Step into the void, 1. Ambient Corridors
With three literate singer-songwriter releases to his credit, it might seem paradoxical that Brooklyn-based Jason Vitelli’s newest project presents his music without lyrics. But as he notes, 1. Ambient Corridors is an inaugural instrumental collection that signifies a return to his roots.
In 2003, after his composition and scoring studies, Jason created music for student films, documentaries, and short films, all while working in tandem with an accomplished film composer. Much of the music on this project is selected from this previous period, refined and given new life, as he explains. “A return to form; re-establishing work I’d done years ago and building upon it.”
While his “turn of the century” electronic palette might have been sparer than what the current software libraries offer, his imagination and compositional aptitude -- revealed in the orchestration, original sampling, and sound design – were finely tuned. Across a span of 12 tracks, acoustic instruments such as cello, viola, piano, electric guitar, and varied woodwinds – alongside Jason’s electronic manipulation of found objects instill an impressionistic aural journey. “I am drawn to the combination of synthetic and real elements,” he says. “Interaction between human and programmed performances can create something entirely new.”
His titles are often visual and auditory afterthoughts, informed as imagery with the sensory overlap of synesthesia. “Chukchi Sea,” named for an Arctic ocean, conjures frozen landscapes. “It wasn’t what I was thinking of when I wrote it,” Jason observes. “Yet the blueness of the piano chiming made me think of a wide open expanse and breathing in cold air. These tactile elements revealed themselves through listening.”
“Lost and Found,” is structured similar to a Bach prelude and fugue. “It was inspired by Baroque period music, and one could imagine it being played in a cathedral on a pipe organ,” explains Jason. “The melody from the beginning and the melody from the second half intertwine at the end – the lost finally find each other.” Among the tracks, “Exit Love Story,” employing the moody interaction of a synthesized jazz trio, shares a pre-ordained title with an indie film of the same name.
Jason’s career-building musical credits include gigs at historic New York listening rooms, stints as a sideman for jazz combos, and subway busking. His debut release, No Photographs, and the subsequent collection Confluence, were followed by his third release Head Above Tide, lauded by the Nashville Music Guide as “…a musical phenomena, one that has opened a new world of possibilities in a never ending universe of new worlds, all in one haunting album.”
1. Ambient Corridors, the first of what Jason Vitelli envisions as a sequence of instrumental releases, serves as a counterpoint to his singer-songwriter projects. “I’m going to release more songs. But this is another part of myself that I am revealing – being able to say something without saying something is a valuable device.”
He also reflects on how instrumental music is open to a listener’s interpretation. “Songwriting can originate from a place of inner angst and psychological struggle, so it may naturally have a linear narrative. This aspect may leave less for the listener to interpret. Meanwhile, the abstraction posed by instrumentals can allow more space for the brain to breathe. In any case, this music reflects upon who I am at the moment of creation. Who knows, I may become someone entirely different at the end of the day.”
- Dan Kimpel