TO:107 – OZMOTIC ‘Elusive Balance’

CD – 7 tracks – 41:44

OZMOTIC is a multidisciplinary artistic project, deeply fascinated by the dynamics of contemporary society, by architecture, cities and vast uncontaminated spaces.

OZMOTIC creates world sounds characterized by an intense tonal variety and a refined rhythmic research. The interaction between electronic music and digital visual art inreal time is an essential trait of OZMOTIC’s aesthetic.

Having previously collaborated with Fennesz, Murcof, Bretschnider and Senking, ‘Elusive Balance’ is their third album, following ‘AirEffect’ in 2015, and ‘Liquid Times’ in 2016 (both for FolkWisdom). OZMOTIC now release their debut album for Touch.

Mastered by Denis Blackham
Artwork & photography: Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

1. Elusive Balance
2. Hum
3. Pulsing
4. Lymph
5. Being
6. Whisper
7. Insecting


Elusive Balance explores the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the search for balance between these two great entities.

The theme of equilibrium and its precariousness, and its natural tendency to achieve relative stability connects all living things. Equilibrium is also a junction point and evolutionary engine – unstable and elusive, ready to deteriorate and to start a new reaction mechanism bringing organisms to a new harmony.

‘Beauty is a rare and fleeting thing; it often corresponds to those phases where we can grasp that unstable equilibrium which exists between us and the world at large.’


Musically the album seeks resolution of sound contrasts, in a continuous search for an emotional component that gives, simultaneously, a feeling of tension and stillness.

There is a duality between the ‘organic’ components (represented by soprano sax and percussion) and their interaction with machines and computers.

In Elusive Balance, OZMOTIC investigate the essence of their sound to expand its emotional and compositional potential. Each track contains a search for a synthesis between sound elements apparently distant from each other, but in reality create a new balance – as poetic as it is musical.

The album’s seven tracks draw a sonic flow in which the melodic aspects are countered by glitches and angular sounds, and the ambient passages are subjected to heavy rains of rhythm, leaving space for dreamlike moments.


FBI Radio:

On their new album Elusive Balance, the Italian duo of Riccardo Giovinetto & Simone Bosco (known for collaborations with Fennesz and Murcof) explore the dividing line between human and nature, with ambient sounds colliding with frenetic stuttery beats, high-pitched electronic interjections and melodic saxophone… Elusive indeed, but utterly compelling.

Toneshift (USA):

After several collaborations, Italian duo OZmotic is perched to release their sophomore effort, Elusive Balance (Touch; CD/DL) on July 6. The recording is comprised of seven tracks, all under eight minutes which they describe; ‘explores the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the search for balance between these two great entities.’ This being the great balance in so many soundworks and contemporary art of late, the call for change and understanding is internationally broad. The album’s title track begins in total silence, and begins with a synthetic drone, minimal hiss and small electronic bleeps and flutters. The atmosphere is cool and detached, until a sweeping soprano sax enters. Its voice is silky and clean, yet effuses an emotive consternation.

Moving into the next track, ‘Hum’, the space is vast with sweeping, drawn out synths and barely audible bright tones that are cordoned to the edges. They are capturing a sketch, an audio version of our changing Earth, hoping to define a kind of collective metamorphosis that occurs almost unconsciously. Operatic voices elusively emerge from the background and this recording finds its sweet spot early on in a seamless transition between contemporary electronics, to opera, to the field recording of birds charmingly chirping away. They explore the contradictions between the virtual and the real and just as the transitions within the track are impressive, as is the passage into ‘Pulsing’. It’s moody and transparent until becoming something plot-like. The meandering sax, micro percussion and other effects make this a neon-lit all-nighter. Some may call it space jazz – not at all to be confused with the leanings of say, Sun Ra. It’s got its own flavour, blended with the smoother side of jazz razzmatazz.

Elusive Balance is endlessly listenable, and doesn’t go too dark or light, but kind of coasts in this glossier space of electronic music that just stays neatly under the radar of categorisation. ‘Lymph’ is one of those transitional tracks that gets slightly lost in the mix. It’s a midpoint in this exploration, and as such, reads as a view from the scenic long road trip. When they roll out the dusty ‘Whisper’, the atmosphere is pin-drop, slow and low. It’s a gorgeously twisted ambient work in many shades of grey. The nebulous drone is quite breathtaking, as they briefly augment with those remote disembodied voices once again – it’s by far the highlight of the album, and separately could effortlessly be woven into a piece of cinema.

And then ‘Being’ shape-shifts the sound/space on the recording, with starts and stops and the pitter-patter of micro-electronica atop a sweeping sax line. The overtones of classical, jazz, and contemporary digital music are a bit odd at first, but the deeper they go, with timing and editing, the combination just makes a new kind of sense. Finally, wrapping things up on ‘Insecting’, when a low rumble is met with variegated drone and other flash glitch tones that are quite potent. The buzzes continue, like an alarm set on a bank vault. Something is hatching, something is breaking – it’s a very exciting, dramatic conclusion. Grab some additional details about the record here. [TJ Norris]

Riccardo Giovinetto e Simone Bosco ovvero Ozmotic, un duo che coglie l’essenza del suono e la traduce con un liguaggio personalissimo che crea una sorta di osmosi – è il caso di dirlo – tra i suond artists/musicisti e l’ascoltatore. La ricerca dell’equilibrio tra il nostro mondo sempre più artefatto rispetto all’altro da cui proveniamo, la possibilità di rialacciare un rapporto con la natura abbandonata, sette tentativi di contatto che riescono a stordire e trasportare chi ascolta in luoghi altri, lontani ma stranamente familiari. Una miscela sonora che sorprende, ambient, minime tessiture glitch appena accennate, drumming programmato, la voce narrante di un sax soprano che commuove e rende viva, umana questa esperienza sul confine tra poesia e lampo digitale. Questo è il terzo Ozmotic e il primo stampato sulla prestigiosa etichetta Touch; solo i migliori esploratori possono permettersi tali imprese. (USA):

Electronic and instrumental duo OZMOTIC have announced their upcoming album Elusive Balance which is set to drop on July 13 (USA) via TOUCH. Comprised of Simone Bosco and Riccardo Giovinetto, the duo has received support by notable publications Resident Advisor, Fact Mag, UNCUT, Noisey as well as radio play from BBC Radio 3. Bosco and Giovinetto have collaborated individually and as a collective with the likes of Christian Fennesz, Murcof, Senking, Bretschneider, William Parker, Mary Halvorson and Murcof, just to name a few.

As individuals, they represented Italy in the International Biennial of Sarajevo, won the ‘Movin’ up’ award of the Italian Ministry of Culture and conducted 80 percussionists in the opening ceremony of the XX Olympic Games at Teatro Regio di Parma, Turin, broadcast worldwide, a popular theatre which has hosted extraordinary performances by legendary artists such as famed opera-star Luciano Pavarotti.

OZMOTIC are an innovative duo with extensive musical affiliations. Also, having performed at festivals such as Todays Festival, State-X Festival, and at the prestigious Army Theatre in Sarajevo, Petrozavodsk Theatre and Corner Exchange in Turin. Inspired by ambient to techno and instrumental music, the duo was established in Italy and have been experimenting with electronic sounds that can be characterised by intense rhythmic research, tonal variety as well as visual art. Using their extensive musical techniques to work with actors, performers and digital artists to integrate visual art and audio video concepts to give their performances a deeper dimension.

Drawing influences from artists such as Bjork, Miles Davis, Steve Lacy, Pan Sonic, Chris Watson amongst others, OZMOTIC’s style could be compared to artists like Alva Noto, Boards of Canada and even hints of Jon Hopkins, or rather a cohesive blend of all three. With an impressive list of skills the duo have also collaborated with Fennesz (Air Effect) – Senking (remix in ‘Liquid Times’) and Frank Bretschneider (remix in ‘Liquid Times’) and have hypnotised fans with their artistry of cinematic layering and electro infused ambient sounds. Their use of an array of electronic equipment paired with mixing different genres like IDM, noise and jazz create a unique sound that expresses OZMOTIC’s true form.

OZMOTIC give insight into their upcoming LP, commenting, ‘Elusive Balance’ explores the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the search for balance. Equilibrium is a junction point and evolutionary engine – unstable and elusive. Musically, the album seeks of resolution of sound contrast, in a continuous search for an emotional component that gives simultaneously a feeling of tension and stillness.’ [Daphne Gilden]

Clash (UK):

Production duo Ozmotic create small but wide-ranging incisions in electronic music. Continually probing for fresh ideas, the pair have stumbled across a sound that is both immediate and penetrating. Currently working on a full length album (order LINK), the duo – Simone Bosco and Riccardo Giovinetto – apply years of experience to each project they undertake. Languid new piece Elusive Balance opens with minimalist electronics, the stuttering, at times almost chaotic, approach linked to modern developments in classical music.

The pair explain: ‘Elusive Balance’ explores the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the search for balance. Equilibrium is a junction point and evolutionary engine – unstable and elusive. Musically the album seeks of resolution of sound contrast, in a continuous search for an emotional component that gives simultaneously a feeling of tension and stillness.’ An engrossing and highly moving piece. [Robin Murray]

Blow Up (Italy):

Bad Alchemy (Germany):

Chain D.L.K. (USA):

The balance of Elusive Balance lies in blending bold, slow soprano sax playing and some percussive elements against rapid electronic glitches, cold sci-fi synth atmospherics and drone pads in a way that works and doesn’t just sound like two styles of music trying to occupy a single space, and by and large, it’s a balance well struck.

At times, it’s very familiar synth-ambient material. ‘Hum’, with its cool choral-vocal ahhh sounds, muted melodic strings, and digital clicks like distant radio signals in deep space, is well-worn territory, but handled very smoothly. ‘Pulsing’ has shades of moody sci-fi gameplay soundtrack, especially when the sub-bass pulsing in question comes in after three minutes and adds an irregular-heartbeat-ish sense of mild tension. ‘Lymph’ adopts a warmer mellower ambient flavour which then throws the spontaneous drum hits of its second half into a different style of relief.

The final two tracks, ‘Being’ and ‘Insecting’ are both strong track and slight anachronisms, driven by some more rapid pulsing that catches you unawares just as you’ve begun to think of this as a going-to-sleep listen, as though creeping – slightly – towards the finale of a sci-fi horror affair – bht the dramatic denouement isn’t included here.

It’s a nicely packaged short album of sci-fi, soundtrack-y electronica with a great deal of polish and atmosphere. It maybe lacks the unique elements (or the game tie-in licensing deal) that would bring it a great deal of attention, but nevertheless it’s very strong. [Stuart Bruce]

Westzeit (Germany):

Amusio (Germany):

Auf Glitch folgt Richard Wright. Und dann wird „Wirkungsgleichheit“ erzielt. Was ist das denn?! Das neue Album des italienischen Electro-Duos Ozmotic, das auf seinem neuen Album Elusive Balance (Touch/Membran) noch mehr auffährt (Chöre etwa), als ihre ohnehin berückenden Klanglandschaften benötigen würden, um sich der ungeteilten Wahrnehmung eines auf emotional wirksame Feinheiten erpichtes Publikums zu erfreuen.

Ob und inwiefern diese Freude von Dauer sein wird, lässt sich indes noch nicht prognostizieren. Doch die gekonnt unmodisch gewahrte Balance aus in leibhaftig ins Leben gerufener Bläsertätigkeit und auf Unaufdringlichkeit gepolter Digitalität lässt Überdauerung erhoffen.

Besonders gelungen erscheint der ans Nachtlicht gebrachte Impetus von Riccardo Giovinetto und Simone Bosco seine proaktive Ungezwungenheit und sachte Dezenz. Ohne dabei ins Seichte zu geraten. Nein, man hört gerne auf und reibt sich die Birne, wenn Ozmotic ihre liebenswerten Stiche setzen.

‘Beauty is a rare and fleeting thing; it often correspondons to those phases where we can grasp that unstable equillibrium which exists between us and the world at large’, meinen die Macher. Der Hörer sollte sich Elusive Balance für entsprechende Momente aufbewahren. So sie sich auch unverhofft einstellen, ändert dies nichts an der Güte eines traumhaft gültigen Albums. [Stephan Wolf]

Groove (Germany):

Der Wendepunkt, an sich dem Wohlklang in Noise und Schönheit in Schmerz umkehren, hat eine ganz eigene Faszination, die besonders Künstler*innen aus dem Dark Ambient-Genre magisch anzieht. Das Duo Ozmotic aus der norditalienischen Motorcity Turin spielt besonders gerne auf dieser Kippe. Ihr drittes Album Elusive Balance (Touch, VÖ 13. Juli) verwebt elegische Klänge, dunkelblaue Note aus dem Sopransaxofon, nach GAS – oder Celer-Rezept verwehte Klassiksamples und gewittrige Abstrakt-Beats mit mysteriösem Krach. Das Ergebnis ist wunderschön, aber nie zu schön. Es verbleibt immer ein Stachel, etwa Trommelfell wie Lautsprecher strapazierende hochfrequente Glitches und dunkel knuspernde Störgeräusche. Auf der Ebene von Sound und Produktion ist das wohl eines der besten (Dark) Ambient-Electronica Alben die je gemacht wurden. In all seiner nie vollständig befreit aufspielenden Schönheit wirkt das Album als Ganzes aber auch ziemlich ausdrucklos und inhaltlich beliebig. Eine Aneinanderreihung toller Sounds. Leidenschaft ohne Liebe.

Brainwashed (USA):

For their third album, the duo of Stanislao Lesnoj (saxophone, electronics) and SmZ (drums, electronics) work effortlessly to achieve the state described by the album title:  a precarious mix of vastly differing instrumentation and genres that end up complementing one another quite effectively.  The final product largely straddles that unlikely line between jazz and abstract electronica, but in a way that comes across as unique and fresh.

There might be two organic instruments listed in the credits – saxophone and drums – but the former is utilised much more alongside the electronic performances, which vary drastically from conventional synth work to dissonant, noisy textures. The title piece that opens the album exemplifies this:  a bit of captured electrical interference sets the stage as the duo later meld their work into a skittering electronic sound, all of which remains rather non-organic for the most part.  However, Lesnoj’s saxophone soon glides into the mix, with an unabashedly jazzy tone to it, and also an organic addition. The performance is a restrained one, more restrained than I would have anticipated from a horn/electronic combination arrangement, but it works well.

The sax performance on ‘Pulsing’ is even calmer, at times leading the song into a cyber-smooth jazz hybrid that stays on the right side of tasteful with the inclusion of lush synth strings and light metallic percussion.  Similarly, ‘Whisper’ is built largely on traditionally jazz influenced horns and what best resembles a digital vibraphone, with a bit of static–heavy, distorted production to ensure a unique final product.  Electronic detritus and sax also figure heavily into the rather stripped down ‘Being’, but the limited amount of instrumentation is produced so well as to bring out every detail of what is going on.

Ozmotic do not simply stay in this specific framework of jazz and electronics, however.  For ‘Hum,’ the duo work within a nicely spacious mix, blending a mixture of twinkling synths, naturally captured bird songs and other less specific organic elements.  The elongated strings and treated choirs that appear later flesh out the song even more, bolstering the organic side of the elusive balance.  At first, “Lymph” has a similarly open space that leads to a lighter, more chilled out mood, but that shifts as the duo adds in multiple layers of twittering electronics and even some erratic, distorted drum beats (which could be organic or synthetic) come stammering through to give an added dimension to an already complex work.  The album closer “Insecting” has the pair pushing their sound into even more distorted and slightly harsh territory.  Shimmering sounds and a minimalist arrangement set the stage at the piece’s opening.  Soon crackling passages and disjointed electronics blend in, giving a more chaotic and roughened edge to the composition.  Eventually rich synth pads are added to the equation, contrasting the dissonant stuff with a bit more pleasant tone before ending the piece abruptly.

Elusive Balance is a fitting name for this record, because that is exactly what Ozmotic manages to strike within its seven songs.  Their sound is all about equilibrium, with clean tone and distortion, organic and digital, and chaos and order all appearing equally throughout the album, sometimes all within the same single piece.  Those combinations are just what makes the album so great and memorable though, because while it is a beautiful work from first listen, there are so many more facets to it that can be heard with each subsequent spin.

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):

Het Italiaanse duo OZMOTIC wilde voor hun derde album, Elusive Balance, de complexe relatie tussen mens en de natuur onderzoeken. OZMOTIC beweert, en ik haal aan, ‘dat de stabiliteit die we als vanzelfsprekend beschouwen in de wereld om ons heen in feite een onstabiel evenwicht is’. Misschien dat het leven zonniger is in Italië – ik betwijfel het – maar ik ken helemaal niemand die van mening is dat de wereld om ons heen stabiel is, hoe je het woord ‘wereld’ ook wil lezen. De natuurlijke wereld, waar het OZMOTIC om te doen lijkt, is in het anthropoceen een in rap tempo veranderend systeem dat de tijd niet krijgt om een nieuw equilibrium te vinden. Hoe dan ook, OZMOTICs concept vindt uiting in de combinatie van de natuurlijke flow van echte instrumenten – klarinet, percussie, gesampeld koor – met de extreme, niet-menselijke precisie van glitch. Ook spelen uitgesproken technologische geluiden als ruis, microtonale blips en digitale synthesizers een belangrijke rol – al denk ik dat de ijzige, melancholische pads van de synths juist bedoeld zijn om de wijdheid van de natuur uit te drukken. Meer dan die elementen naast elkaar zetten doet het duo eigenlijk niet, ik neem aan in de hoop dat er vanzelf een spanning ontstaat. Van wederzijdse beïnvloeding lijkt nauwelijks sprake, en met name de klarinet lijkt onafhankelijk van de rest te bestaan. Ook proberen ze nergens wankelen of schuiven van dat voornoemde onstabiele evenwicht voelbaar te maken. Het blijft bij het spanningsveld, dat meer bestaat binnen de puur elektronische ruimte, dan tussen organisch en synthetisch. Dat neemt niet weg dat ‘Elusive Balance’ op zich een mooie plaat is, zij het niet erg uitgesproken of bijzonder; en zeker de nummers zonder de blazer zijn het proberen waard voor liefhebbers van ambient in de stijl van labels als 12K of Glacial Movements.

Dark Entries (Belgium):

De subtiele balans tussen mens en natuur is volgens mij persoonlijk al lang geleden definitief om zeep geholpen. OZMOTIC lijkt daar een andere mening op na te houden en probeert dit precaire evenwicht muzikaal vorm te geven. Concepten zijn vaak een recept voor oeverloze saaiheid, maar OZMOTIC werkt dit gegeven op een zeer mooie manier uit.

Zien we een industriegebied na de oorlog dat opnieuw is overgenomen door de natuur? Of is het veeleer de zelfverklaarde ecologische meerwaardezoeker die in zijn pokkedure trekkerskleren bacteriën gaat achterlaten op onontgonnen grond? Of hebben we effectief leren samenleven met de natuur en zijn onze hoogtechnologische huizen ook een integraal deel van het ecosysteem? Eén ding is zeker, OZMOTIC schept beelden die beklijven.

Het duo maakt gebruik van heel wat contrasten in zijn muziek: die tussen rust en drukte, die tussen akoestische instrumenten en zeer aanwezige elektronische geluiden, tussen detail en grove schets. Wie enigszins vertrouwd is met atmosferische idm zoals Beefcake, Architect, µ-Ziq enzovoort zal geen vooruitstrevende geluiden horen in dit album. De glitchy geluiden en de pads zijn vrij typisch voor het genre maar wel enorm knap gedaan. Ze weten echt te beroeren en je mee te nemen in een dromerige wereld. Prachtige koorsamples en vooral de saxofoon maken het effect zelf nog sterker en zorgen ervoor dat OZMOTIC uitsteekt boven de rest van het genre.

Als we dit album vergelijken met bijvoorbeeld Liquid Times, valt wel op dat het duo een pak braver is geworden. Bij de eerste beluisteringen stoorde ons dit echt. Dit album hapt misschien net iets te gemakkelijk weg. We moeten echter toegeven dat we het toch telkens opnieuw in de lade van de cd-speler schuiven en het steeds weer zalig genieten is. Net dankzij het gebrek aan weerhaken, is het makkelijker om diep in de sfeer te zakken en even te ontsnappen uit deze wereld. Misschien moeten we dus even onze drang onderdrukken om telkens weer vernieuwing en experiment te willen horen.

Dit is mooi! (net):

Je zou Elusive Balance van OZMOTIC, dat vorig jaar verscheen bij Touch zo maar actueel kunnen noemen. Het verkent de relatie tussen de mens en de natuur, alsook de balans tussen die twee entiteiten, aldus het begeleidend schrijven voor de pers. Dat die verhouding flink onder druk staat is inmiddels voor vrijwel niemand meer een verrassing en dus komen musici die hier op deze wijze aandacht aan geven als geroepen.

Elusive Balance is het derde album van het uit Turijn afkomstige duo, bestaand uit Stanislao Lesnoj en SmZ, na ‘AirE ect’ uit 2015 en ‘Liquid Times’ uit 2016. Op hun website zijn ze uitgesproken over hun inspiratie: ‘OZMOTIC is a multidisciplinary artistic project, deeply fascinated by the dynamics of contemporary society, by architecture, cities and vast uncontaminated spaces.’ In dit licht moeten we dus ook dit Elusive Balance zien.

De muziek van deze twee Italianen is een combinatie van akoestische instrumenten en elektronica. Een intieme melodie op sopraansax van Lesnoj verrast ons direct in het titelstuk, Elusive Balance, te midden van elektronisch geknisper waar waarschijnlijk SmZ voor tekent. Hiermee is het zoeken naar balans eigenlijk al verklankt: het diepmenselijke, natuurlijke versus alles wat wij als ‘verbeteringen’ hebben doorgevoerd. In ‘Hum’ trekt het duo lange ambient lijnen; subtiele, gelaagde klanknevels. Aan het eind worden we bovendien nog getrakteerd met een kort koormoment.

In ‘Pulsing’ is de stemming melancholisch. De elektronische klankwolken worden hier vermengd met natuurgeluiden en hebben over het geheel genomen een vrij duistere ondertoon. Het kan ook bijna niet anders als je de verhouding van de mens tot de natuur wil verklanken. Dan priemt ineens de sopraansax van Lesnoj door het wolkendek, een straaltje licht. In ‘Lymph’ weet het duo eveneens te overtuigen met een fijnzinnig klankpatroon, waar gaandeweg het ritme van SmZ doorheen breekt, er een zekere spanning aan geeft. ‘Being’ is een wat vreemde eend in de bijt. Hier krijgen we ineens een soort van dansritme, al valt het wel telkens in brokjes uiteen, dat Lesnoj’s sopraansax ondersteunt.

Toeval kan het niet zijn. ‘Whisper’, we zijn bijna aan het einde van het album’ heeft zo waar iets hoopvols. Alsof die nieuwe balans is gevonden, waar we al de hele tijd naar op zoek zijn. Deze tonen smaken in ieder geval naar meer. Op ‘Insecting’ trekt het duo deze lijn echter niet door. Daarvoor is de sfeer te veel beladen, de stemming te mistroostig. Eén zwaluw maakt dan ook nog geen lente. []