Indian Wells oscillates between rhythmic realities and Unfinished ambience
I’m fascinated by a lot of ‘abstract’ things that are in some ways influencing my life. In this album, that was the Unfinished.Indian Wells
Italian electronic artist Indian Wells (Pietro Iannuzzi) released his fifth album No One Really Listens to Oscillators on July 15th, capturing the chaos of our internal dreamscapes. Oscillators (2022) concerns itself with the influence of place, incomplete structures and contemporary artists on our perception of the world.
It’s a deliberate shift away from lighter the yet equally compelling club beats of Where The World Ends (2017). During the five-year gap between LPs, Indian Wells released singles whilst working towards an album that would defy expectations. Drawing inspiration from art, architecture, geography and politics alike, the tracks on Oscillators still feel more introspective than those of its predecessor.
A couple of the music videos produced for the Oscillators singles demonstrate this beautiful musical paradox. “Calabrian Woods” by Lawrie Miller is a hypnotising yet petrifying deep dream, whilst Gianvito Cofano’s “Before Life” casts a warm haze over the experience of creation. The slow-moving bokeh we see in the first few seconds of the video highlight some of the shoegaze tones evident on this track.
The Unfinished isn’t really an architectural style; it’s a provocation.Indian Wells
Indian Wells uses the track listing to split the album into a three-act structure with a clear story arc. Tracks like “Against Numbers” and “Four Walls” marry the deeply textural tones of Aphex Twin with the engulfing crescendos of M83. When I first listened to the album, Oscillators immediately reminded me of Cristobal Tapia De Veer’s feverish dystopian score for the British TV drama Utopia. Although his work has already been used in visual media, I can’t help but imagine the cinematic potential of an Indian Wells film score, or an electronic orchestral suite.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, you can enjoy No One Really Listens to Oscillators and our exclusive interview with the man behind the Wells, Pietro Iannuzzi…
Hey Pietro (Indian Wells), welcome to IAMUR! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us how your music career began?
Hi, I’m Pietro Iannuzzi aka Indian Wells. I’m Italian and this is my 10th year as Indian Wells. My ‘career’ began in 2009 with another project called Iròi. It was a failure, really. After this experience, I focused my music on electronic music and in 2011, Indian Wells was born. The first album, Night Drops, was released in 2012 on Bad Panda Records, a very good Italian label. A lot of tracks on this album were composed with tennis samples and the whole concept of the album was focused on tennis. There’s a track, “Wimbledon 1980”, that I consider the ‘manifesto’ of this album. Night Drops was well received by the audience and media, and so my ‘career’ as Indian Wells officially began.
Enter the Indian Wells trance with some of these top tracks:
I was intrigued when I read that Oscillators is a kind of extension of the previous album. How did your songwriting develop during the intermediate years between these albums?
Actually, NORLTO isn’t an extension of Where The World Ends. I think it’s really different from WTWE. This was a conscious choice, because I was unsatisfied with WTWE.
Back then, I was playing at a few club music festivals, but I realised that it made me feel uncomfortable. So, I started to think: ‘what was the music I loved when I discovered electronic music?’ The answer was: Boards Of Canada, Aphex and all Warp stuff, Border Community, Radiohead’s Amnesiac, Massive Attack and many more. Then, the track that named the album, “No One Really Listens To Oscillators”, came out as a draft. I said to myself: ‘okay, this is exactly the sound I want for my next album’.
I spent like 5 years completing this album, between COVID and the birth of my first daughter, Matilde. I also asked my friend Andrea Rizzo to play the drums on the album. This is the first time I’ve involved another musician in my music and I’m very happy with it, it was a beautiful experience.
Of course, I have my own impressions of the LP: ethereal, suspenseful and liberating. However, with such a thought-provoking album title, I have to ask: how did the idea of the ‘unfinished’ come to influence Oscillators?
The idea came after I read an article in the New York Times on ‘Incompiuto’ (Unfinished), an architectural style theorised by a collective of architects, ‘Alterazioni Video’. The Unfinished isn’t really an architectural style; it’s a provocation. Italy is full of unfinished infrastructures, bridges, highways and buildings. And I realised that I was surrounded by all these things — I grew up with all these unfinished things around me. So, I started thinking about how the places we live influence who we are and our vision of the world.
I’d have to agree with you there. Oscillators truly ‘oscillates’ in mood from one track to the next. I was wondering how you structured the album with the track listing. Did you shape the album around any particular narrative?
As I’m a fan of the album format, I’m also a fan of the track listing. I think it’s fundamental to build a track listing that leads listeners in and involves them with meaning. The first track, “An Escalator in a Storm (Incompiuto, Part I)”, is the intro of the album and also explains the main concept, the Unfinished. The last track, “Before Life”, is an ambient track with a growing 2nd part. This was also the track that I’ve written for my daughter. It makes sense to me to have a track with a different mood from the others as the last one of the album.
In the middle of the track listing, there are the rhythmic tracks with two ‘separators’: “I Cannot I” and “Life Of JS (Incompiuto, Part II)”. These two ambient tracks talk about another part of the Unfinished: the life of Judith Scott. She was born with Down Syndrome and was deaf. In the eyes of society, her condition made her an ‘unfinished’ person, yet set was amazing contemporary American artist.
Also, I like the idea of having some ‘pauses’ in the album and alternating rhythmic tracks with ambient tracks. I think that this helps to elaborate and embolden the music you’re listening to.
I’m fascinated by the relationship that your music shares with architecture. How do you think external elements influenced you when you created this album, and where were you when you wrote the songs for Oscillators?
I think all these elements have a big influence on our lives. The “Habitat”, the places we live, and the people we meet all have an impact on who we are, and so, who I am. I wrote this album at home, in my little studio. I need calm and silence when I work on my music, I’m not a fan of working on trains or aeroplanes. But I’m fascinated by a lot of ‘abstract’ things that are in some ways influencing my life. In this album, that was the Unfinished.
Given the cinematic appeal of the tracks on Oscillators, I wasn’t surprised to learn that your music has already been featured in cinema and television. Could you describe any of your experiences writing electronic dance music for visual media?
Yes, it just so happens that some of my music has been featured in cinema, tv series or advertising. I’ve also worked on short animated films and made some proofs for original soundtracks. It isn’t easy because you have to find a balance between yourself and what the other side wants from you. But it’s very stimulating, I would like to write original music for cinema.
The music videos you have released “Calabrian Woods” and “Before Life”, two of the singles for Oscillators, stand in stark contrast to one another in terms of style. Were you very involved with the production process for these videos, and is that something that interests you?
Yes, I was involved in the production process of these videos. Mesh, the label, suggested Lawrie Miller as the “Calabrian Woods” video artist, and I was happy to work with him. For the “Before Life” video, I asked my friend Gianvito Cofano to work on it. They are very different artists, it’s true. But it was important to me to show the different perspectives of the album: the rational one and the emotive one. Also, we recently released a third video for “Four Walls”, made by Matteo Milasi who also did an amazing job.
I’m watching “Four Walls” now — another gripping perspective. Are there any auteurs or filmmakers who you’d love to collaborate with? Or, is there an artist or architect who you could see yourself starting an interdisciplinary project with?
I would say Chris Cunningham for sentimental reasons. When I was young, I saw his video for “Come To Daddy” by Aphex Twin — it was a shock for me. Also, I would like to work with the artist collective TUNDRA, they are amazing!
Have you been playing any live shows since the release of Oscillators, and do you have any future tour plans for the rest of this year?
The tour of NORLTO started in June with a new show, Andrea is with me as a drummer and we have visuals by Dan Tombs, a visual artist from the UK. We are planning a lot of shows around Europe and Italy. We will play with Caribou on August 15th in Locorotondo, Apulia (Italy), and some more gigs will follow in Italy. At the end of September, we will play in Prague and London. At the end of the year, we will be in Berlin, Rome and other cities.
That’s about it from us, so thank you again Pietro and congratulations on the release of No One Really Listens to Oscillators!
Thanks a lot for inviting me!
We look forward to seeing where Pietro’s music will go take him next, and can’t wait to hear how Europe react to Oscillators. You can find Indian Wells on Spotify, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other popular streaming sites.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, feel free to read more of our special features. You never know who you might discover – they could become your new favourite artist!