Words of wisdom from a synth legend in the making.
Alessandro Cortini's first instrument was guitar. But when he moved from Italy to Los Angeles to study it, he fell headlong into synthesizers, and he now says it's been ages since he's picked up his old axe. Cortini is most widely known as a member of Nine Inch Nails, a band he's played in and toured with on and off since the early 2000s. It was on a video shoot with the group that he came face to face with a Buchla synthesizer, and the near-mythic modular systems soon became an obsession. Over the course of the 2010s, Cortini has used his Buchla and innumerable other synths—his collection must be seen to be believed—to craft a discography ranging from thoroughly experimental ambient sounds to tracks verging on techno. Since 2013 alone, he's released five albums under his own name: a trio of records called Forse and a pair of releases for Hospital Productions, most recently Risveglio. Jordan Rothlein caught him at the tail end of this year's Berlin Atonal festival, where he was part of three separate performances, to hear his story.