Meandering over uneven terrain, Beautiful Ground bears the rich scent of freshly turned humus and a lingering bouquet of originality.
Alessio Ballerini composed the pieces collected on Beautiful Ground while enjoying an artistic residency at Bioculture in Italy. Enriched with field recordings made during his tenure, Ballerini plays period keyboards and synthesizers and manipulates digital equipment.
The results were crafted to accompany a hike through wine country in the Le Marche region along the Adriatic. There is no leitmotif on Beautiful Ground, but the organs, pianos and harpsichords he meets along the way, recorded in among other places a church and a 13th-century temple, knit his country walks together. The only guest instrument on the album, a ukulele, is hand spun on a wooden spindle as a dramatic, almost bombastic backdrop rises—like a deep maroon sunset.
Otherwise Ballerini’s pieces are intimate, repetitive, stroll at a leisurely pace. “Water Organs” has an admirable ambience. “I Went 3 Million Years” features a beat, a bass and a more traditional melody on synthesizer that shoots for the stars, before touching down in the midst of a wild, bodice-rending village tarantella. Whereas each is its own, self-contained country pastel, the closing, title track is both a sprawling collage and the most taciturn in terms of revealing itself. Meandering over uneven terrain, Beautiful Ground bears the rich scent of freshly turned humus and a lingering bouquet of originality.