Sandro Perri is a music maker from Toronto, Canada. Within the broad spectrum of his work are variations on new song, folk, electronic, dance, minimalism, jazz and rock. He has released more than a dozen solo and collaborative releases under his given name as well as Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Dot Wiggin and Continuous Dick. He started up a 12″ label (Audi Sensa) in 1999 but has since worked almost exclusively with Constellation. Other releases have come via Alien8, New Kanada and Intr_Version.
His first release was a split 12" (Cog / Polmo Polpo) in 1999. A series of singles followed over the next 4 years, merging slow, minimal techno with live instruments (lap steel guitar, cello) and a production style indebted to Joe Meek and Basic Channel. Some of this material was compiled on CD in 2002 as The Science Of Breath.
In 2003, Perri recorded a 28-minute cover of Arthur Russell’s “Kiss Me Again”, using the original as a template to create a mellow but monstrous blend of disco and drone. Edited down and released in 2005, it was given blessing by Russell’s original co-producer, disco legend Nicky Siano.
Later in 2003, Constellation released Perri's first LP as Polmo Polpo, Like Hearts Swelling. A collection of 5 instrumental tracks using looped strings, guitar and percussion to tremendous effect, he created an epic and meditative record of “perfectly structured, unstructured sound”. Most notably, it embraced a growing interest in song; infusing melody into the mountainous beds of rhythm and noise developed in earlier dance abstractions. Like Hearts Swelling was met with glowing praise worldwide and an invitation to perform at London’s ATP Festival that same year.
Moving forward, Perri stepped away from electronics and began to re-shape his music with a 6-piece band. Foreshadowing an approach he would take on record a couple of years later, he embraced a fully ‘live’ setup as well as his singing voice. He surprised listeners with an EP of this new vocal music in 2006, Sandro Perri Plays Polmo Polpo. Proposed as a re-imagining of material from Like Hearts Swelling, it was referred to as “…like his earlier music coming apart at the seams.”
He further refined this approach on 2007’s Tiny Mirrors, an LP of delicate, avant-folk songs performed in collaboration with some of Toronto’s most curious improvisers. Striking “a perfect balance of sophisticated writing and deceptively effortless performance,” Tiny Mirrors signaled another significant breakthrough for Perri as an artist. It was met with critical acclaim; long-listed for the Polaris Prize in 2008, a finalist for SOCAN’s Echo Songwriting award (”Double Suicide”), and placing high in Canadian critics’ year end lists.
Alongside this work, Perri continued to dabble with dance in the studio (the one-off Continuous Dick 12″) and joined forces with guitarist Craig Dunsmuir to form Glissandro 70. Together they shaped Dunsmuir’s West African-inspired guitar pieces into the Glissandro 70 LP in 2006. Threading layers of guitar around odd-time rhythms and chants, they playfully melded early dance, math rock, ‘ethno-pop’ and electronics into a sound completely their own. Their infectious “Bolan Muppets” earned a spot on Prins Thomas’ Cosmo Galactic Prism mix while music critic Philip Sherburne tweeted “I feel like Glissandro 70 invented 2011 in 2007.”
Other past and present musical collaborators include Great Lake Swimmers (of which Perri was a member from 2002-2005), Eric Chenaux, Fond Of Tigers, Woodpigeon, Ryan Driver, Mantler, The Michael Parks, Andre Ethier, Lorenz Peter, Mickey Moonlight and Zongamin.
In the studio, Perri has provided various levels of assistance (production, mix, remix, engineering) to many artists including Owen Pallett (w/Grizzly Bear), Stephen Malkmus, The Acorn, Deep Dark United, Devon Sproule and more.
Touring internationally since 2003, he has made festival appearances at All Tomorrow’s Parties, Domino, Nuit Blanche (performing Erik Satie’s Vexations for solo piano), MUTEK, Wordless Music Series, MOMA PS/1 Warmup, Maxximalism, Suoni Per Il Popolo, Tanned Tin, Heartland, Send+Receive, X Avant and Sappyfest.
Impossible Spaces, Perri’s long-awaited follow-up to Tiny Mirrors, is a collision of new compositional ideas, electronics, singing, and extensive studio processing beyond the scope of any of his previous efforts. The album releases in October 2011.