Modwheelmood is led by Alessandro Cortini, a former member of Nine Inch Nails, joined by guitarist Pelle Hillström. The two have performed together for nearly six years. Modwheelmood's music is composed of Cortini’s carefully structured analog synths and loops with Hillström’s raw, riffing guitars and ambient guitars, depending on the mood.
The experienced duo exercises restraint, never allowing the guitars to overpower the synths, and offering provocative vocal melodies that add just enough depth to create well rounded, richly textured arrangements.
Born and raised in Italy, Cortini’s family encouraged his interest in music from an early age. Cortini’s father played guitar, and his mother often listened to bands such as the Beatles, who Cortini agrees had an influence on his songwriting.
Other songwriting influences include Cat Stevens, Francesco De Gregori, and Depeche Mode. From a programming perspective, Cortini recognizes Alva Noto and Brian Eno as influential in his development. In addition to songwriting, Cortini is a seasoned live musician, having toured with such bands as The Mayfield Four, and is currently lending his talents as a keyboardist to Nine Inch Nails.
Hillström grew up in a small village in Sweden. His pursuit of music began early, playing saxophone in jazz orchestras in the afternoon and learning Iron Maiden riffs in the evening. Eventually, his desire to play music for a living led him to the U.
S., where he met Cortini. Hillström is the former guitarist of Abandoned Pools and has also worked with producer Patrick Leonard. Hillström’s guitar playing is reminiscent of Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood.
Modwheelmood’s second EP, Enemies & Immigrants was released in August 2006 on Buddyhead Records. Although they have many influences, both Cortini and Hillström agree that Enemies & Immigrants doesn’t necessarily reflect those influences.
Hillström notes that there are decidedly more acoustics on this EP than the first, to give the tracks more of a lush, earthy, percussive sound. He adds that the material on the new EP took shape just from sitting in a room full of gear with open minds and the objective of “making music that meant something to us.
” Modwheelmood borrows their name from the mod wheel, a controller typically mounted at the left end of the keyboard that is used for modulation. It can provide positive or negative values. It can be easily raised or lowered at the artist’s whim.
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