Skip to product information
1 of 3

Tiny Engines

Ben Seretan "Allora" LP

Ben Seretan "Allora" LP

Regular price £22.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £22.00 GBP
Sale Sold out
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

🚛 Expected to ship July

Vinyl picture is just a mock. Final product may look different.
If you prefer vinyl to be shipped outside the LP jacket please leave a note when you place your order.


01. New Air
02. Climb The Ladder
03. Ben
04. Small Things
05. Jubilation Blues
06. Free
07. Every Morning is A

1st Pressing (Vinyl):
200 Orange/Bone (mailorder exclusive)
300 Highlighter Yellow

There's an album of Ben Seretan's that he's only ever referred to as "my insane Italy record." That's how he first pitched it to me in my minivan in the fall of 2019 — and that's how he calls my memory back to it now, telling me to begin the story there. I will: Ben and I were on tour together, two solo acts, mano a mano. We were rolling through the suburban Connecticut night, McDonald's curdling in our stomachs, our laughter and the windshield defogger in a gentle tug-of-war. We joked that this tour was only the second time we'd ever hung out, but the joke was true. I'd met Ben only once before and it was enough to suspect I'd have a good time doing so again. I didn't know the half — after only a few shows in, I'd already seen the boundlessness of Ben's capacity to surprise me. No two sets of his were the same — one night was an ecstatic halestorm of high-school virtuoso level guitar shredding, the next an almost sacred devotion to solely harmonium and voice. Several would feature the audience following Ben's instructions to call in to the same extension on his ambient music hotline, their speakerphones rippling over one another in a mosaic of sound. Each destroyed my expectations, left me in wonder. So: an "insane Italy record" sounded about right to me.

The Italy record is called Allora, an expressive Venetian catchall that literally translates to "at that time." A catch in my throat forms when Google Translate shows me this text in English. I know that this record was made in 2019, elbowing up to a twilight of innocence before the world that followed. I have images in my mind of its context: Ben and his band (bassist Nico Hedley and drummer Dan Knishkowy, both formidable songwriters in their own right) sweating in the Mediterranean summer, smoking cigarettes on trains, biting into bacchanalian fruit — textbook revelry, ridiculously rose-colored. And I know that this record was made mere weeks after the death of sculptor Devra Freelander, a deeply cherished friend within Ben's NYC world, whose harmonies are an indelible thread woven through Ben's 2020 album Youth Pastoral. Ben's entire community demanded that he go through with their planned tour to Italy even amidst their vivid grief — there were flights booked, people waiting, and no doubt their friend would have wanted them to.

I'm so glad they did. Allora is a record that couldn't have been made at any other time under any other circumstances. It is a document that is aware of its own capturing, understanding of its own value beyond the work itself. But the work is unbelievably good — as I pressed play on Allora's opener "New Air," I zoomed with relish back to hearing for the first time in my driver's seat, Ben's broadening smile in my peripheral vision every time the recording indulged in singing me with another riff. I wish everyone could experience this record that way — listening to the sound-analog of your friend's spirit while your friend, directly beside you, reacts to their reflected memory. I can't extract the way I hear this record from that feeling, but I can tell you it's self-evident. The utter chaos this record exudes, its peaks, its valleys — they are all there for a reason.

Ben’s history in Italy is as ridiculous and colorful as the record it eventually produced. It’s a country where, for one or two album cycles, he enjoyed an unexpected but delightful following — cue an image of Ben sweating in Rome while hauling LPs over cobblestones in a wheeled laundry basket, swimming in the ocean at 5am and eating focaccia straight out of the oven, or him playing "Kiss" at an Italian wedding the week Prince died. Fast forward to 2019, when he's asked to play a festival in Switzerland that would pay for a band to come over with him. They oblige, book a tour around the festival, land in Europe, and the tour falls apart. Instead of playing shows, the band heads to a stone farmhouse in the hills above Venice with legendary psych-rocker and producer Matt Bordin and burns Allora to tape in three days.

Three days. The furor of this record makes that fact seem appropriate, but the details and grace notes that fill the corners make it feel impossible. It isn't surprising if you know the clip at which Ben works — his catalog is massive and it doesn't stop coming. For example, there's a 24-hour drone record (My Life's Work), his weekly project of writing over a thousand words and publishing an accompanying track (My Big Break), and a set of improvisational piano pieces duetting with the white-noise roar of Appalachian nature (Cicada Waves). Drop a needle into the middle of any of it and you'll be disarmed. The same goes for Allora, jagged as it may be on its face — but follow the coarse, winding path of any track and you'll be met over and again with the same springs of hymnlike tenderness. Hedley and Knishkowy’s keen instrumental performances do well to articulate the deeply communal nature of this tenderness — on "Bend," simultaneously one of the album's most directly grief-laden and triumphant songs, they march arm in arm from tearful elegy to an outright dancefloor eulogy. Neither cancels the other.

Ben's a writer, I try to be. He sent some keywords and phrases along to season the pan for me, and I'm making a few of them my yearbook quotes here: One is cuore granata – the calling card of Torino Football Club, literally “heart grenade” in English. The other is Kate Bush’s simpatico "There is thunder in our hearts." As Ben’s friend, I’d go so far as to say these aren’t just ideas he likes — together, they form a claim he lives. The belief that each of us possesses a thunder to wield is a lesson he taught and continues to teach me. And Allora is a mighty example.

(Bio by Caleb Cordes)
releases July 26, 2024

View full details

Collapsible content


Orders will be shipped within 5-7 working days after being placed providing there are no pre-order items in the order.

Any order containing a pre-order item won't ship until that item is in stock.

Orders for any apparel may take 2-4 weeks to ship.

Devil Dog is currently a one man operation so please be patient when waiting on orders to be dispatched or e-mails to be answered.

24/48 Hour Tracking is from dispatched not from when the order is placed.

Thanks for your support!


More from Tiny Engines

1 of 8