in the glow. Lorenzo Balloni offers so much on Expectations that giving this EP the time and attention it demons is the least any of us can do.
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