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Marco Passarani

Italian electronica producer Marco Passarani has been referred to as Rome's answer to the Aphex Twin. Although his idiosyncratic fusion of ambient, electro, and techno places a premium on distortion boxes and simple but affecting three-part melodies, releases such as "2099" and "It Will Be What It Was" (both appearing under the name Passarani 2099 on his own Nature imprint) are equally, if not more, indebted to Kraftwerk and Bochum Welt -- in other words, Euro and new wave influences not as pronounced in Richard James' work. A DJ since he discovered hip-hop and electro in his early teens, Passarani began producing in the classic Chicago tradition, playing machine beats and electronics over minimal dance records in order to spruce them up and bring them closer to the music he was hearing in his head. Reacting against the commercial side of the Italian scene, which during the early '90s was dominated by throwaway house and techno, Passarani and partners Andrea Benedetti and Sandro Nasonte founded a string of labels (including Sysmo, Mystic, and the most recent, Nature Recordings) committed to the experimental extremes of dance culture's ever-increasing polysemy. This commitment to fostering dance music's lunatic fringe -- as well as Passarani's ongoing affection for plainly weird U.K.- and Detroit-based groups such as Aphex, Ectomorph, Drexciya, Cylob/Kinaesthesia, and Dopplereffekt -- led to the interlocking of Rome's electronica underground with artists and labels such as Underground Resistance, Direct Beat, Cheap, Reference, Acid Planet, Fax, Warp, and Rephlex. Passarani also helped establish the Remix distribution company in 1990, which has since grown into the largest Italian dance music importer. In addition to his Nature releases, which tend toward the more abstract and composerly, Passarani has released straightforward dance music as well through Alan Oldham's Generator label. ~ Sean Cooper, Rovi
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