CD-R, ECRecords/Quiet World, 2006
Itto is the combined efforts of Ian Holloway and Neil Rowling, who together produce tense and subtle drone work of the highest caliber. “Sound on an Empty Road,” released on a label that has since changed name to Quiet World, has a very limited run of fifty copies.
A little shy of thirty-nine minutes in duration, the stand-alone drone-ambient piece is everything its title implies and more. Comprised mainly of tonal modulations and effects-laden guitar and synth work, the music gently grinds and hovers over a road that is indeed quite desolate. Soft and melancholy piano notes are interjected through a wide portion of the track, fragile moments of color that swim just out of focus underneath a placid surface of flowing drones. Pitch-shifted ripples wash over this misty, forgotten pond, situated as it is alongside a path less traveled. The edges of Itto’s lonely landscape of sound are vague and blurred, rather than sharply defined. As “Sound on an Empty Road” progresses, its elements shifting gradually, it develops an enchanting timelessness, and a paradoxically calming sense of nowhere. The atmosphere it invokes has a certain nervous and haunting quality, bolstered in no small part by the piercing, high-pitched tones that occasionally cut through the track for extended minutes.
“Sound on an Empty Road” is a constant guessing game of paranoia and movement, where half-seen forms lurk and breathe just beyond the limits of perception – and call into question their very existence.
— Dutton Hauhart