An intense sense of melancholy and beauty permeates Scuro Chiaro, the latest release from the ever prolific Alessandro Cortini; with light and darkness infused in its name, dreamy atmospheres flicker and sway with plangent abandon in classic Cortini fashion. “Sempre,” “Chiaroscuro,” and “Verde” all evoke the timbres of both Hans Zimmer and much of Ridley Scott’s works (retro-synth, of course, ever and cyclically popular here in the ‘20s), which is to say, something between apocalyptic doom and an unfolding, vast majesty. This sentiment is driven home all the more in that the entire album delivers a profoundly cinematic experience through its long yet highly sculpted movements – a sense of nature, rain, and ruins all emanate from the ever widening maw of the music. Numbers like ‘Corri’ show a jazzier, or perhaps funkier flair to Cortini’s work – Neon Indian and Air comes to mind – but this seems more a palate-cleanser between the dark and brooding landscapes that the rest of the album conveys. By the time ‘Nessuno’ rolls around, the cloudy sense of twilight is thick and heavy, and ‘Fiamma’ brings a quiet candlelight to the ultimate sense of darkness that Scuro Chiaro channels, creating dimensional depth out of darkness and the interspersion of light. In it, Cortini truly becomes a sculptor of these two diametric forces, invoking his inspiration and delivering the work in a magnificently purposeful way, right down to its ember. Ultimately, this is an album not to be missed.