Alchimia Nova

by Alchimia Nova (Donatella Bartolomei, Alessandro Conedera)

Donatella Bartolomei's unique vocal art fusing opera, soul/jazz, and experimental vocal techniques is a genre all of its own. Much of her practice, both recorded and onstage, is solo work in which she multitracks her voice to create all musical elements with her vocal cords alone. On this new album, she brings her extraordinary skills to a duo project with Alessandro Conedera.

Conedera's electronic atmospheres range from psychedelic sheets of ambient harmony, across which Bartolomei traces melodic arcs with her voice, to the instrumental work of “Warning”, which could almost be classified as goth-inflected synth pop. Bartolomei and Conedera pull off a great job in borrowing from rather accessible musical idioms while avoiding all clichés and turning the ingredients into something otherwise unheard. On some tracks, vocal guests add male voices to create a sort of abstract “play for voices”.

This release, Bartolomei's first physical release on attenuation circuit, is the happy result of networking synergies at the label's Augsburg homebase. The release concert of her 2017 album “Sacra Dea” on Atemwerft, the Augsburg-based vocal arts label, was co-hosted by attenuation circuit. This initial contact led to several follow-up concerts by Bartolomei in Augsburg and, eventually, to this CD.

File under: vocal, ambient

ACU 1022

factory-produced CDr in cardboard sleeve

Released in 2020

limited to 100 copies

price: 7.00 EUR (excl. postage)

music, atmosphere, sounds : Alessandro Conedera.
voices and words : Donatella Bartolomei.
vocal guests : Gianni Bonetti (3), Nikita (6), Alessandro Conedera (7)


more releases by Donatella Bartolomei on attenuation circuit:

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Dolf Mulder compared Donatella Bartolomei with Diamanda Galas (Vital Weekly 1054). Now she returns with Alessandro Conedera, who is responsible for 'music, atmosphere, and sounds’. I assume he creates these with electronic means, without being specific what these means are. I assume laptop. Bartolomei sings the words she wrote, and I can imagine there is also some extra effects used on her voice, looping her voice is one of them. Bartolomei has a flexible voice that most suited for opera, theatre and drama. I left her voice-only with Dolf, deeming a bit too much opera for my taste, but now, embedded within the electronic music of Conedera, it works much better for me. The two have a variety of approaches here, ranging more song structured pieces on one hand to something more improvised; often there is also a mixture between both ends. That is clear from the opening piece, in which the voice repeats phrases against a backdrop of a minimalist rhythm, but with space to improvise on the notes. At times the opera-like voice may sound gothic and full-on dramatic, certainly when the electronics are in a similar dark place, which is not always my cup. Once that is left behind, or when the focus changes a bit towards something else, such as in 'Farara', which sounded like a folk song going electro, I was pleasantly surprised, and also with the more 'out there' of the improvisations and perhaps less when it all too dramatic.

Alchimia Nova (Donatella Bartolomei, Alessandro Conedera) Alchimia Nova cover front
Alchimia Nova (Donatella Bartolomei, Alessandro Conedera) Alchimia Nova cover back
Alchimia Nova (Donatella Bartolomei, Alessandro Conedera) Alchimia Nova Inlay
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