Italian ambient music pioneer Gigi Masin joins us for the 20th edition of the Off The Record Mix Series.
Ever since the private release of his 1986 cult masterpiece, Wind, Venetian multi-instrumentalist, composer, and DJ, Gigi Masin, has been heralded as one of the ambient and electronic music scene’s most valuable players. His contemplative and gentle approach to music production has earned him the respect of many of the world’s finest musicians and artists. One of many notable examples would be the Icelandic experimental pop-star, Bjork, who famously sampled Masin’s late ’80s composition ‘Clouds’ for her 2002 hit ‘It’s In Our Hands.’
Masin’s solo albums and singles have been shared with the world via such labels as Melody As Truth, Hell Yeah Recordings, and Music From Memory, to name but three. He is also one-third of the ambient super-group Gaussian Curve, alongside Young Marco and Jonny Nash.
Just tipping over the 2-hour mark, Gigi’s gorgeous mix recording takes us on a trip through all things ambient, electronica, soul, jazz, pop, and beyond, featuring tracks by everyone from Brotherhood Of Breath and Van Morrison to Hiroshi Suzuki and Anoushka Shankar. Kick-off your shoes and enjoy this truly incredible journey!
Below you’ll find a special interview with Gigi, as well as a full tracklist.
Hi Gigi, thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your recording and what the idea was behind it…
You can imagine a nice afternoon when this Venice winter playing to be a small spring, you sit on the sofa watching the trees move with a nice wind that tells of distant places…
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in music?
I was born and raised in Venice, Italy, a beautiful place where there are no cars and where children can play free… The music soon took over my life, I was 6 years old and I was already playing with my aunt’s 45 singles.
You have been at the very forefront of the ambient music world for more than three decades now. What’s the secret to your longevity?
I have always believed that the biggest mistake for me would be to forget that music is my life, so I have always dreamed about it and continue to dream. I wouldn’t talk of longevity, mostly it’s a courteous form of absolute stubbornness.
You are also one-third of Gaussian Curve with Young Marco and Jonny Nash. How did this exceptional meeting of minds first come about?
We met in Marco’s studio and played together, improvising… there was a nice feeling in the air, then we met again in Amsterdam on a weekend and, without anything being prepared or already decided, we recorded the songs you can find on our first record. Emotional and joyful experience, beautiful unique atmosphere…
Is there any more Gaussian Curve music on the horizon?
The best thing is that we call each other often and always talk about going back to the studio, or to have a beer together… I’m sure, we’ll be back soon. And what about your solo projects? I’m working on new material, as always. I hope to be back playing in concert soon. Dreams and projects are leaves of the same tree, so they walk hand in hand.
What’s your preferred method for finding new music – do you still enjoy digging around in record shops (when they are open!) or do you prefer to find music online?
I spent half my life digging in records stores and spending a real fortune on CDs & vinyl… of course, now I prefer to search online and watching concerts, with the love of learning and knowing.
What are some of your favourite record labels of all time?
I must admit there are labels to which I am genuinely fond… but I can’t forget that if there hadn’t been Manfred Eicher’s ECM and Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, I wouldn’t be the same man.
And what about these crazy lockdown times we’re facing today. What’s been keeping you going through it all?
I’m not the kind of person who’s in the chair reading a book smoking his pipe. Staying at home is not easy, but we are human beings who adapt themselves and find a way to find new interests and keep moving forward in this period. Family and home always have something to ask for, so free time is really pleasant, almost deserved. Then beautiful days will come.
Brotherood Of Breath – MRA
Van Morrison – Someone Like You
Tanerelle – Mama Saturn
Lyra Pramuk – Tendrill
Steve Shehan & Friends – F’hang Shui
Danielle Baquet – On Burnt, Gauzed Wings
Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX – Home
The Hadouk Trio – Vol de Nuit
Anoushka Shankar – Lasya
Andrès Beeuwsaert – Milonga gris
Hatfield and The North – Lounging There Trying
Sun Electric – In Vitro
Greg Foat – Island Life
Steps Ahead – Self Portrait
Hiroshi Suzuki – Romance
Eartheater – Below The Clavicle
Oregon – Witchi Tai To
Bvdub – The Art Of Dying Alone
Andy Sheppard – They Came From The North
Pat Metheny – From This Place
Irena and Vojtech Havlovi – Into Silence
A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears Katie Spencer – Hurt In Your Heart
Shigeto – What Are We Made Of
Davdar/Farahani/Shehan – Yaar