Alessandro Adriani is a lot of things – DJ, producer, live performer and label owner – but above all he is a tireless music researcher. The Berlin-based Italian goes further than your average “crate digger” in pursuit of information about sounds, styles, artists and record labels, devoting countless hours to unearthing the untold stories behind the music he loves, regardless of when it was made.
Adriani’s obsession has naturally shaped his other musical endeavors, not least Mannequin Records, the label he established a decade ago. Over the years, the imprint has won praise from buyers and critics alike for its open-minded blend of on-point reissues, archival collections and fresh productions. The intriguing, leftfield mixture of material on offer – think cold wave, industrial, EBM, minimal synth, skewed electro and more – is naturally a reflection of Adriani’s wide-ranging and off-kilter tastes (as you’d discover if you had a quick flick through his vast and growing record collection).
Adriani is distinctively drawn towards the dark and obscure, and you can hear this approach amongst the long, drawn-out mixes of his similarly eclectic DJ sets. Like others who came of age in Rome during the city’s techno boom of the mid 1990s, he often instinctively draws for pitch-black techno and wild acid tracks alongside EBM, industrial and cold wave cuts. It’s this blend you’ll find Adriani exploring during his bi-monthly dates at Berghain and Panorama Bar, a residency he’s held since early 2016.
As a producer, Adriani’s output naturally draws on these inspirations, but also reflects his obsession with electronic hardware. Although celebrated for his more edit-minded work under the Newclear Waves alias, under his own name Adriani has built a reputation for delivering heavy, angular and forthright club cuts for such celebrated labels as Pinkman, Stroboscopic Artefacts and Jealous God. He’s got lots lined up for 2019, too, including a reissue of his 2016 debut album Montagne Trasparenti on Mannequin Records, a fresh double-album on Stroboscopic Artefacts, and a collaborative full-length with The Hacker entitled Amato & Adriani.
The analogue-rich, hardware-focused nature of this trademark sound comes to the fore in his live performances, which began before he even started DJing. Adriani recently returned to live performance with a headline-grabbing audio-visual show at Atonal Berlin, as part of a night he curated and programmed entitled “Drift”. We’d expect there to be further performances in 2019, assuming Adriani can find the time in his packed schedule. After all, the music he loves won’t research itself.