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Giancarlo Erra Breathes Classical New Life Into the Nymph Myth on "End IV" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of the artist

The music and visuals of Giancarlo Erra's "End IV" are wondrous and woeful in equal measure, spawning one of Erra's finest achievements to date.

As the visionary behind Italian art rock outfit Nosound, Giancarlo Erra continually produces captivatingly idiosyncratic music that situates somewhere between beautifully tragic, tranquil life-affirming, and everything in-between. While fans can naturally expect a comparable level of emotional craftsmanship from his upcoming solo outing, ENDS (a suite of eight thematically related instrumentals), the sheer amount of sentimental splendor contained is still laudably overwhelming at times. Case in point: "End IV", the record's touching yet abstract new video. Lead by an avant-garde narrative meant to spawn cryptic interpretations, its underlying expressions and symphonic treatment are intensely universal.

The video was directed by Manuel Lobmaier and stars Ruben Plattner and Sarah Manz in the roles of "a scruffy and grumpy farmer [and] a strange female creature" (as Erra describes). Meant as "a modern take on the faun and nymph myth", the piece was inspired by the concept of metaphorical solitude; specifically, Erra asked Lobmaier to tell a "classic tale but with some twists, and with a touch of bittersweet irony and quirkiness." He adds, "I didn't want a dramatic cliché story, but a sweet, poignant and unusual one. I believe he delivered one of the best videos I've seen so far!"

Without a doubt, the visual and musical storytelling within "End IV" are wondrous and woeful in equal measure, as Plattner captures the morose body language of Adrien Brody in his scenes of fragmented, mundane, and lonely farming life. In contrast, Manz's exuberant yet stern innocence and purpose makes for a compelling juxtaposition as she pushes Plattner toward their outcome. Surrounding them is Erra's breathtaking score: a dynamic blend of forlorn piano chords and engorged strings that ebb and flow with the grace and intensity of the emotions they represent. It's a thoroughly stunning work.

Cumulatively, "End IV" is undoubtedly one of Erra's finest achievements, and the rest of the record is sure to reach those same heights. Now, you can preorder ENDS, which has been compared to the output of composers Arvo Pärt, Max Richter, Nils Frahm, and Clint Mansell, as well as electronica icons Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Klaus Schulze. It arrives on 12 April via Kscope.

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