Few artists can claim they command as distinctive a sound as Alessandro Adriani, and fewer still across such a wide range of styles. The Berlin-via-Rome artist and his label, Mannequin Records, have become infamous for pursuing dark, dystopian themes across EBM, acid, techno, post-punk, and the cross-country terrain of wave music.
For Mannequin genres don’t matter: A track just needs a mechanical gait and a cold-blooded pulse. Adriani’s own productions are the same: Under his own name – and through aliases like Peter M. and Newclear Waves – Adriani has channelled cranky, EBM-style techno and tinged it with ambient and synthwave into an instantly recognizable style. He steps up here for our mix series, preparing for Mannequin’s showcase at SSFB ’18.
Hi Alessandro, what are you up to these days?
Hi there. I am working on my new album, let’s see when I will be able to finish it. All life demands struggle.
The mix you made seems to contain many moods and different types of music, what was the idea behind it?
I went digging into my collection of weird experimental/folk/industrial. Many were picked up during the years I was able to bring home a lot of rarities, and some of them you can hear in the mix.
Looking back on your move to Berlin, do you still think this is the place for you and the music you put out with Mannequin?
Berlin definitely gave more visibility to Mannequin Records – more than I could imagine when I moved here. The label had already existed for 5 years when I made the move and had approximately 40-45 releases. Looking back, I’m really proud of my work. More and more people are finally crediting Mannequin for the return of obscure synth-driven sounds to modern dancefloors.
I guess if you work in the higher levels of the music business, you feel Berlin exists only at the moment you are living there. Most of the time you are running from one airport to another. And in Winter, not many people want to live here apparently… for me, as an underground producer with my own studio, it’s a bit different though.
Speaking of your label, how is it going? What’s coming up in the next few months?
We’ve just repressed two records of Doris Norton from the early 80’s: Norton Computer For Peace and Personal Computer. She was and is one of the most important woman pioneers in the use of synths, and in early electro/computer music more generally. A third one, Artificial Intelligence, is coming up in the next few months.
On the repress side, we have a double LP planned. It’s a compilation of Le Syndicat Electronique, with released and unreleased tracks. We also have the full 80s discography of Bourbonese Qualk, some records from the extensive Nocturnal Emissions discography, and more which you’ll see.
There’s also a compilation coming called Death of the Machines. It will start a series dedicated to emerging artists only.
As for your own productions, do you have future projects you’re excited about and want to share?
Jennifer Cardini has planned an ambient release for her ‘Dischi Autunno’ sublabel. I’m finishing it in the next days. I would also love to finish a new album for Mannequin.
I’m about to repress my LP from 2015, Montagne Trasparenti. It will come also with a 12’’ with a Silent Servant remix.
How would you describe the bi-monthly Mannequin Records night at Säule?
After my experience with OHM club (Tresor), it was a natural challenge to try something bigger. I wanted to go for something with fewer responsibilities as an organizer, and more as an art director/curator.
I love the atmosphere there. It looks like a mini-Berghain somehow, and the Martin Audio system does the rest… next up is Richard Fearless from Death In Vegas on June 15th.
At SSFB ‘ 18 you will be sharing the decks with Michel Amato (The Hacker). Can you tell us about the chemistry you share with him, and how you came to know him?
Well, I was 21 when First Album came out and it was clearly in my favorite records of that year. 17 years later, we found ourselves in my studio recording music together for an upcoming Mannequin Records release… I couldn’t believe we had more or less the same approach and vision, and it was a great experience to share those hours with him and my machines!
That week Michel played as Amato at the Mannequin Records 10 years party at Berghain. He smashed the floor with an acid/electro live gig. A living legend.
To end this short interview, what song reflects your current mood?
Le Syndicat Electronique – “Sweet Violence”
Alessandro Adriani will be performing B2B with The Hacker at the SSFB weekender on Saturday, June 23. Mannequin Records labelmates JASSS and Giant Swan will also be performing. Tickets available here.