Aimée Portioli is a Berlin-based Dutch-Italian composer and sound designer who records and performs as Grand River.
Portioli makes experimental electronic music with a cinematic touch. Her work, influenced by minimalism and ambient music, is atmospheric yet rhythmically complex, incorporating a wide range of contemporary compositional and production techniques.
The name Grand River evokes nature, scale, and movement, all key forces in Portioli’s work. Her first release as Grand River was 2017’s Crescente EP, which was named by XLR8R as one of the best releases of the year. She followed this with her debut album Pineapple (Spazio Disponibile, 2018), which garnered praise from The Quietus among others, while its follow-up Blink A Few Times To Clear Your Eyes (Editions Mego, 2020) was positively received by Resident Advisor and The Verge, and was elected among best albums of 2020 by Inverted Audio. Her work has separately appeared on compilations by Ghostly International, Tresor, and Longform Editions.
Besides her studio albums, Portioli has created original sound art installations for Rome’s La Galleria Nazionale and Milan’s Il Pianeta, a project of Terraforma Festival. She also contributed her interpretation of a meditation piece for the Soundworks app together with MUTEK, and collaborated with Ableton for the creation of Live 11.
Portioli has performed as Grand River at major international venues and festivals, including Berghain, MUTEK, Mapping Festival, Horst Arts & Music Festival, Funkhaus, Maintenant Festival, Le Guess Who?, De School, the Labyrinth, WOS Festival, and many more. She was selected to take part in SHAPE Platform’s 2021 programme. She collaborates with visual artist Marco Ciceri on special A/V performances, as well as on the visuals for One Instrument, the record label she founded that invites artists to respond to a unique creative brief – to create a piece of music using just one instrument.
Aimée Portioli holds a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Linguistics and Communication of Milan. Her thesis explored the psychology of the communicative function of music in media. Her work today is motivated by similar questions of sound and music as a form of communication that goes beyond language.
All photos by Marie Haefner
Fact Magazine: Patch Notes
Artist Tips, XLR8R
Mix of the day, Resident Advisor
Best Albums of 2020, Inverted Audio
Best Music of September 2020, Resident Advisor
Best Releases of 2017, XLR8R
Best Tracks of 2017, XLR8R