Homework – Year 8

On Christmas day Belgian label taâlem has released the newest installment in their “Homework” series, which consists of a 71 tracks compilation by artists who operate in the Experimental / Drone Music fields. Andrea Marutti‘s “Second Vision of Cerberus (Hyperstatic)”, an unreleased and exclusive effort recorded on purpose in November 2023, is featured as opening number.

The compilation is available as a free / name your price digital release on the label’s Bandcamp page.

Lips Vago – Fictional Selfs EP

Well, it happened at last, it took quite a long time but in the end it happened: some of the music I recorded under my Lips Vago alias in the mid ’90s has caught the interest of a label and got released on vinyl.

I must admit that when I first heard from Jorge from Fluyo Records back in late 2022 I was quite surprised: he had discovered a few mp3 files on the Afe Records website – excerpted from some old Lips Vago CDr editions – and he was interested to listen more for possible inclusion on an upcoming compilation on his label. I did not have high expectations but I trusted him and gave him access to a large part of my archives.

Right from the start he seemed to have quite clear ideas about the type of tracks he was interested in, they would have to be ‘dancefloor oriented’. I have hours and hours of unreleased ‘music with a beat’ in my archives, but those which are really meant for the dancefloor are just a few.

He immediately fell in love with “The Mobility of Her Features” – a 1996 very melodic ‘trance’ track which I’m also still fond of after all these years – and in the end he decided that, instead of including it on a compilation, he wanted to release a full Lips Vago EP!

I let him choose the other tracks that suited best the mood he wanted to achieve, with absolutely no further input from my side. He slowed down “The Mobility…” to 130bpm and edited it a little bit – the original had a veeeeeeery long ‘ambient’ intro – and also took care about having all tracks properly mastered for a vinyl release.

When it was time to create the artwork I made a few proposals. The two images that were used on the center labels are real photographs – with no post-production or editing – that I took with an old Fuji digital camera just a few days before it ceased to function; its CCD was corrupted and the images had this sort of ‘melting’ quality, making people look hardly reassuring, almost ‘possessed’ I would say.

So, most of the ‘dancefloor oriented’ tracks in my archives are no longer unpublished, but I still have many hours of IDM / Leftfield / Downtempo unreleased stuff and I’m quite a nice flexible guy. All archival / reissue labels out there are warned: get in touch before all this music is buried with me! (8-)

Amon – Akh

I’m so glad to announce that, after being in the works since very long, Amon‘s “Akh” was released today by Nashazphone.

It was late December 2017 when Hicham Chadly got in touch and kindly proposed me a vinyl release on his exceptional label. We started to discuss the project and I thought that the best choice would be to reunite all the tracks I had spontaneously recorded back in 1995, which were split between the untitled “Amon” CD and the “El Khela” CD, respectively published by Murder Release and Eibon Records.

When reasoning about the title for this release, Hicham came up with the “Akh” concept which is explained here below:

“In Ancient Egypt, Akh was most often used to mean a complete person, whether living or dead. While living, the Akh was composed of all five elements – The Body, Ba (The Personality: Humor, Warmth, Charm), Ka (The Life Force unique to every person) which stayed, The Name, and The Shadow. When dead, the Akh referred to the reunion of the Ba and the Ka, which they also believed happened each night. In death and every night too, Akh is the reunion of the self.”

As a metaphor, I really couldn’t think of anything that would better hint at the reunion of these tracks which were separated for no particular reason other than the pressing of a double CD was out of the available budget…

Here’s some words I put together recently to describe the album:

«I recorded all the music featured on “Akh” at home in just ten days during September 1995. I was 25 then and I must admit I don’t remember much about those days, except that I used to spend most of my evenings watching movies and reading books. A lot of them. And making music, of course. Social life didn’t mean much to me at the time. I was in a period of transition in which I had decided to change my acquaintances, I had been working for a few years and I was starting to build my own music studio.

The only proper instrument I used on these tracks is a Roland JD-800 synthesizer, sequenced with Cubase and mostly recorded on an ADAT machine along with a few samples courtesy of a primitive sampling application which I used to run on a 386 Personal Computer. Since I still didn’t own a DAT machine back in the days, the tracks were mastered to DAT tape for release with the help of a friend of mine.

The following chart shows the chronology of the recordings of these very first “Amon sessions“:

Regula #1 – 05.09.1995
Uhura Photons – 07.09.1995
Time Is Waiting – 08.09.1995
Mopula – 10.09.1995
Tanit Zerga – 12.09.1995
Darkside Return – 13.09.1995
She Touched the Stone – 14.09.1995
Hiram Roi – 14.09.1995
Wasted – 15.09.1995

Six of these nine tracks were chosen for the “Amon” CD, while the other three, namely “Darkside Return“, “She Touched the Stone” and “Wasted“, were later used on the second Amon CD entitled “El Khela” in 1997. Of course they were not ‘second choice’, it was just a matter of creating the right flow as the label could not afford the release of a double CD.

All the pieces were created in a very spontaneous way. I didn’t have exactly this type of sound on my mind when I began recording, and I didn’t take inspiration from other similar experimental / deep ambient artists simply because I was mostly unaware of any of them in those days. This just happened. I discovered that my machine – the JD-800, which I’m still fond of after all these years – could create these beautiful and profound layers of sound and I simply explored them for the first time.

During the following years I tried to expand and improve this type of sounds/drones and the general concept of the Amon project, also using different techniques and instruments, but when I recorded these original nine tracks I was somewhat a ‘virgin’. For me it was like some sort of a sudden miracle/magic happening for the very first time.»

Andrea Marutti & Carlo Giordani – Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III) reviewed on Blow up (2)

The July/August 2020 special summer issue of Italian magazine Blow Up featured two distinct reviews of Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III); here’s the second, written by Paolo Bertoni:

“[…] anche il materiale raccolto in ‘Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide’ ha avuto una gestazione fuori dal consueto, nello specifico dal 2013 al 2020. Suggella la collaborazione tra Andrea Marutti, di cui ho detto in merito ai progetti, solitari o in compagnia, come Amon, Hall of Mirrors, Molnija Aura, Sil Muir, e Carlo Giordani, che pur in contatto da molti anni l’hanno concretizzata solo ora in occasione della sonorizzazione di un progetto multimediale di Massimo Indellicati, ‘Aquology – Oceano interiore’, in cui naturalmente l’acqua è elemento fondante. La prima delle cinque parti in cui si è risolta è uscito in formato MiniCD-r per la belga Taâlem, a febbraio, e la coppia conclusiva è prevista per il prossimo anno, in vinile. Sono dunque la seconda e la terza ad essere ospitate nel CD per i tipi di St.An.Da., con le registrazioni sul campo di Giordani, che ha sfruttato come matrice quanto raccolto durante un’esplorazione presso le dighe dei laghi Venerocolo e Pantano d’Avio, ad interagire, altresì come tessuto connettivo, con le componenti elettroniche curate da Marutti, per due estese suite, ‘Parte II – Ansia e sollievo’, mezz’ora, e ‘Parte III – Attesa’, quarantaquattro minuti. La prima con scrocchiante inizio concreto, suoni di allarmi, voci ed echi su risacca dronante, parentesi dark ambient con scrosci rumorosi, che diventano poi massa conglobante, e si placano sino a che l’acqua domina nel silenzio turbato da filamenti di tastiere e campane, la seconda che scalza le iniziali rarefazioni con un frangente scabrosamente industrial, premessa ad un’altra lunga porzione ambient che si profila in progressione sempre più tenebrosa, che quando si rischiara altalena tra cinguettii, battiti, sirene, abbai, tuoni, contenuti in una sinistra cornice. Di spessore anche l’ultima parte che, introdotta da un disimpegno drone, riassume metallici ardori industrial in crescendo, fino al quieto epilogo in cui si riaffermano acquatici palpitii.” (7/8)

Andrea Marutti & Carlo Giordani – Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III) reviewed on Blow up (1)

The July/August 2020 special summer issue of Italian magazine Blow Up featured two distinct reviews of Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III); here’s the first one, written by Gino Dal Soler:

“Andrea Marutti e Carlo Giordani si sono incontrati nel 2005, quando il primo aveva già all’attivo uscite importanti per la propria Afe Records a suo nome o col moniker Amon, più conosciuto allora, mentre il secondo era un già rodato field recordist. Un lungo percorso fatto di sinergie che infine conducono a questo perentorio ma efficace ‘Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide’. Una prima parte ‘Furia e abbandono’ era uscita ad inizio anno in formato 3″ per la belga Taâlem, mentre nei 74 minuti del CD in oggetto possiamo ascoltare la seconda e terza parte (una quarta e quinta parte dovrebbero uscire in vinile nel 2021). I sottotitoli sono di per se eloquenti: ‘Allarmi, turbinii e vortici, con quieto finale’ avvinghiano i primi trenta minuti e ‘Con immutabile presenza, il lento scorrere’ i restanti 43 e rotti. Il suono che ottengono è assai impressionante, vuoi per i perturbanti field recordings registrati perlopiù nell’area delle dighe dei laghi di Venerocolo e Pantano dell’Avio, vuoi per il non meno impattante arsenale elettronico di Marutti tra Korg MS20 e Roland JD-800 e tutto quel che ci sta nel mezzo tra analogico e digitale. Tra tensioni e dilatate sospensioni, drones dal profondo e urticanti noises in superficie, chiamare questa musica dark ambient è ormai riduttivo. Mi piace piuttosto immaginarla e ascoltarla come un oscuro, inquietante ed ansiogeno ma al tempo stesso sensoriale ‘cinéma pour l’oreille’, complice l’artwork fotografico in bianco e nero del sempre ottimo Stefano Gentile.” (7/8)

Andrea Marutti & Carlo Giordani – Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III) reviewed on Rockerilla

Here’s a new review of Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III) as written by Aldo Chimenti for Italian magazine Rockerilla:

“‘Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide’ è il frutto di un sodalizio artistico fra due talenti dediti a scatenare la furia degli elementi nel suono, pervaso da sordi fragori tellurici e indecifrabili rumori d’ambiente. È così che Andrea Marutti e Carlo Giordani mettono a regime le proprie arti congegnandole in un unicum di itinerari acustici adrenalinici e potentissimi, in origine commissionati da Ambiente H per musicare il progetto multimediale ‘Aquology – Oceano interiore’. I due movimenti che si allungano nel corpo dell’opera disegnano 74 minuti di orditi e snodi semiologici sul moto perpetuo delle cose, i cicli e le rivoluzioni che ne animano lo scorrere inesplicabile e vitale.

Organized Impressions of Liquid Anxieties – A press release by Bradford Bailey

Bradford Bailey was kind enough to write a press release for
my newest CD released by St.An.Da./Silentes and made in collaboration with Carlo Giordani.

«Building on 15 years of friendship, and nearly a decade working together, two fixtures of the Italian experimental music scene, Andrea Marutti and Carlo Giordani, come together with their collaborative debut full length release, “Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide” (Organized Impressions of Liquid Anxieties) – a rippling body of sonorous abstraction – issued by St.An.Da./Silentes.

The origins of the album date to 2011, when Andrea Marutti was asked by the filmmaker and cultural agitator, Massimo Indellicati, to compose soundtracks for a series of experimental short films – “Aquology – Oceano interiore” – centred around aquatic and science fiction themes. Intent on intervening with his own practice in electronics and synthesis, he asked field recordist, engineer, and software designer, Carlo Giordani, to come on board.

While the film project was never fully realized – only small fragments of Marutti and Giordani’s initial collaboration were used – their creative relationship bore fruit, bringing them together regularly over the subsequent years, each pushing and expanding the other’s approach toward sound into new territories. The album – the result of an enduring process of reworking of the cumulative material that resulted from their collaborations between December 2013 and January 2020 – melds these two distinct sensibilities into a single, palpable force.

“Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide” rests at the sublime juncture of shifting materiality and perception; where the organic transforms into the otherworldly and the synthetic bubbles with life. The collision of two highly individualized creative practices – built from a vast pallet of sonority – across its breadth, the locations of source and the intervening hand shift in and out focus, gathering as an expanse ambience and event that gives the impression of being guided by chance occurrences and responses of its own making.

Amplifying the incidental into the mystical and metaphysical, this work challenges the very notions of how we locate the meaning of music and art. Unified by the thematic vision of water that first brought Marutti and Giordani together, the album culminates as a series of evolving, abstract images, alluding to the embryonic fluids that give way to life. Drifting long tones, buzzing electronics, and woven textures of ambiguous sound, rumble and dance between the foreground and distance, penetrated by punctuations drawn intermittently from Marutti’s synths and Giordani’s deft snapshots of the world.

Like its subject, “Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide” is an immersive, languid realm, filled with elegant, poetic beauty, that bristle with unknown elements and the lingering potential of danger. A remarkably sensitive reminder of the creative potentialities that rest at the heart of electroacoustic, concrete, and field recording based musics, doubling as a vision of their possible futures, Marutti and Giordani have created an album that simultaneously drowns the ear and fortifies it with breaths of fresh air. Issued by St.An.Da./Silentes as a glass-mastered CD limited to 200 copies which is housed in a deluxe six panel digipack with black finish, featuring pictures by Stefano Gentile.»

Andrea Marutti & Carlo Giordani – Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III) reviewed on Vital Weekly

Here‘s the first review of Impressioni organizzate di ansie liquide (Part II and III) as written by Frans de Waard for Vital Weekly:

“You might think that the disc by Marutti and Giordani is a re-issue, as you saw the title already reviewed in Vital Weekly 1223. But I wrote, “that this piece is the first part of a bigger work to be released in the future”; this is the bigger work. Well, or part of it at least, as these are part two and three of the work and all of this is (again) part of a multimedia project by Massimo Indellicati, called ‘Aquology – Oceano Interiore’, and you don’t need to be a linguistic expert to realize this is all about life below the waves. Whereas the first was twenty-two minutes, these pieces span thirty and forty-five minutes. While splashes of water are part of this as well (as before), in “Parte II – Ansia e Sollievo’ (‘Anxiety and Relief’), there are also birds, church bells and street sounds. For some reason it is not all about the sea then, isn’t it? Maybe the multimedia project could tell us more about it, but that’s the part we are missing here. Marutti is the man responsible for synthesizers, samples, treatments, mixing and mastering, whereas Giordani handles the field recordings, tapes, treatments and mixing. All of this sees the music continuing where we left the first part; mucho drones are laid out, solemnly and peacefully meandering away, or slow (oceanic?) drift, while on top of that the field recordings come and go; it almost sounds like a stream of conscious sounds, or maybe like mixing blind from a bunch of unlabelled sources and see what happens. This is a seventy-four-minute release that could have been a three-hour piece as well. It moves back and forth between louder and quieter sections, never becoming a true noise anthem or a total ambient path. It has some fine urgency and is a true, dark beauty.”