Artist: Neel

Release: One Instrument Sessions

Label: One Instrument

Release date: 03 December 2018

One Instrument are a Berlin based label who “releases compositions created by artists who have accepted the challenge to produce a sound experiment with the restriction of using only one instrument and adhering to specific guidelines”. The Rome based Italian producer Neel has been selected as the latest artist to contribute to the series, offering two deeply textured ambient cuts.

The concept laid out by One Instrument is an interesting one, and creates a conversation which can only be answered by musicians themselves. In this modern era where music technology is so readily available at an affordable price, do producers ever truly master the equipment that they use? By limiting the tools available to the producer down to just one, the potential for creating truly unique sounds is increased.

Neel’s One Instrument Sessions begins with Aria (Synthesis Technology – E340 Cloud Generator). The E340 Cloud Generator is an oscillator which Neel says has always been a fan of. It has eight sines and sawtooth VCOs with unique modulation capabilities. “Aria” came to life while he was preparing for a live techno set: when he stopped the recording the oscillator kept running producing the sound and tones audible in the composition.

The 22 minute long track draws focus from a dark, gritty place. Shrill, piercing melodies are accompanied by menacing tones. Neel’s ability to compose shines here, as well as his compositional skills. Structurally the track evolves over three phases. The drone style which drives the piece is established at the end of the first phase, gains momentum in the second phase and then is accompanied by a neo-classical style in the final phase. The juxtaposition of the dark, grittiness of drone with the light beauty of neo-classical melodies shows Neel’s talent as a producer, as well as confirming his success at the task at hand – pushing the limits of what can be made with one instrument alone.

The Morning After (Roland SH-01A) exhibits Neel’s ability to craft the other side of ambient. The track contains many beautiful, tranquil melodies layered on top of one another. Neel loops these melodies to their apex, adding some more powerful tones to drive the track to its peak, before allowing the tones to subvert back to their origins. This track is a joy to listen to and you can see why Neel has described the Roland SH-01A as his favourite synth. The Morning After certainly shows that he knows how to use it to its full potential.

One Instrument have curated a platform which allows producers to focus on achieving the maximum output possible from one instrument of their choice. The interesting concept makes for excellent results here for Neel, as the Italian producer has crafted two very different but truly wonderful pieces of music using only one instrument respectively.