Italian singer, multi-instrumentalist & composer Andrea Laszlo De Simone has released his new EP, “Immensita”, via Ekleroshock/Hamburger Records (Tshegue, Benjamin Clementine, Polo & Pan). With autodidact De Simone playing nearly all the instruments heard across “Immensità”, the EP was recorded between his native Turin and Paris, where he met with his new label family. The “Immensità” EP is now available to stream on all platforms from here, alongside the new video for the title track, created using footage of Brigitte Bardot from Louis Malle’s 1962 film Vie Privée.
In recent years, a steady uptick has seen artists hailing from the likes of Spain, France and Korea score global crossover success via non-English-language releases. With the release this summer of “Immensita”, you sense in De Simone the arrival of a single-minded talent to consolidate his country’s history of producing seasoned film score composers and Italo-disco classics, with one of the most intriguing cosmic pop releases of the year.
The filmic waltz of “Immensità’s” title track traces the daily arc of life with understated grandeur, with De Simone referencing Italy’s 15th century ‘Grotesque’ art period as an influence for his tendency towards ‘pocket symphony’ production, flitting nimbly between the sparing and the widescreen. Here, Andrea’s vocals – seemingly crackling in from another plane altogether – sit beneath a lush string section, recorded by De Simone at Paris’ national conservatory.
Whilst the “Immensità” EP is articulated into 4 themes – ‘Il Sogno’ (Dream), ‘La Realtà’ (Reality), ‘Lo Spazio’ (Space) and ‘Il Tempo’ (Time) – the EP is all-the-while couched in the same hushed, honest intimacy that prompted De Simone to liken releasing ‘Uomo Donna’ at the time to “Being in the bathroom, but realising you haven’t locked it, and someone opens the door suddenly”. On the vinyl format for “Immensità”, the EP’s thoughtfully sequenced tracks are sewn together by a series of three instrumental interludes, book-ended by a prelude and concluding movement, transforming it into a single, continuous suite of music.
De Simone has previously referenced Italy’s 15th century ‘Grotesque’ art period as a reference point for the tendency towards ‘pocket symphony’ production which flits between the sparing and the widescreen. This connection bears itself out on moments across ‘Immensità’ like the whirring, electronic intermission which bookends ‘Nostra Fine’ (‘Our End’) and the sparse entry of ‘Mistero’ (‘Mystery’), also the tail-end of EP closer ‘Conchiglie’ (‘Seashells’), which segues first into the clattering of teeming rain against car windscreen wipers, before collapsing into an expansive orchestral outro (where timpani & brass playfully wink at Ravel’s ‘Bolero’).
Like its predecessor ‘Uomo Donna’ (‘Man, Woman’), ‘Immensità’ is rooted in its author’s paternity. Whilst the arrival of Andrea’s son coloured much of the former, he in turn wrote and recorded ‘Immensità’ whilst his wife was expecting their second child, a little girl. Absorbed by mathematician Blaise Pascal’s theory on dual infinities, Andrea says;
“On the track “Immensità” itself, I tried to express how small & large existence is. It is an enchanted glance at reality. Immensity resides in every minute choice, in every morning and every rebirth; it is the whole universe in which we’re living.”
Creating “Immensità” largely at home, De Simone shares some of the self-effacing dryness of his fellow countryman Lucio Battisti, to whom Andrea’s songwriting continues to draw him comparisons from critics. “Because I’m completely self-taught, it’s very difficult for me to explain my ideas to someone else” observes De Simone. “Since I hate conflict, I’d rather record everything at home. Plus, I like to smoke without bothering anybody”.