Tony Rolando

Renowned instrument maker turns producer


Since you can’t chuck a patch cable these days without hitting someone who’s dabbling in modular gear, Tony Rolando isn’t an entirely unknown quantity. As the founder of Make Noise music, the North Carolina-based manufacturer of some of the best-loved gear in that particular synth space, his sonic imprint is on loads of today’s electronic sounds, albeit at a slight remove. As an artist, however, he stands as more of a newcomer.


His first outing, ‘Old Cool Echoes’, saw a limited run of very pink cassettes released in December 2021. The eight tracks feature Rolando’s much-heralded style – otherworldy, yet catchy digital vibes with the occasional mangled film sample tossed in (special attention should be paid to the seven-minute version of ‘Vanished’ released earlier this year as a single). But his latest long-player, ‘Breakin’ Is a Memory’, is not only the sound of someone hitting their stride, but one of the best electronic releases we’ve heard in a while. Super-modern and thoroughly engaging, the new tracks have upped the gravitas quotient. From the deep bass drones on ‘Running Toward An Edge’ through to the title track and its eerie 1980s skateboarding sample, Rolando manages to pull off an immersive experience that demands replay.


Logic might dictate that a fair portion of what’s heard here was probably born out of Rolando’s experiments with Make Noise gear as it was headed for production. But that is not the case, apparently. “One of the things that used to prevent me from making music was that I would have prototypes in my little studio space,” says Rolando. “Inevitably I would find something wrong or something I didn’t like, and I’d dip from a musician’s state of mind to an engineering state of mind. While those two minds can inform each other, for me at least, they don’t necessarily work together simultaneously. I kind of have to pick one or the other.”

‘Breakin’ Is A Memory’ is out on Bandcamp

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