Jazz, pop, and ambient from one of the genre’s great minds.
Born and raised in Venice, Italy, Gigi Masin is among the most quietly innovative and singular artists working across experimental and ambient music, but it’s only in the last decade that people have cottoned on to his work. Outside of his solo releases on Melody As Truth, Apollo Records, and Ants, he’s put out music with Jonny Nash and Young Marco as Gaussian Curve, releasing their debut album, Clouds, in 2015, and Lifted, a group spearheaded by Future Times founder Andrew Field-Pickering. Two albums have landed on PAN, besides singles on Dekmantel and Light In The Attic.
Masin’s first experiments in music came in the late 1970s when he made sound collages with tape loops and field recordings. Discovering a new language to express himself, he moved on from his early ambitions to be a guitarist and violinist, and in 1987 he released Wind, a debut album of mesmeric minimalism, so stripped back that it’s almost alien in its stillness.
Though under-appreciated at its release, Wind was later re-released by Dutch label Music From Memory as part of a retrospective of Masin’s output, and it’s only since then that his sounds have been revered by the wider world. After a long hiatus from music, during which his studio was destroyed in a flood, Masin released Calypso, a masterpiece of ambience, on Apollo. Later this year, he’ll release its follow up, a tribute to his late wife, who sadly passed away last year.
Ahead of the album, which we’ll announce soon, Masin has recorded an XLR8R podcast. We’ve been trying to lock him down for some time and now it’s here—over two hours of downtempo and jazz, but also some pop and house. Press play for a glimpse into the mind of one of ambient music’s great minds, recorded on the fly one September afternoon.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I was in the beautiful countryside around Huntingdon in England and then in the studio with Greg Foat, Moses Boyd, and Tom Herbert. I enjoyed hours of beauty with great musicians.
02. What have you been listening to?
Just a little radio while driving the car. Every now and then I take a period of “silence” after playing or recording for a long time. The sound of nature is sometimes surprising and enchanting. I always have a CD that I want to listen to again or something new to discover, but sometimes I pull the plug, to distance myself and find peace.
03. You’ve got a new album on the way. What can you tell us about it?
It is a sort of a “feminine” work, that came from the idea of reacting to the death of my wife; of looking ahead, doing it with tenderness and with a desire to speak from the heart.
04. Where and when did you record this mix?
On a wonderful September afternoon, during the warmth of summer, when the grapes are ok but the days of light will soon begin to shorten.
05. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
Fantasy, inspiration, and what else? There is no book that can teach you what is a sweet mystery; after decades of music it remains a beautiful game, to select a record, then another, and another!
06. What’s next on your horizon?
There is a project with Greg Foat that I care a lot about and I hope to continue to travel the world with my concerts. Then at the end of the year I will start working on the next record. The music never stops!
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full XLR8R+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Karstern Houmark Quartet “Sirens Song” (Storyville Records)
02. Charles Mingus “Tijuana Gift Shop” (RCA Victor)
03. Sixpence None The Richer “Kiss Me” (Authentic)
04. Gigi Masin “Marlene (Somewhere In Texas)” (Language Of Sound)
05. Esbjorn Svensson Trio “Seven Days of Falling” (Act Records)
06. David Sylvian “Silver Moon” (Virgin)
07. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins “Bats In The Attic” (Domino Recordings)
08. Damu The Fudgemunk “Conversation Peace” (Def Pressè)
09. Gigi Masin “Valerie Crossing” (Language of Sound)
10. Arooj Aftab “Mohabbat” (Verve)
11. The Band “Rag Mama Rag” (Capitol Records)
12. Clifford Thorton “Mahiya Illa Zalab” (America Records)
13. Abdullah Ibrahim “Calypso Minor” (remix) (Enja Records)
14. Fleetwood Mac “Albatross” (Reprise Records)
15. Gigi Masin “Barumini” (Language of Sound)
16. Alfa Mist & Emmavie “Energy” (Anti Records)
17. Don Cherry “Brown Rice” (A&M Records)
18. Gigi Masin “Vahinè” (Language of Sound)
19. Herbie Hancock/Pat Metheny “Cantaloupe Island” (DOL Records)
20. Michael Henderson “Solid” (Sony Music)
21. Bonnie Raitt/Bruce Hornsby “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Capitol Records)
22. Gigi Masin “Shadie” (Language of Sound)
23. George Benson “Deeper Than You Think” (WEA)
24. Ron Trent “Admira” (Night Time Stories)
25. Gigi Masin “Malvina” (Language of Sound)
26. Quinn Oulton “Solid Air” (Deep Matter Records)
27. Oddisee “That’s Love” (Mello Music Group)
28. Stringspace Quartet “Running Up That Hill” (Stringspace)
29. Marvin Gaye “Inner City Blues” (Tamla Motown)
30. Hatfield & The North “Share It” (Island Records)