Dino Bastianti’s album Contesti is seven enigmatic breadcrumbs. A brief but impactful album that is just over 20 minutes of moving minimalism and subtle electronics.

Contesti is a melodic forward journey of patterns and subtle electronics that blanket you with a warm glow. Every note is smoothed, sharp edges removed. It heals the listening pallet. The power of Contesti isn’t in its narrative but in its meditative patterns gently urging you to emboss your own impression into its field.

There is very little information about Dino Bastiani online. A lack of information, intentional or not, can lead to a lot of speculation. For me, Dino has become a bit of a myth. In the past to discover more about an artist I could have turned to the sleeve art but as music went digital so went the sleeve. I’ve never seen an artist statement of bio accompany any of Dino’s work on the web. So I decided to reach out and see if Dino would be willing to give us a little context to Contesti.

Who is Dino Bastiani?

I could reply briefly, saying only that Dino Bastiani is a pseudonym, a tribute to the Italian artist and writer Dino Buzzati, seasoned with a quote from his novel "the Tartar steppe". This would be enough to explain the lack of information about me, but it would also be an elegant way to avoid answering your question. The Dino Bastiani project was born exactly from the impossibility of answering this (apparently simple) question: who are you?

For me, Dino Bastiani is an invitation to explore the strange situation which we are all in: We certainly know that we are somebody, but we can never exactly define who that somebody is. It is an invitation to observe the complexity of that inevitable and absurd mechanism that always pushes us to identify ourselves with something or someone finite and comprehensible. An invitation to differentiate ourselves from what we were yesterday if we don’t like it, without the fear of betraying ourselves. An invitation to renounce the mad attempt to enclose an entire universe in the small golden box of the intellect. To cross the threshold of that unknown universe and use the tools contained in our little box to act on that strange world and leave our mark. So, the best way to know more about who Dino Bastiani is to act in the first person. Contacting, asking, playing and joking with me. I don’t know if this can be useful to finally give an answer, but trying can be interesting and why not, maybe even fun.

Despite the overwhelming number of solo piano releases that reach my ear I continue finding myself typing Dino Bastiani into Spotify’s search function and revisiting Contesti. With relatively few followers on Spotify, Dino is slowly being picked up by the sleuthing playlist curators on Spotify. It strikes me that Contesti is an exemplary album of the streaming age. It’s not available in a hard format. If you search for Dino Bastiani you’ll quickly find yourself on Spotify, Youtube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc.

Dino, as someone who has only released work digitally, I would like to know if and how music streaming has impacted your work.

I think that the music streaming is a great resource, both for those who make music and for who listen to it. Driven by curiosity, I asked myself: What if I publish a record without saying anything to anyone, without any kind of promotion? Someone will listen to it? What will they think about? Is it really possible to put my music all over the world with just one click? So, some days after publication, I am contacted by a guy from the other side of the world, who listened to my record and decided to add a song to his playlist (that guy is you, Robby). Probably, this is just a lucky coincidence, but living this experience is still something magical. In the following months, only a few people downloaded and listened to my work, but even if it were only one, it would have been a success for me. I had no expectations on numbers, followers, or sales. My goal was just to see what would happen if ...

I'm not saying that numbers and marketing don’t matter, in fact, this experience teaches me that they are certainly useful, provided that they don’t make us forget that every numerical unit represents an individual, a real person. When we forget this fact, we lose sight of the greatest opportunity that the web offers us: creating a direct contact between people. A contact that without these resources would never have been possible.

Before reaching out to Dino Bastiani, the closest glimpse into his personality came in the form of a Facebook post that read, “I composed, produced and published a record. But none of these activities are music. Music is the experience of those who listen to what I have composed, produced and published. Music is not in my record, but in the ears of the listener.” It’s a beautiful and thoughtful definition, the implications of which are a joy to consider. Some artists compose narratives. Dino Bastiani gifts his listeners the space to conjure their own.

Why do you make music? What do you want your listeners to take from your work?

It is a common opinion that an artist must communicate a message through his works: his unique and personal vision of the world. This is certainly possible, but I believe that the true strength of art is not this. I believe that the most characteristic and mysterious property of art is that of allowing the observer to see an unknown part of himself through the work.

In my record, I tried to eliminate any kind of message and communication. I tried to build an environment suitable for being inhabited by the listener's impressions. From this perspective, the artist's opinion on the things of the world becomes almost completely irrelevant. The artist's task becomes simply that of inviting the listener to move in a specific direction. In this way, the unique and personal vision of the world is that which springs from the living experience of the listener who discovers his path. Who knows, maybe along the way they will find some clues to know a little more about themselves, something useful to answer the question: "who are you?".

Photography by Marco Latino.