STALKING THE ELUSIVE
E. Coniglio & A. Aldinucci – CD – Dronarivm, 2019


ANOTHER YEAR IS OVER
Open To The Sea (E. Coniglio & M. Uggeri) – CD – Midira records, 2019


MERGARIAM
Enrico Coniglio & Nicola Di Croce – CD – Flaming pines, 2019

REVIEWS

THE NEW NOISE

I due veneziani tornano a lavorare assieme dopo le rispettive prove soliste. Per la verità non si sono mai separati del tutto, il loro è un sodalizio ormai ben rodato (il progetto Tavolo Parlante, vari workshop e residenze svolti col passare degli anni). Mergariam è la loro nuova fatica: nello specifico, si tratta di venti minuti scarsi che traggono ispirazione da una session tenuta a Porto Marghera nel 2017. Tra loop di clangori metallici e registrazioni catturate in varie fabbriche site nell’area industriale di Porto Marghera (Mergariam è infatti l’antico nome medievale del luogo), Coniglio e Di Croce danno prova di poter domare e plasmare una materia piuttosto difficile da tenere a bada. Il risultato è il classico esempio di suono catturato in grandi luoghi del lavoro (alcuni ancora in attività, altri no) processato con estrema cura, che alla fine mostra il suo essere sempre poco definibile. Dopo circa dieci minuti, sembra però di stare ad ascoltare una passeggiata industrial di un certo peso, ma è una sensazione che si avverte in tutta l’intera traccia, in fondo. Questo cd, perciò, deve essere preso come uno studio sonoro – di fatto, lo è – ma anche come una sorta di score adatto a un’installazione artistica, per esempio. A me ha ricordato anche gli esperimenti svolti da Alan Splet per le immagini di Eraserhead di David Lynch.

SOUTERRAINE

Mergaria è l’antico nome del quartiere di Marghera, situato tra Mestre e Venezia, a cui è collegato con un lungo ponte sulla laguna. L’origine del suo nome non è certa, fa riferimento al verbo ‘mergĕre’, che significa ‘immergere’, ‘sommergere’ piuttosto che ‘unire’, come in inglese. Prima che il porto fosse costruito, la zona era in gran parte paludosa e, in seguito, deputata all’affondamento di quelle navi ritenute ormai irrecuperabili. Nel 2017, in occasione del centenario di Porto Marghera, Enrico Coniglio e Nicola Di Croce hanno realizzato un’installazione audio nell’ambito della mostra Industriae, effettuando una serie di registrazioni nell’area industriale ancora oggi in funzione. I microfoni dei due field recordist hanno catturato quanto emerge dagli ambienti esterni, sia inutilizzati o in fase di trasformazione, che da quelli interni, tuttora attivi e testimoni del comparto industriale. Suoni da tramandare ai posteri come memoria storica collettiva, in grado di stimolare anche l’immaginazione di coloro che non possono essere stati testimoni di un simile scenario in prima persona.

Una porzione del materiale registrato è confluito nell’album “Mergariam” (2019), pubblicato dall’etichetta anglo-australiana Flaming Pines, curata dalla sound artist Kate Carr. “Mergariam” si pone, dunque, come tentativo di fondere le diverse ‘anime’, più o meno tangibili, di Porto Marghera all’interno di un flusso sonoro granulare che, al netto di ripetuti ascolti, offre nuove sfaccettature e rivela ulteriori dettagli sul territorio e le sue vicende. La conoscenza della città e dei suoi spazi liminali ha fatto sì che Mergariam si configuri come un viaggio in miniatura tra ciò che resta di un ambiente antropizzato e che si ridefinisce di continuo attraverso echi, risonanze, pulsazioni e stridori, elementi già oggetto di studio di “Suoni A Margine” (2018), a cura di Nicola Di Croce, un libro che suggerisce un inedito approccio di ricerca per inquadrare le connessioni tra l’ambiente sonoro e le trasformazioni urbane legate a fenomeni quali lo spopolamento, la gentrificazione, il turismo, le sperequazioni, la scomparsa di identità locali e di patrimoni culturali intangibili. Una questione spesso inosservata.

L’incipit è un field recording d’impatto, con colpi nel vuoto. La pioggia ticchetta su un tetto alle spalle di rumori industriali replicati in serie all’interno di una fabbrica. All’improvviso, un vortice travolge l’ascoltatore. È il risultato di un’accurata investigazione sonora, in cui è stata catturata l’anima del luogo ma, a luci spente e alienata qualsiasi spiegazione di sorta, quanto registrato sembrerebbe trapelare da un campo di battaglia. Persino un cigolio ai limiti del fastidioso può avere sia una sua valenza scientifica che essere associato un ricordo di massa. Il susseguirsi di voci sullo sfondo è foriero di una nuova e crescente tensione. Un suono minaccioso è, infatti, sovrapposto allo scorrere dell’acqua e al librarsi di fumi nell’atmosfera. Una volta raggiunto l’apice della distorsione sonica, la traccia incorpora anche il presumibile passaggio di uno scricchiolante treno sui binari. L’ultima parte è ancora meno distinguibile. Sbuffi d’aria ritmici e l’incedere di un bordone calano il sipario sull’opera. Porto Marghera è un luogo abbandonato per molti, ma incredibilmente vivo.

SHEERWOOD.IT

Suoni a margine, verrebbe da dire citando il titolo del libro di Nicola Di Croce che si occupa delle politiche nella pratica dell’ascolto (Meltemi Edizioni). Un campo questo costellato di ascolti per nulla diretti, materia riservata ad un pubblico abituato a considerare il suono come prodotto della realtà nella quale siamo immersi, il respiro del territorio e delle sue diverse espressioni socio-culturali. Impervio è il compito di chi tenta una traduzione del linguaggio cattedratico usato nella descrizione dei lavori che contengono tali elementi. Per tentare di ‘spiegare’ un ascolto complesso come quello proposto per esempio in questo volume firmato da Coniglio e Di Croce, sembra sia quasi imprescindibile la conoscenza del percorso culturale e artistico di teorici quali- elencati d’impulso e senza reali corrispondenze – Russolo, Schaffer, Oliveiros e molti altri. L’instintività sonora viene azzerata e diventa materia di studio perdendo la sua componente base, la poetica. Operazione più che logica, vista nella prospettiva di chi, come in questo caso decide di proporre il battito reale del cuore industriale veneziano, ovvero ciò che ne resta. Mergariam, Marghera e più precisamente il suo Porto, luogo per certi versi carico di echi storici legati a battaglie operaie, morti per inquinamento, esodo forzato della fascia popolare più debole dal centro storico lagunare dentro i suoi confini metropolitani. Un luogo che nell’immaginario dei molti è oramai abbandonato a se stesso ma che in realtà continua a produrre echi vitali, gli stessi che sono racchiusi nei venti minuti di questa traccia che descrive con la lucidità e freddezza del field recording, le pulsazioni industriali di un luogo che sembra capace di vivere mediando tra un futuro di incertezze e il ricordo di quanto è stato. Personalmente trovo sia questa la cifra che distingue Mergariam, il field recording usato come mezzo capace di abbattere il tecnicismo teorico-accademico mostrando la sua potenza espressiva senza pari, basta saperlo ascoltare.

SOWHAT

Catturare il dato oggettivo per farne materia con cui restituire una realtà da scoprire, immaginare e reinventare. Chiamati a realizzare l’installazione audio per la mostra “Industriae” che celebra il centenario di Porto Marghera, Enrico Coniglio e Nicola Di Croce si inoltrano nei territori industriali della laguna alla ricerca di tracce risonanti ed echi ambientali con cui realizzare un evocativo percorso tra le diverse componenti di un paesaggio  sfaccettato. Ciò che i due costruiscono non è una visione nitida e cristallizzata da fruire passivamente. L’intento è quello di fornire, attraverso la combinazione  degli elementi estratti, le coordinate da utilizzare per procedere ad una personale immersione  tra le pieghe di un’area che reca profonda l’impronta di un’attività umana invasiva ed in parte ancora presente, un luogo che continua ad essere in costante evoluzione. Lungo i suoi venti minuti l’itinerario riecheggia di stridori e battiti metallici, di scie evanescenti e pulsazioni concrete, di frammenti vocali e suoni naturali avvolti da una densa e plumbea nebbia che testimoniano una complessa compresenza di fattori da decifrare, di dettagli da assorbire ascolto dopo ascolto. Profondamente tattile eppure permeato da un senso di aleggiante indeterminatezza, il tracciato plasmato rappresenta il risultato di un’approfondita indagine capace di divenire punto di partenza da cui muovere per immaginare la ridefinizione di un ambiente in via di ulteriore sviluppo.

FLUID SONIC FLUCTUATIONS

Fluid Label Focus on Flaming Pines 3

Enrico Coniglio + Nicola Di Croce: Mergariam (2019)

Reviewed format: review copy of CD as kindly provided by Flaming Pines

Welcome to the third review in my series about the Flaming Pines label. Today I have for you this CD titled Mergariam by Enrico Coniglio and Nicola Di Croce, which was sent to me as a review copy in the mail by the label. Enrico Coniglio is definitely not an unknown name to me as I’ve also reviewed the release Loud Listening on Crónica previously (you can find the review here: https://fluidsf.tumblr.com/post/182223221764/fluid-label-focus-on-crónica-012-various), which just like this release also features a field recording of an industrial facility that he made but in that case was used as source material by various artists to create their own new music for that album. Both Enrico Coniglio and Nicola Di Croce are Italian sound artists and field recordists who are active in both recording, research and creation of field recording compositions and aural documents. Mergariam is a composition created by and using field recordings Enrico Coniglio and Nicola Di Croce made in the port of Marghera in Italy of mostly industrial facilities once again, though in this case the composition also has a clearer division into several parts within it and there are even some elements of the composition that almost sound melodic. So this release is definitely a continuation of the exploration of sonic environments in Italy and particularly the sounds of industrial machinery, at times mixed with faint sounds from the people operating them, though this time in a more compact 20 minute single piece on this CD. Before I get into the piece Mergariam itself and my own interpretation and opinions about it, I’ll mention some details about the presentation of this piece on CD. The CD comes in a pretty glossy cardboard digipak sleeve which actually has a textured front and back cover, so you can feel many parts of the pile of dark black rocks on the photo by Giorgio Bombieri. The front cover features one part of this photo which offers a great dynamic dark image of one of the industrial environments that Mergariam is about matched with Kate Carr’s signature design in the type showing the title and artist names. On the spine the photo extends again as a background for the title and artists in nice type and on the back cover you can see a part of the same image which fills out the square giving the back cover a nice kind of patterned dark look. On the bottom right you can see the Flaming Pines logo, label name and catalogue number. On the right panel of the inside of the digipak you can see a different picture of an industrial facility, this one looking particularly crumbling, in which a bright light shines, it’s a nice contrast to the front of the package as it’s a much brighter, more positive looking image than the dark charcoal feeling of the front and the brush at the right adds a nice depth to the image. In white type layered over the image you can find the CD credits, a thanks note, specific release date, catalogue number and label site. Included in the package in the left panel die cut is a booklet featuring an essay on Mergariam by Franceso Bergamo on the inside, with a different photo from the dark rocks as a background of the text, as well as a different view photo on the outside of the booklet. The CD itself is printed with a different photo of an industrial facility with some nice lens flares showing from the lights. Underneath the CD, the photo from the left panel of the digipak extends some more.

Now onto the piece Mergariam itself, as I mentioned before the piece features several phases in which we can hear various different industrial environments which all feature their own at times subtly varying sonic characteristics. The piece starts soft with clattering machinery sound coming from the centre of the stereo image. The machinery sounds have a great hollow continuous resonant drone within them that gets accompanied by various hissy metallic shifting sounds at various pitches that almost feel like melodic tones as the resonance within them has quite a recognisable pitch in it that matches with background drone from the machinery. This first phase from the piece lasts until 4:50 after which a second phase of Mergariam begins with a noisier louder and much more diffuse industrial environment. Full of hissing, whirring, loud reverberating clangs, swishing metallic sounds this phase moves to an intense section of clattering metallic objects that feel like raining down on your head. The piece than crossfades into a creaky piece of industrial equipment, moving in quite a constant rhythm making quite piercing high frequency sound and soft sounds from people talking can be heard at the same time. This creaky squeaking sound introduces the third phase of Mergariam and fades into a different set of squeaks, in this case isolated from the background ambience and afterwards fading some a loud mass of whirring, steaming shifting and droney industrial sounds, like a turbine hall at full force. This fourth phase is a combination of both dissonant steaming sounds and drones which slowly moves into a very nicely fluctuating chord, a great moment of harmonic sound that adds another melodic element to the generally more diffuse and fuzzy textures of the sounds within the piece. After this chord reverberates, we move into phase five of Mergariam which has a train carriage like rumbling sound to it and a single creaking part of the structure can be heard in the distance for some nice detail, this transitions into the sounds of trucks dropping off materials which segues into the final phase six of the piece. Phase six again features quite a lot of hissing steam like mechanical sounds combined with the drone of the machinery and sucking like noises that move around in the stereo image whilst shifting phase which especially on headphones will have a great binaural effect on the listening experience. Like a gradually moving high pass filter the pieces layered sounds also start to move up and up on the sound spectrum until only the highest sounds of the industrial environment are left and ending in a very soft low rumbling sound. I feel that the great thing about the listening experience of this piece is that not only does the composition move around so smoothly through the various environments but the musical like elements like the aforementioned drones add a great awareness of the “organized” aspect of industrial sounds and makes us listen with a more focussed ear to sounds that we’d normally might want to avoid or wouldn’t hear as “music”. The rhythmic sounding metallic sounds definitely add a pleasant physical experience to the piece as the irregular movements through the stereo field and changing actions make them sound like an event that moves from A to B and the more abrupt edits between the phases of the piece add a great dynamic contrast within it. While most of Mergariam is void of human sounds, the few voices that can be heard are a nice reminder that indeed these machines aren’t entirely working just by themselves and alongside details like the trucks, these more directly recognisable sonic hints to their sources give use some nice reference points in a piece that features a lot of sound that can be interpreted in many ways and can have different effects on different people. I personally found the piece to be quite calming really, while indeed industrial sounds can at times sound harsh, intimidating even, the continuous streams of steam like sound, drones, and metallic “rhythms” have a strange ambient charm and perhaps even meditative effect to them that I can’t help but just feel really comfortable with. Especially the final phase of the piece rounds of Mergariam with a quite lush stream of both diffuse mechanical and droning sounds that feels like a pleasant bath of layered and texturally rich sound sweeping into the end of the piece. At 20 minutes the very varied sound also gives the piece a very nice evolving structure that gives it a nice pace and also never makes it feel overly lengthy but rather a memorable rewarding sonic experience you want to revisit many times.

Mergariam by Enrico Coniglio + Nicola Di Croce definitely proves once again that the art of field recording documents and compositions is a valuable treasure in the field of sound art and underground music that shouldn’t be overlooked or underrated in its significance of both sonic awareness and the stories behind the concept and recordings themselves. The piece on this CD offers an excellent journey through various industrial environments of the port of Marghera and works as both a pure discovery into the sounds as well as subconscious musical inspiration through the resonances and rhythmic details. With great sounding recordings and a lovely composition of this piece the two Italian sound artists offer an excellent CD on Flaming Pines, with the great photos by Giorgio Bombieri and in depth essay by Franceso Bergamo adding some useful and inspiring contexts and inspiring thoughts to the sonic experience itself. Another great release on Flaming Pines to definitely check out.

Pro-printed CD and Digital version are available on the Flaming Pines Bandcamp page here: https://flamingpines.bandcamp.com/album/mergariam


OPEN TO THE SEA
Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri – CD – Dronarivm, 2017

REVIEWS

A CLOSER LISTEN

The first thing one notices is the fabulist artwork of Flavio Parrino (1916-1994).  The cover image implies a Victorian summer at the sea: families walking along a calm shore, encountering an inventor and a strange contraption, the man perhaps remarking to the woman about the wonder of it all.

This sense of discovery permeates the entire production, from the shifting visual deceptions of the video to the puzzle that accompanies the deluxe edition (hint: save the blue for last).  It’s an exquisite feeling to “earn” the final three pieces of The Sea Puzzle, needing to flip the completed work to find the download code.  The music, performed by Enrico Coniglio and Matteo Uggeri with the contributions of nine others, is similarly intriguing.

The album itself is like a puzzle.  Just as one tends to fill in the edges first, the opening lyric (“Open to the sea”) dangles in the air until the closing track, where it finds consummation.  But what lies between the edges of a day, of a life, of a suite?  What colors, contraptions and communications decorate the interior?  From sparkling static to siren moans to “stolen cello”, the album fills in piece by piece, like the beach at high tide.  Snatches of conversation drift from a distant telephone.  Trumpet and trombone offer languid commentary.  On “Up Over the Harbour Lights”, Coniglio’s piano reverberates like a buried memory of some other lost summer, love lost to the sands of time, sea glass swept from the hand, reclaimed by the surf.  There’s a bittersweet tone to this sea, a mingling of salt and tears.  A keyboard issues a calliope sound on “I Am The Sea”, and one feels the longing, the drift.

The digital EP is a sweet bonus, beginning with “Never Too Early for Christmas Decorations – Pt.2”.  (“Pt. 1” can be found on the 2017 Dronarivm New Year compilation Illuminations.)  When one hears the chimes, one begins to think of Santa, but only because of the title.  As the piece gently folds into the next, soothing female vocals return us to the sea once more.  The softest parts of the song return us to the couple, arms draped around each other as they walk.  The percussion imitates the waves as they crash, the struggles overcome in order to land on a blissful shore.  This is where we want to spend the rest of our summer.  Christmas can wait, but love can not.  As the clacking of horses’ hooves is joined by cello in the closing piece, one imagines a return to an ordinary life that no longer seems mundane, thanks to the rich experience of the shore. [Richard Allen]

INDIE ROCKMAG

N’y allons pas par quatre chemins. Open To The Sea est l’un des disques essentiels de ce cru 2017 en matière d’ambient hédoniste. Le mérite en revient évidemment à ses deux auteurs, Enrico Coniglio et Matteo Uggeri, mais également à l’incontournable label Dronarivm pour avoir rendu cette collaboration accessible aux initiés.

Clairement, Open To The Sea n’est pas assez consensuel pour s’attirer les faveurs du grand public. Certes, de manière quasi-permanente apparaît un piano dont les accords espacés et évanescents contribuent à ce rythme lent qui ne rend l’ensemble que plus mystique. Mais il n’y a pas de chaloupe dans les enchaînements, pas plus que d’apparition d’arrangements de cordes qui n’auraient d’autre objectif que de décrocher des larmes fantaisistes chez l’auditeur.

De la même manière, les apparitions vocales féminines, à l’instar de celle qui voit Violeta Paivankakkara émerger contre vents et marées – ou plutôt contre trompette et batterie – sur I Am The Sea, ne jouent pas la carte de la sensualité. Le charme opère pourtant, mais il touche l’auditeur comme le font ces esprits discrets qui ne sont pas tout à fait conscients de leur inestimable valeur et qui ont alors tendance à se dévaloriser.

Open To The Sea est-il le disque de deux génies qui s’ignorent ? De deux artistes qui manquent de confiance en eux ? Ou tout simplement de personnes humbles ? La vérité contient probablement un soupçon de chacune de ces hypothèses. Toujours est-il que les Italiens ont accouché de ce disque suite à un long échange de mails qui leur a permis de définir la couleur de cet enregistrement.

Celle-ci est assurément claire. Parfois même transparente à défaut d’être anecdotique. Légères, les nappes analogiques et synthétiques se superposent et flottent dans l’air, défiant le temps qu’elles suspendent sans rougir. Membre de la formation de post-rock électronique Sparkle In Grey ou en duo avec Icci au sein du projet Der Einzige, le batteur-trompettiste Matteo Uggeri épouse le savoir-faire électronique d’Enrico Coniglio pour ce qui constitue leur première collaboration.

Open To The Sea s’ouvre surtout sur le cœur de l’auditeur. Elle ne le frappe pas, mais le caresse. Elle se dirige en tout cas directement vers lui en multipliant les approches, allant du jazz-ambient industriel sur un Floating Metal Sheets dominé par trompettes et trombone au minimalisme tourmenté par les violons de Dutch Street Theatre en passant par les drones néoclassiques hantés par des field recordings vocaux du brillant Jessaias De Reduire Mes Medicaments dont l’orthographe du titre constitue finalement la seule approximation de cet enregistrement essentiel.

http://www.indierockmag.com/article29362.html

DRIFTING, ALMOST FALLING

Dronarivm return to the musically fertile country of Italy for their latest release. Although the release is credited to Enrico Coniglio and Matteo Uggeri there are a decent amount of collaborators on this release such as vocals/lyrics coming from Francesca Amato’s (aka Comaneci), Lau Nau, Violeta Päivänkakkara and British actor John Guilor.  Extra brass from Fabio Ricci (Vonneumann), electronics from Guilio Aldinucci and Stella Riva (Satan Is My Brother) and mastering by James Plotkin rounds out the collaborators.

The label describes the collaboration as s result of fruitful email conversations and describes the collaboration as “Sweet and minimal melodies on piano, organ and guitar of Enrico meet the efforts of trumpet and drums of Matteo whose electronics treatment and delicate beats provide the solid ground to a music that seems a perfect match of the two artists sensibility.  “Open to the Sea” explores a variety of merging organic sounds where the calm and intimately of the album is disrupted by incursions of gentle noises and sometimes curious juxtapositions.”  

Coniglio describes himself as a Guitarist, environmental sound recordist and sound artist with an interest in the landscape aesthetics. He has previously appeared on labels such as Fluid Audio, Crónica Electronica, Taalem, Glacial Movements as well as co-running the digital label Galaverna.

Matteo Uggeri is a frequent collaborator with releases with artists such as Andrea Ferraris, Maurizio Abate and Christiano Deison on labels such as Hibernate, Time Released Sound and Scissor Tail to name a few.

“Open to the Sea” starts off with Francesca Amato’s sweet sounding double track voice reciting the title. Ambient tones and granular glitches start the track which is no hurry floating at a gentle pace. Lau Nau’s haunting vocals float over the soundscape which is building in intensity ever so slightly before violin cuts through and field recordings of possibly a market place enter that are crisp enough to make you think they are there in the room with you. I would file this under electroacoustic sound art than as ambient per se.

“Jessaias de reduire mes medicaments” begins with Scanner-like recording of a phone conversation/ interview which is joined by melodic ambient tones and musical saw like drones which are peppered by glitchy electronics that are pulsing and phasing. This short track combines the experimental elements alongside the more the melodic electronica and fuses them together well.

“Up Over The Harbours Lights” Coniglio’s guitar opens the track in a blues like style alongside ambient drones that coincide with the final strum of the guitar before piano, industrial sounds, field recordings and samples enter the sound mix. The track shows the musicians soundtrack-esque construction to create a sound palate of dissimilar origins to work together.

“I Am The Sea” features Violeta Päivänkakkara on vocals and lyrics and starts with her ethereal vocals before melancholy minimal piano, guitars, synths, distant percussion, bells, electronics and trumpet fuses together to form a track that is so many genres mixed into one. The haunting trumpet that cuts through mixed with Päivänkakkara’s vocals, alongside piano and electronic and traditional percussion works so well as it covers post rock, electronica, Electroacoustic and soundtrack works so easily.

“Floating Metal Sheets” this experimental sounding track sees assistance from fellow Italian and Dronarivm artist Guilio Aldinucci. This track starts with acoustic guitars and some sort of background percussive noise source that I can’t get my head around. Some crackling electronics start and flutter with drones lightly covering them as a rolling noise pans left and right. Trombone joins the track with an effect similar to a car slamming on its breaks, before changing to slow mournful blowing over the acoustic guitars while electronics scatter about.

“Dutch Street Theatre” features UK voice over artist and actor John Guilor who has worked on Dr Who. Guilor’s narration is laid over piano, drones and violin and field recordings of people talking. I am not sure where the narration comes from and whether it is related to the theme of this album, but it doesn’t personally work for me.

“Now I’m Silent” starts with an electronic heart beat sound paired with darting drones, piano and percussive noise with electronic whistling, before venturing into jazz territory with wailing trumpet and electric guitar, disjointed gunshot drums. It’s a track of two quite separate halves that work well separately, but take time to get used to the differences.

“Allarme” begins with a broken piano like opening, before alarm sounds pan in and out and glitch electronics, cymbals and piano are gently caressed. Field recordings, possibly of radio or loud-speaker transmissions traverse the piece that is being slightly held together by piano while non traditional percussion rattles and rolls with brass instruments and intermittent sounds. Again Coniglio and Uggerri manage to fit a lot of source material in a piece that while at times seems like a juxtaposition, but also compliments one another.

“I Say I May Be Back” sees radio samples and static overload piano with a hint of paning banjo, guitars and percussion that has a nautical feel with Francesca Amato’s vocals that bring the album full circle with the recurring title line. The instruments one by one break down leaving Amato’s voice to finish out the album much like she started it.

“Open to the Sea” is not a straight forward album to get a handle on. There are so many constituent parts that make it up and it covers Ambient/Drone/Post Rock/Experimental/ Electroacoustic genres, sometimes in the same track. The thing it has going for it is it’s unpredictability and it’s depth is that it’s not a release that can be easily glossed over. Most of the tracks work extremely well and the depth that James Plotkin has gotten in the master allows for that richness and shows why he is one of the most popular masterers around.  There is a special version of the release limited to 50 copies which comes with a jigsaw and bonus digital ep.

https://driftingalmostfalling.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/enrico-coniglio-matteo-uggeri-open-to-the-sea

BEACH SLOTH

Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri celebrate the majesty of unwieldly worlds with the spacious “Open To The Sea”. Utilizing avant-garde techniques alongside elements of folk, classical, and drone the way the songs pass makes them feel alive. Highly detailed the songs are fully immersive, with each song representing yet another chapter in a life. A poetic quality dominates the album, the way the sound ebbs and flows akin to waves. Such a loose design, the songs teem with incredible energy. Instrumentally rich, the duo lets a wide variety of emotional moods inform the sound.

Eerie breathy vocals introduce the title track “Open To The Sea”. With a dusty, ancient approach to the sound the way the song unfurls reveals vibrant layers. Post-rock elements float into the airy summery spirit of “Up Over The Harbours Lights”. Various pings come into play on the giddy textures of “I Am The Sea”. Hushed whispers sweep over the surreal scope of “Floating Metal Sheets”. Hard to pin down is the disoriented wave of “Dutch Street Theatre”. Quite serene is the no wave inflected jazz rock of “Now I’m Silent” whose noir-like style has considerable flair. Small rumbles emerge out of the experimental lullaby of “Allarme”. Ending the album off on a high note is the meditative “I Say I May Be Back”.

“Open To The Sea” goes for something truly beautiful, a vibrant colorful album that draws the listener in and displays the uncanny knack for pacing of Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri.

http://www.beachsloth.com/enrico-coniglio-matteo-uggeri-open-to-the-sea.html

IGLOO MAG

Matteo Uggeri is one busy man and extremely prolific sound artist, no matter if it is under his own name, in collaboration, under the moniker of Barnacles or with his chamber experimental rock ensemble Sparkle in Grey. This new collaborative work features the presence of Enrico Coniglio for a beautifully creative, dreamily evocative and inspiring album welcomed by the Moscow based label Dronarivm (responsible of many soundtracky droning modern classical music artifacts from Anne Chris Bakker, Dag Rosenqvist, Celer et al). Enrico Coniglio is one guitarist and sound sculptor who has published a handful of colorful minimal ambient releases for Silentes and Psychonavigation. The alliance between the two creative minds is really harmonious and all soundscapes are beautifully designed, spontaneous and immediately catchy. The enigmatic, retro-ish and dada-esque drawing (from Flavio Parrino) used for the visual artwork perfectly illustrates the electronic onirism / poetical weirdness of the music.

The musical ambience introduces the listener in an enchanting world of acoustic sounds punctuated by discreet electronic scintillations and free-form improvs. Detached piano chords interact with minimal jazzy atmospheric touches, ethereal vocals, narratives, punchy electro grooves, sonic aleatoric experimentation and bizarre guitar tricks. The music navigates with pleasure between effective, cinematic then emotional ambient minimalism (with a sense of decay and melancholy) and complex instrumental orchestrations (thanks to the presence of numerous guest artists). This hybrid of styles is somewhere between Jean Cohen Solal, Loren Connors, The Kilimanjaro darkjazz ensemble, Lech Jankowski and Sparkle in Grey.

One original, introspective, fairy-like and curious album that will ravish fans of challenging, unconventional, post-classical and experimental music.

http://igloomag.com/reviews/enrico-coniglio-matteo-uggeri-open-to-the-sea-dronarivm

ONDAROCK

Pur conoscendo la curiosità musicale e la profonda sensibilità di Enrico Coniglio e Matteo Uggeri, io stesso mi sono stupito di ciò che hanno voluto realizzare in questo nuovo progetto per l’etichetta Dronarivm. Entrambi grosso modo afferenti all’ambito sperimentale e alla sound art – l’uno più specificamente nel field recording, l’altro in vari progetti di matrice dark – con il loro primo album in collaborazione decidono di assecondare un’ispirazione più melodica, pur senza rinunciare alla cura del dettaglio e muovendosi liberamente tra le stanze della loro immaginazione.

“Open To The Sea” è un percorso narrativo disseminato di elementi astratti e familiari al tempo stesso: a fianco delle note dominanti di chitarra e pianoforte, reminiscenti del post-rock acustico dei Rachel’s e del folk da cameretta dei Padang Food Tigers, compaiono man mano brevi estratti strumentali e sample di voci recitanti ricontestualizzate, come oggetti sonori recuperati da una soffitta e rimessi a nuovo. Le atmosfere essenziali e la preminenza di suoni “tangibili” simulano un’esperienza simile alla dormiveglia, una realtà appena alterata dove anche le suggestioni verbali sono soltanto frammenti perduti nel tempo e attinti per caso dalla memoria subcosciente.

Se gran parte delle tessiture si dipana per mano dei due autori, molti altri contributi (diretti o “catturati”) provengono da amici artisti italiani e internazionali quali Giulio Aldinucci, Francesca Stella Riva (Satan Is My Brother), Fabio Ricci (vonneumann), Franz Krostopovic (con Uggeri negli Sparkle In Grey) e Violeta Päivänkakkara; una varietà di timbri e di stili che conferisce all’opera un carattere corale, benché il merito della sapiente giustapposizione vada riconosciuto ai firmatari e, in seconda battuta, alla comprovata qualità del mastering di James Plotkin.

Ancor più che un album – nell’accezione nostalgica di collettore d’immagini – quello di Coniglio e Uggeri diviene uno spazio d’ascolto in cui abitare confortevolmente, uno state of mind delicato come le geometrie elementari del dipinto in copertina di Flavio Parrino, una sorta di Luigi Serafini non ancora avvezzo alle strampalerie dell’indecifrabile Codex.

http://www.ondarock.it/recensioni/2017-conigliouggeri-opentothesea.htm

MUSIC WON’T SAVE YOU

Chi segue le ormai durature attività creative di Enrico Coniglio e di Matteo Uggeri ne conosce l’approccio al comune campo del soundscaping ambientale, tanto che vederli lavorare a un progetto artistico condiviso potrebbe indurre a immaginare quest’ultimo collocato proprio in quell’orizzonte espressivo. Vi è tuttavia un altro significativo denominatore proprio delle personalità di entrambi gli artisti, ovvero l’eterogeneità dei contesti nei quali si sono trovati a operare nel corso degli anni, che abbracciano folk ed elettronica, melodie e dissonanze, paesaggi elettro-acustici e tenebrosi abissi dronici.

Sulla base di tali premesse, il loro dialogo a distanza che ha portato alla realizzazione di “Open To The Sea” non poteva che essere estremamente articolato e, appunto, aperto a una vasta varietà di spunti sonori, stilistici e persino concettuali. Le nove tracce del lavoro rappresentano infatti una significativa ridefinizione delle coordinate espressive di un paesaggismo ambientale e “culturale”, applicato non alla manipolazione dei suoni concreti bensì alla costruzione di un microcosmo auditivo nel quale trova pieno diritto di cittadinanza una prevalente strumentazione cameristica in miniatura, nonché la melodia, incarnata anche dall’elemento vocale.

Non che lungo l’intero corso di “Open To The Sea” manchino samples e field recordings, ma il cuore della collaborazione tra i due artisti italiani è, da un lato, essenzialmente acustico e, dall’altro, inteso a definire ancora una volta uno spazio, in senso fisico e figurato, il secondo dei quali perfettamente rispondente all’ampiezza dell’immagine dell’orizzonte marino suggerita dal titolo.
Tutto ciò è declinato in una sequenza mutevole dal punto di vista compositivo, nella quale si alternano senza alcuno iato le incantate armonie vocali di Lau Nau e di Francesca Amato (Comaneci) sulla title track d’apertura e sulla conclusiva “I Say I May Be Back”, vibrazioni e loop di avvolgente narcolessia (“Jessaias de reduire mes medicaments”, “Allarme”), beccheggi e pulsazioni di latente inquietudine (“I Am The Sea”, “Now I’m Silent”).

Componente saliente del lavoro resta comunque quella acustica, incarnata da austere aperture d’archi e tromba, cadenzate note pianistiche e gentili pizzicate di corde di chitarra e banjo, che nello spettro espressivo del duo introducono contemplativi sentori folk. Il tutto è comunque quasi sempre incorniciato da minuti detriti elettronici e interpolato da samples concreti, rumori e spoken word, intimamente saldati nella definizione di uno spazio sonoro nel quale naturale e umano si fondono in un’osmosi che ne proietta la rappresentazione a un livello empatico sorprendente, ma non certo per chi conosce l’attitudine e la sensibilità di due artisti protagonisti di simile incontro, straordinariamente riuscito.

https://musicwontsaveyou.com/2017/07/10/enrico-coniglio-matteo-uggeri-open-to-the-sea/

SO WHAT

Sognante e denso di prospettive come un pallone aerostatico che sta per spiccare il volo, dolcemente malinconico e privo di limiti come l’irraggiungibile orizzonte che delimita il mare senza mai riuscire ad ingabbiarlo. È riassunto perfettamente nella sua immagine di copertina, un dipinto di Flavio Parrino, l’essenza del caleidoscopico paese delle meraviglie disegnato da Enrico Coniglio e Matteo Uggeri in “Open the sea”.

È un luogo in cui ogni cosa può accadere con somma naturalezza, rendendo possibile l’incastro di racconti eterogenei uniti da una costante dimensione melodica definita da fragili stille pianistiche e minimali cadenze chitarristiche combinate a incostanti pulsazioni e preziose incursioni di fiati e archi, capaci di dilatare ulteriormente uno spettro espressivo già ampio. Ci si ritrova così a navigare attraverso tracciati cullanti dai quali emergono evanescenti le voci di Lau Nau (“Open to the sea”), Violeta Paivankakkara (“I am the sea”) e Francesca Amato (“I say I may be back”), che catturano come l’irresistibile canto delle sirene o ad abbandonarsi al fluire di frammenti che sembrano giungere dal passato, rievocato da polverose modulazioni e voci distanti (“Jessaias de reduire mes medicaments”) o da silenti combinazioni elettroacustiche che accolgono il contributo dei ceselli sintetici di Giulio Aldinucci e le sghembe apparizioni dei fiati di Francesca Stella Riva e Fabio Ricci (“Floating metal sheets”).

“Open to the sea” è un disco che fin dalle prime note ha la capacità di spiazzare chi conosce e segue il lavoro di Coniglio e Uggeri, lontano dai paesaggi sonori abitualmente frequentati. Ma il disorientamento dura soltanto un attimo, il tempo necessario a ricordarci quanto in fondo i due hanno sempre dimostrato di essere costantemente alla ricerca di tracciati inesplorati.

Non resta che mettersi comodi e cominciare a sognare ad occhi rigorosamente spalancati.

https://sowhatmusica.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/enrico-coniglio-matteo-uggeri-open-to-the-sea/

M MUSIC

A través del imprescindible sello Dronarivm me llega este “Open To The Sea” de los italianos Enrico Coniglio y Matteo Uggeri publicado en una edición absolutamente deliciosa el pasado 7 de Julio. Sobre todo la edición especial con puzzle y la descarga digital del EP “The Sea Puzzle”. Una presentación fantástica, como todas las de este sello…

El disco surge de la colaboración vía e-mail de lo dos artistas italianos. Las melodías minimalistas al piano, órgano y guitarra de Coniglio se unen a las trompetas y percusión de Uggeri. Y el resultado es un minimalismo mágico, con aires electrónicos sutiles, brillantes. Composiciones íntimas, aderezadas con delicadas voces entre las que se encuentra la del actor británico John Guilor, que enriquecen los matices y hacen casi infinitos los colores musicales del disco.

Open To The Sea” es un trabajo delicioso, extraordinariamente presentado. Y la colaboración de los italianos Enrico Coniglio y Matteo Uggeri no podía ser más inspirada. Un trabajo sensacional. http://www.mmusic.es/2017/07/enrico-coniglio-and-matteo-uggeri-open.html 


inner frost
øe + enrico coniglio – CD – taâlem, 2013

REVIEWS

FEAR DROP n. 17

AMBIENTBLOG.IT

21 Minutes (2 Tracks) of Glacial ambient created by ∅e (Fabio Perletta: guitar, loops) and Enrico Coniglio (guitar, field recordings, sampler). The (december 2013) release was especially postponed because the music perfectly fits the winter season. The opening sounds of a harsh winter storm might give you some extra chills. But in summer, this wide musical landscape full of fascinating details may help you cool down when desired!

A CLOSER LISTEN

Taâlem’s latest batch of CD3″s arrived at the end of the year, but all are suitab e for winter. Tone Color‘s entry is cool and sleepy like a long hibernation; Øe (Fabio Perletta) and Enrico Coniglio’s is cold and dry like Antarctic wind; and Babylone Chaos’ is as disturbing as a stir crazy Jack Torrance. They are available together or apart; the first editions are in digipacks, later editions in jewel cases. […] By title and tone, Øe and Enrico Coniglio’s Inner Frost is intended to be a winter recording; little imagination is needed to feel the frost in these currents. The chords accumulate like snow drifts, intimating a deep winter, dangerous enough to chill the marrow. The higher pitches resonate like pinging icicles or tinnitus. As the frost sets in, it penetrates the psyche; this inner frost is a cold heart, a suspicious mind, an unmotivated body. Like a mountain climber suffering from hypoxia, it offers strange aural delusions: a growl toward the beginning of “A White Place” may be that of a polar wind advancing through the wind. And yet, the music itself never falls into torpor. Swirling, drifting, falling or rising, it continues in motion, a blizzard that stills everything in its path without itself becoming still. [Richard Allen]

VITAL WEEKLY

Of Enrico Coniglio I heard before, through his releases on Silentes, Psychonavigation, Glacial Movement and his collaboration with people like Oophoi and Giovanni Iami. Here he works with Fabio Perletta, known from his own Farmacia901 label, and his work with Richard Chartier, Yann Novak, Lawrence English, Simon Whetham and Fabio Orsi. Together they use guitar, field recordings, sampler, laptop, loops and acoustic guitar. These two men connect more to the music of Tone Color, or perhaps with the whole genre of ambient music in general, or perhaps better: the kind of ambient music Vital Weekly deals with a lot. Dark, sustaining, working with overtones generated from a simple and single sound source and then slowly expanding into this whole universe of sounds, but never really tacky, in a new age sense. In ‘A White Place’ a nasty high end sort of sine wave peeps around the corner which makes this most certainly stranger than any new age record would ever do. On this grey and sombre December morning, this is the best kind of music one can hope for. A bit desolate, a bit grey, but also nicely warm enough, and, to be honest also, not the kind of thing I haven’t heard before. But who cares about that? [FdW]

SWIRLS OF NOISE

Is this not an intriguing cover artwork? Does not it come over as strange and confusing? How should one interpret this odd formation, this weird arrangement of snow and ice? And how does the music play into this? Questions, ever more questions.

Uncertainty? Is this the way this release should be read? Uncertainty? The intense wind with which the release opens, the strange noises that enter later and the rather mystic otherworldly sound of the ambient, whose part dominates this release, are these the facets that cannot be neglected with a cover like this? Is it mandatory to remind the listener to the harshness of an environment in which ice and snow dominate over everything else? At least it appears to be the case on Inner Frost. First the setting of the stage, then the reward for keeping attention and following the band. Somehow as if the listener had to wander through a snow storm and had to seek shelter in a cave or some sort. Then something happens: either the winds break down and a magical scenery lays bare in front of the listener or this person might have entered some kind of cave, whose play with light and sound creates an otherworldly atmosphere.

Whatever may be the truth is actually not important. Those sounds and textures can be interpreted in numerous kind of ways and each of them might have their own merit. Two tracks appear on this release and together they have a length of over twenty minutes; but these are not equally shared among them. Roughly two-third belong to the opener and his intense collection of atmospheres, while the other one is comparably shorter as well as focussed. Both have things in common but nevertheless differ clearly from each other.

The arrangements and the style are what can be expected from music with a focus on such a scenery. On the one hand there is the definite sound of what persists and what sets most of the stage and then there are those small elements which change and alter what can be seen, felt and experienced: maybe a small avalanche, maybe some alteration in the setting of the light. Broad textures of ambient and drone on the one hand with playful short noise fragments on the other. The contrast of what you know and of what you hope for. It is icy and cold as well as warm and providing comfort at the same time. Those powerful textures create a certain sense of comfort and stability. 


THE NOVEMBER EARTH
Aqua Dorsa – CD – Gterma, 2013

REVIEWS

FEAR DROP

Voici l’un des ultimes enregistrements où l’on peut entendre Gianluigi Gasparetti alias Oophoi. Pour la deuxième et dernière fois, son compatriote le Vénitien Enrico Coniglio l’a accompagné, ou plutôt enveloppé de sa bienveillante postproduction. Toujours méditative mais évitant le plus souvent l’écueil de la musique de repos, l’œuvre d’Oophoi mêlait les sources synthétiques, instrumentales et les percussions. De subtiles réverbérations naissent de cette musique ambiante habitée, dans la tradition des Américains Greinke, Roach ou Rich. Par l’ouverture de lumière au savant crénelage, Enrico Coniglio a inséré d’autres percussions, mais aussi des samples divers, des cordes, des extraits de vinyles. Il a, me dit-il, finalisé cet album après le décès de Gasparetti, dont les bandes dataient certainement des années 1990. Le principal souci d’Enrico Coniglio fut d’intervenir sans « trahir » en rien l’esprit des compositions originales. Il est effectivement délicat d’avoir à se mêler sans échange, de faire « comme si » la collaboration permettait la renégociation permanente. Mais il n’en est rien et Enrico Coniglio a pratiqué principalement des ajouts. The November Earth est un disque de musique suspendue, ainsi que peut l’être la brume, entre le sol et l’éther, une musique qui se réverbère dans le flou, part en s’effilochant. Peu de fantômes mélodiques mais en revanche des souffles d’harmoniques comme des rais de lumière filtrant opiniâtrement au travers du brouillard. Les plus métalliques des frottements sont traités dans l’éloignement, ce qui contribue à la mise en profondeur du champ. Percer le frima, l’oreille en est capable, et elle supplée merveilleusement la vie défaillante : les échos se mêlent à la condensation, gouttes et filins qui perlent et s’organisent tels des pas. Peut-être que le grand vainqueur de ce panorama d’automne est, plus que l’humidité, le froid, qui joue des réverbérations et ralentit les mouvements sans toutefois les figer.

SANTA SANGRE

Aqua Dorsa is a project of two Italians, Enrico Coniglio and Gianluigi Gasparetti, and “The November Earth” is their second effort; the first one saw the light of day in 2009, thanks to Glacial Movements. As we all know, last year Gianluigi Gasparetti has left us for a better world, leaving a wonderful, rich legacy to all fans of ambient/ drone. “The November Earth” was created after the musician’s passing, but these are in fact his compositions. Enrico was responsible for further processing, post-production and the creation of the final form of the music that can be found on the silver disc. The Oöphoi spirit hovers over the entire album, from beginning to end, through the whole sixty-seven minutes. There are eleven – in most cases, not particularly long – compositions. Gigi’s music was always quite specific, not necessarily touching each ambient heart. Even among drone oriented individuals I know some who consider Oöphoi as an indigestible entity, too minimal and monotonous for them. Personally I always liked Oöphoi, although it’s obvious that with such a monstrous discography some releases I like more, some less. Some I still haven’t discovered…If you don’t know the project yet and would like to become familiar with it, I suggest starting your journey from “Hymns To A Silent Sky”, “Arpe Di Sabbia” and “The Rustling Of Leaves”. But I understand why one may not like Oöphoi works. His drones are often stretched to the limit, modulated and manipulated very subtly, sometimes imperceptibly, without using an insane number of tracks or special effects. Such an album is “The November Earth”. It isn’t an accident that the previous album, “Cloudlands” came out of Alessandro Tedeschi’s magic freezer, because although the title says November, the music is often as cold as a frozen stone. “Cold Tears” for example, the longest part of the disc, glitter like icicles on a sunny but terribly frozen day. Thanks to “Frost I” and above all “Frost II” I feel like I’m stuck in a crevasse in the middle of a snow desert. A “Pulse Of The Earth” makes that I don’t feel cold any longer, even though the blood in my veins has coagulated a long time ago. This recording is not as austere as the most ascetic of Oöphoi productions; the compositions are more varied and richer sounding, although any fireworks shouldn’t be expected. It still a very static form, causing the hands of a clock to rotate significantly slower than usual. “The November Earth” doesn’t disappoint. It’s also a kind of epitaph for a great musician that has left us far too early. In this context, the album is even more impressive. And touching.

DARKROOMRITUALS

Надеюсь, на восприятие этого альбома не повлияет разница в климатических условиях, ведь, судя по фотографиям в буклете, ноябрь в Италии явно выглядит потеплее, чем на большей территории нашей страны – во всяком случае, снега еще нет, вода не скована льдом и нет нужды кутаться в несколько слоев теплой одежды. Что роднит наши и итальянские ноябрьские будни, так это чуточку тоскливое ощущение еще одного цикла, подходящего к логичному и неизбежному концу – ощущение это пронизывает даже бумагу, запечатлевшую серые пейзажи, ставшие олицетворением рано и неумолимо гаснущего дневного света и тепла, явно пасующего против первых заморозков, спешащих упасть на спящие травы. Чего уж говорить о музыке, ставшей настоящим гимном поздней осени. Есть, к сожалению, еще одно объяснение подобному настроению «TheNovemberEarth» – когда Энрико Кониглио, известный звукоэкспериментатор, заканчивал альбом, его партнера, Джанлуиджи Гаспаретти («Oophoi»), предоставившего для работы звуковые заготовки разных лет, отделяли считанные дни от последнего вздоха. Так что тема «угасания» проходит по этому диску красной нитью, затрагивая разные аспекты этого понятия. Что, впрочем, не делает музыку какой-то негативно заряженной – здесь, скорее, можно заметить философское отношение к этим процессам, без которых колесо Жизни не было бы полным. Итак, в музыке превалируют темные оттенки, ложащиеся тенями на атмосферные эмбиентные зарисовки двух итальянских профессионалов в этой области. Синтезаторные и гитарные подложки смешиваются в долгий и статичный гул с богатым наполнением различными сэмплами: тут и отрывки из «Венгерского танца» Иоганна Брамса, и гитарные импровизации самого Энрико, голоса, хруст винила и звуки пианино – но все это замедленно до такой степени, что кажется почти неосязаемым в и без того разреженных потоках, движущихся сквозь вечерний туман, вдоль постепенно замерзающих рек, в безграничных просторах кровавых закатов, предвещающих скорый холод. Особое место занимают звуки, записанные Гаспаретти с помощью инструмента Ватерфона (гибрид поющих чаш и русской гвоздевой скрипки, плюс емкость с водой, выступающая своего рода резонатором, что в итоге дает очень необычный результат, напоминающий пение китов) различных колокольчиков, от соударения которых рождаются бесконечные и пронизывающие резонансы, заполняющие разные частоты, от комфортных до тревожных, а также перкуссии, позволяющей иногда привнести в музыку «AquaDorsa» своего рода базовые ритмы бытия, среди которых особое место занимает ритм сердца и ритм дыхания. Объединенные в циклы или сами по себе, треки «TheNovemberEarth» звучат достаточно разнообразно (иногда действуя прямолинейно, а иногда виртуозно играя полутонами и малозаметными сдвигами фактуры) но в итоге образуют целостное и живое акустическое пространство, в полной мере раскрывая авторский замысел. Под такую музыку хорошо взгрустнуть, помедитировать и помечтать, главное – помнить, что все в жизни движется по кругу, и все повторяется, не исчезая бесследно. По-крайней мере, так говорят мудрецы и пророки. Хороший альбом, особенно хорош в те моменты, когда в душу скребется меланхолия. [Sergey Oreshkin]

MUSIC WON’T SAVE YOU

Una storia visionaria di luce e speranza, che si conclude in dissolvenza nell’abisso delle tenebre. È quella che fa da traccia e commossa dedica a “The November Earth”, secondo capitolo del progetto collaborativo Aqua Dorsa, che dopo la prima esperienza insieme ad Alessandro Tedeschi (“Cloudlands”, 2009) è stato condiviso da Enrico Coniglio con Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi). La recente scomparsa di Gasparetti, proprio nel periodo di rielaborazione delle matrici sonore del lavoro, vi conferisce la dolente sostanza di un testamento artistico, che Coniglio ha rispettato con grande sensibilità e minimali interventi in sede di post-produzione, in una sorta di afasico omaggio nella forma del resto più congeniale al formato espressivo di Oophoi. Non è solo la suggestione contingente, ma lo stesso contenuto di “The November Earth” a essere ammantato da una luce sinistra, come un soffio immateriale prodotto da strati di synth, fragili percussioni acustiche e da una serie di rumori concreti e samples idrofonici.Nel lavoro, si percepisce tuttavia in maniera distinta anche una componente ambientale più rassicurante, nonché frammenti armonici prodotti da sparse note pianistiche. Laddove le spettrali frequenze dark-ambient si ritraggono o si fondono con calde timbriche e note sospese in uno spazio riecheggiante, gli ottundenti refoli di un inverno perenne si trasformano in elegie di toccante raccoglimento, come nel caso delle due parti di “Cold Tears”, che da sole occupano quasi metà del lavoro. Perché in quest’occasione più che mai, anche sotto la superficie della sperimentazione scorrono vibrazioni umane, ricordi, sentimenti. [Raffaello Russo]

AMBIENTBLOG.NET

“The November Earth” is Aqua Dorsa’s second full album, follow up to “Cloudlands ” (2009). Sadly, it will also be their last: Gianluigi Gasparetti (better known as Oöphoi), died in april 2013. The album they were working on was finished by his Aqua Dorsa partner Enrico Coniglio and was released later in 2013. Therefore,”The November Earth ” has become a fitting In Memoriam album to remember one of ambient music’s finest artist. The original compositions were created by Gianluigi “Gigi” Gasparetti at various moments: for most basic tracks it is not known when the original source material was created, but some of them have their origins as far back as the 90’s. The basic recordings were ‘expanded’, working together with Enrico Coniglio, adding extra details and instruments. But after Gasparetti passed away, this task became increasingly difficult, because Enrico wanted to be extra careful not to ‘betray’ the original sound. After letting the material sleep for a while the album was rearranged, and finally it was released later in 2013. It may be due to the sad story behind this album, but most of the (eleven) tracks seem to have a somewhat dark and foreboding undercurrent. The music is unhurried, meditative, with a mysterious sound that may have its roots in the 90’s but at the same time is very contemporary. The booklet inlay contains a short story by Gasparetti, titled “Sogno di Luce” (Dream of Light). Unfortunately, I am not able to read that since I neither speak nor read Italian. So I don’t know in what context it is written, but I understand the last words of this text are “Sparisce in un batter di ciglia” – which means “Disappears in the blink of an eye”. Disappeared, maybe. But not forgotten.

VITAL WEEKLY

Behind Aqua Dorsa we find Enrico Coniglio (guitar/synth, sampler, piano, percussions, vinyls) and Oophoi (synths, waterphone, glass chimes, percussions), which, if you have been reading Vital Weekly for some time, means we are dealing with the capital A of ambient and the major D for drone, and suspicious minds could think ‘ah, new age’ again, but that’s not really the case. Aqua Dorsa surely plays mood music, but it’s a bit too dark to be new age. There is an Italian text in the booklet, but I have no idea what that is about (I could plead for a translation on the website?), or in fact if it is related to the music. Here we have an album of some fine frosted music. It’s wintery, chilly and alien, but at the same time also dark and always atmospheric. Eleven pieces which you probably won’t notice as eleven, but one long trip into the arctic circles on a dark winter’s evening. Hardly any sunshine, cold as hell and the polar expedition moves slowly. This is something I stuck on for the whole afternoon, while doing other stuff, reading, working, walking around, phoning and such like, and when the album was done, just plays it again. It means perhaps I didn’t listen that closely, and one can assume that’s a pity, because isn’t music to be listened to, without any restriction? Yes, obviously that goes for most music, but with this kind of deep ambient music, it might be different. Here we may not expect something new. [FdW]

OKULTURA

Toto je druhé  a jistě poslední album tohoto italského dua, které mixoval Enrico Coniglio, protože druhý člen Gianluigi Gasparetti neboli Gigi, užívající pseudonym Oöphoi, v roce 2013 zemřel. Již na prvním albu Cloudlands jsme si mohli všimnout zaujetí severskými, ledovými krajinami, jejich tichou krásou a křišťálovým prostředím, odrážejícím se i ve zvucích nástrojů. Také 11 skladeb tohoto alba přináší něco obdobného, vždyť listopadová zem je již chladná. Pohleďme na názvy skladeb v překladu – Chladné slzy I (Cold Tears 19:18) a II (Cold Tears II 7:57), Mráz I a II (Frost I 3:17, Frost II 8:39), Umírající slunce (The Dying Sun 5:16). Nic z toho rozhodně není příliš povzbudivé a nepůsobí teple. Úvodní skladby alba také vyvolávají spíše smutnou, ani ne nostalgickou, až tísnivou náladu. Přitom se hudebně pracuje s velmi jednoduchými prostředky. Nejspíše je to sólový, ostře pronikavý křišťálový zvuk skleněných zvonů, skoro bez doprovodu vzdáleného syntetizátoru. Tak je tomu až do poloviny čtvrté skladby Chladné slzy, kdy se pozadí začne zesilovat a nabývat převahy. Tato skladba je nejdelší na albu, má 19 minut, ostatní jsou kratší, různé délky. Syntetizátor se svým zvukem spojuje se skleněným zvonem a vytváří mu basový spodek skoro v unisonu. Od páté skladby Mráz, jako by začínala další část alba, spíše s temným zvukem, zřejmě půjde o nějaké samply zvonů, a to vše je více experimentální práce se zvukem až k osmé skladbě Yellow Spots. Od ní začíná velmi zajímavá a harmonická  hudba, která má v sobě jemné, pavoučí nitky tónů. Můžeme ji nazvat třetí částí alba s dalšími dvěma osmiminutovými skladbami Pulse of the Earth a Cold Tears II. Nad nepohnutým, chvějivým dronem se vynořují zvláštní, chřestivé zvuky a posléze pomalá melodie. V Cold Tears II se vše jakoby zastavuje a dostává rysy Enových počátků díky občasným tónům piana. Toto spočinutí doplní již jen jakýmsi vydechnutím kratičká, závěrečná skladba Abyssos. Celé album je zvukově velmi propracované a dalo by se zařadit spíše do moderní, vážné hudby.

SONIC IMMERSION

Listening to the dark ambient music on “The November Earth” is like entering an infinite world of shadows and deep caverns. Along the journey, lots of foreboding, organic and remote undercurrents fly by. If you’re looking for a kind of polished ambient, you won’t find it here as the drony sound design is rather abstract/psychedelic overall and even a bit cold occasionally. The aforementioned though is familiar territory for Italian composers Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi) and Enrico Coniglio, forming the duo Aqua Dorsa. The whole 66-minute outcome sounds a bit too clinical and fragmented to my ears, with the exception of the soft glowing (but far too short) interlude “Yellow Spots” and the drifting textural spheres of “Pulse of the Earth” attached to it. [Bert Strolenberg]


LEMURIA
Lemures – LP – Crónica electronica, 2013

REVIEWS


EP
Lemures – DL – Crónica electronica, 2013

REVIEWS

FIELD RECORDING

Willkommen zur neuen Review-Kategorie: “Field Recording Reviews”. Wir haben uns gedacht, dass es doch sicher interessant wäre mal nicht nur Hard- und Software zu testen, sondern auch Field Recordings in Form von Sample Libraries, CD-/Download-Alben, usw. vorzustellen. Den Start macht die derzeit kostenfrei erhältliche ”EP” von Lemures, einem italienischen Künstlerduo, das Field Recordings in seine Klangkompositionen einbaut.

Lemures sind die Italiener Giovanni Lami und Enrico Coniglio. Beide Musiker arbeiten mit elektroakustischen Kompositionen, Field Recordings und Klangforschung. In ihrer aktuellen EP mit dem Titel “EP” stellen sie zwei akustische Kompositionen ihres kommenden Albums “Lemuria” vor.

“IV” beginnt mit Field Recordings von Regentropfen, wunderschön in Stereo festgehalten. Dazu gesellen sich dann bizarre, elektronische Klänge und später auch perkussive Klänge, wieder aus Field Recordings erstellt. ”V” besteht aus sphärischen, synthetischen Klängen, kombiniert mit perkussiven, metallischen Field Recordings. Das ganze baut sich bis zum Schluss zu einer Art klanglichen O(h)gasmus im mittleren Teil auf und wird dann noch elektronischer, bizarrer, aber immer noch vor der Schmerzgrenze.

Die beiden Demosongs lassen schon erahnen, wohin die Reise mit dem kommenden Album geht. Der Klang ist insgesamt sehr organisch und über Kopfhörer gehört räumlich, aber im Stereobild nicht zu aufdringlich oder extrem. Die Kompositionen abwechslungsreich und dadurch trotz der Länge einiger Stücke, nicht langweilig, sondern spannend bis zum Schluss.

Die EP ist derzeit kostenfrei als MP3 oder AIFF über die Webseite von Lemures als Download erhältlich.

Das Album “Lemuria” soll noch im November 2013 bei Crónica als Download, CD und Vinyl erscheinen. [Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen]


DIALOGUE ONE
Enrico Coniglio & Under the Snow – CD – Silentes, 2011

REVIEWS

CHAIN D.L.K.

I already had evidence about Enrico Coniglio’s skills as a landscape musical painter since the times when he issued Topofonie on the Irish label Psychonavigation, a sort of transposition of Venice lagoon, his inspiring birthplace, whose musical “encoding” perfectly sticked to the best ambient and contemporary classical standards thankls also to some important featurers such as Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Nicola Alesini (to mention just of a few of them). In the following releases he just confirmed such an attitude as well as his preferences for wintry suggestions and glacial sonorities and his particular approach to ambient music based on a combination of concrete elements which are often wrapped up in warm or ethereal melodic blankets reoccurs in this split release co-signed by the Italian project Under The Snow for a “dialogical” series of recordings marked by Silentes label. The first of the four tracks signed by Enrico looks like something close to a field recording grabbed by a microphone placed in the middle of a winter windy night or the bugging of an electrical storm, a white noise turning solid, interrupted by occasional sounding lead’s bleeps and sputters. You can enhance the listening experience by imagining that Enrico’s initial above-described track, titled “Long Distance”, is just the necessary musical foreword whereas all the crevices, the sonic ripples, the slight chinks on an imaginary drift ice by whom the composer violates the apparent uniformity of an arctic pack ice become the gates for the following psychedelic breezes’s gushing: on “Calls of the White”, Rachele’s delicate trilling (some of you could think to a sort of quote of vangelis’ “Rachel Song”) mingles with the entrancing gusts of sonic winds, whose crystalline exhalation make that voice similar to an angelic chant while the gentle sonic melting of “Century Dome” and the harmonic flood of the final “Kingdom Of Her”, whose lithe undulations could sound similar to the ones by Fennesz, properly highlights the intimate beauty of this mental journey over icy landscapes. The second half of this record signed by the Italian duo made up of Gianluca Favaron and Stefano Gentile (owner of Silentes): their explorations are equally catching, even if considerably less “enraptured” and more restless than the ones offered by Enrico Coniglio. They prefer to unify different moments of their digging into one very long track they titled “Resonant Cuts”, but they choose to run on an imaginary ascending path as well so that the dim lights where they look like roaming a subterranean world under layers and layers of snow (!) rich of many fascinating and disquieting moments, gradually get radiant and radiant. [Vito Cammaretta]

KATHODIK

Premetto che non conoscevo Enrico Coniglio, né Under the Snow (duo composto da Gianluca Favaron e Stefano Gentile), e non sono particolarmente ferrato in fatto di musica ambient, per cui ho ascoltato il lavoro con curiosità, aumentata dall’elegante confezione del CD. Forse favorito dal mio amore per il “grande Nord”, dal fatto di aver visitato una terra magica e lunare come l’Islanda, o semplicemente a causa dell’inverno appena sopraggiunto, ho ben recepito i suoni e le suggestioni trasmesse dall’opera; ascoltando il CD non è difficile immaginare e rivivere gli scenari musicali ispirati dal freddo e dal ghiaccio, come lapidariamente riassunto in una nota nel retro della copertina: “This album is inspired by cold and frost”. Per un’ora circa (equamente suddivisa tra Enrico Coniglio e Under the Snow) si viaggia verso lande gelide e imbiancate ma, ancor più, si ha l’impressione di fluttuare tra gli elementi primordiali della natura, in primis quelli liquidi e gassosi. Il viaggio prosegue per concludersi, senza brusche interruzioni o cambi di direzione, nella quinta e lunga traccia realizzata dal duo Under the Snow, che in circa 30 minuti racchiude una vera e propria opera musicale completa. Non poche sono anche le suggestioni cinematografiche, che in particolare rimandano all’immaginario lynchiano e di registi dalle simili attitudini oniriche e sospese. In definitiva, ‘Dialogue One’ non sarà forse un disco sconvolgente, ma nel sottoscritto ha sortito un suo effetto, non ultima la curiosità di approfondire il lavoro musicale degli autori e, perché no, attendere un ‘Dialogue Two’. [Luca Brecciaroli]

KULTURTERRORISMUS

“Dialogue One”, the first split work of Unter The Snow, who are Stefano Genile and Gianluca Favaron and Enrico Coniglio comprises nearly an hour of suggestive “border” music, equally divided between the relaxing and ambient atmospheres contaminated with experimental elements created by Enrico Coniglio, and the low-fi/rough sounds and atmospheres crafted by Under the Snow. Not so different but with a more dramatic, dense and hypnotic doom – built on deep drones stratifications, often hard and cutting, with a wide collection of noises, electronic hassles, opaque whispers and concrete moments… A perfect joint-venture, a mix among two different music projects that gather coherence and inspiration to “sustain” a split album that showcases a not to be missed fusion of styles among the involved artists, oriented on parallel patterns, clearly increasing the value of their own personal and somehow different sonic directions. Dialogue One – an excellent mixture of drones, ambient and music concrete, which invites for mind cinema of its best, is available as cd on Silentes. [MACU]

“ONDAROCK

La prima uscita della serie di split album dell’etichetta Silentes vede protagonisti il compositore veneziano Enrico Coniglio e il nuovo progetto collaborativo di Stefano Gentile e Gianluca Favaron, Under The Snow. Comune la matrice concettuale sottesa a “Dialogue One”, parzialmente diverse le interpretazioni rese dagli artisti impegnati a rendere in suono la propria declinazione di quell’ambient ghiacciata con la quale Coniglio si era cimentato già nel progetto Aquadorsa. L’ora scarsa di musica, equamente ripartita tra i protagonisti di questa condivisione a tema, vede Coniglio offrire un contributo di quattro tracce a cavallo dei sette minuti di durata, nelle quali saturazioni magmatiche e movimenti particellari descrivono affilate fenditure ghiacciate (“Long Distance”) e una miriade di screziature, crepitii e folate ipnotiche conferiscono riflessi più limpidi ed evanescenti a profonde astrazioni droniche, saltuariamente sporcate di rumore. Tutt’altro che uniformi e anzi assai vitali, le composizioni di Coniglio permangono niente affatto aliene da un’emozionalità molto umana, peraltro ben testimoniata dai vocalizzi distanti di “Calls Of The White” e dalla più evidente emersione armonica di “Kingdom Of Her”. I quasi ventotto minuti firmati Under The Snow consistono invece di un’unica lunga traccia (“Resonant Cuts”), pur frazionabile in più segmenti, che muovono da un iniziale universo di suoni in espansione, per poi immergersi in saturazioni nebbiose e field recordings distanti, giustapposti secondo un piglio più asetticamente sperimentale e infine svaporanti in un finale di luminose derive interstellari. [Raffaello Russo]

MIRCO SALVADORI

“Il bardo Coniglio ed i due abitanti del ghiaccio”, così si potrebbe chiamare la nuova produzione della Silentes dedicata al suono di ricerca. Il musicista veneziano si produce in quattro tracce che proseguono nel cammino iniziato tempo addietro, quattro storie nelle quali la componente ambient si esplica utilizzando la ricerca e la sperimentazione disseminata uniformemente attraverso tutto un percorso che si espande lungo una distesa nella quale il candore del noise assume sembianze di dronica infinità e la quiete dell’animo si trasforma nel flusso sonico in divenire. Diverso è l’approccio che Stefano Gentile (owner della Silentes) e Gianluca Favaron hanno in veste di ricercatori. Il loro vagare sotto la neve si sintetizza in una suite dalle sembianze più cupe e solitarie, quasi un vagare affamato alla ricerca dell’espressività sonora più adatta incrociando sibili in frequenza e loop alla deriva in una desolata, fredda distesa. “Cold and Frost”… [Mirco Salvadori]

AUDIODROME

Sul veneziano Enrico Coniglio ci siamo soffermati spesso, ormai, mentre Under The Snow è progetto relativamente nuovo, considerato che dietro a esso si celano Gianluca Favaron e Stefano Gentile, cioè il label manager Silentes, una delle migliori realtà che abbiamo in Italia, capace di gettar luce su tutta una serie di sound artist locali di gran pregio. Enrico mostra una mano sempre più sicura nel costruire tracce ambient e sperimentali: qui propone una cupa e severa “Long Distance”, una sognante e roach-iana “Calls Of The White”, che sarebbe stata buona anche per i suoi trascorsi su Glacial Movements, poi tocca a “Century Dome” e “Kingdom Of Her”, che congiungono un passato fennesziano ad alcune suggestioni heckeriane. Vario e maturo, ora ci si aspetta l’album che lasci la cicatrice profonda, in una discografia di assoluto rispetto. Gli Under The Snow costituiscono una felicissima sorpresa: una mezzora gelida, tesa, con drone che entrano pian piano sottopelle, voci sussurrate che creano confusione, in un classico lento crescendo di volume e minacciosità, seguito da un progressivo spegnimento e un colpo di coda finale. Un progetto da seguire, dunque, e un dialogo (uno) da ascoltare con grande attenzione. [Fabrizio Garau]

FURTHER NOISE

The Italian ambient scene has been blessed with an evolving group of labels that reached cult status worldwide, valiant producers like Umbra and Glacial Movements. One of the pioneers, the Amplexus label and its spinoffs eventually became Silentes and its spinoffs, who continue to document a large spectrum of contemporary Italian electronica composers. The most recent album on their primary label is the first in an announced series of split releases with the electroacoustic duo Under The Snow, aptly entitled Dialogue One. Here their partner is Venetian phonographer and sound artist Enrico Coniglio. The exact nature of the dialogue is unspecified, but the album’s inspiration, corroborated by the photos adorning the cover art, is specifically “cold and frost.” For many listeners, invocation of cold and frost may conjure featureless, bleak winterscapes, exemplified by Berlin artist Thomas Köner or the Arctic photographs adorning the album covers from Glacial Movements. But winter in Scandinavia is very different from winter in northern Italy, where the snow softens the angles of the houses, changes the contour and color of the roads, and blends the forest into a dappled white. Breath and condensation from the inside observers fog the windows, removing another layer of focus. So also the music on this album. Enrico Coniglio’s four short pieces that open the album are abstract and static, almost like excerpts from installations. Transitions between material, sometimes even between tracks, can be abrupt, with textures alternating between harmonic, rolling electronic drones and more noisy organic textures. Pops and buzzes coalesce into a steady filtered noise, like a jet engine, on “Long Distance,” and glitch electronics become prominent near the end of “Century Dome.” The cavernous reverb and expansive spectral registers, assisted by ethereal vocal contributions from ‘Rachele,’ make “Calls of the White” a more obvious, and ominous, harbinger of winter. Underneath all of the electronic haze remains a melodic core that retains a wistful poignancy characteristic of much of Coniglio’s work. If Coniglio’s pieces are frosty snapshots, the single long piece from Under the Snow is the narrative of the season. From the opening murky sonic territory to its conclusion with a suggestion of a harmonic resolution, “Resonant Cuts” is a series of environments that evolve within themselves, gradually creating large scale transitions. Some of the scenes include whistling winds and voices snatched from the ether, and the overall effect is a restless searching with a little touch of sinister. Many of the sounds reminded me of bowed or brushed cymbals and various other percussive gestures, but the group’s website credits only guitar, field recording and processing. Whatever the sources, “Resonant Cuts” is an impressive long form piece that bodes well for the series. [Caleb Deupree]

TEXTURA

Italian composer Enrico Coniglio enhances his reputation considerably with two outstanding new releases, one a solo cassette-based affair and the other a split work with Under The Snow. Out and About, the Hypnos-released work Coniglio recently produced in collaboration with Emanuele Errante and Elisa Marzorati under the Herion name indicated that the music Coniglio was creating had advanced to a higher level of refinement, and these latest releases provide additional confirmation of same. Coniglio’s four tracks on Dialogue One don’t differ radically in style from those on I, though the former are in spots perhaps louder and more texturally wide-ranging. Next to no details are provided about sound sources (save for a thanks to Rachele for lending her voice to “Calls of the White”) so once again impressions must be based on listening, pure and simple. One of the recording’s most attractive aspects is the contrast between Coniglio’s four tracks (all of which are in the seven-minute vicinity) and the twenty-eight-minute opus by Under The Snow duo Stefano Gentile and Gianluca Favaron. Coniglio’s “Long Distance” largely presents itself as a monotone stream of electrical sputter and fuzz that might very well have started out as an outdoors field recording, though a modest array of musical pitches do penetrate the track’s rippling fog during its final minutes. Rachele’s aforementioned voice is transformed into ethereal exhalations of angelic character during the comparatively soothing “Calls of the White,” while the gaseous “Century Dome” inhabits an equally celestial sphere before plunging into a prickly bath of seasqualls and electrified smears. The generous running time of “Resonant Cuts” gives Under the Snow ample opportunity to play with its lab equipment and to do so unhurriedly. As a result the piece grows ever more hypnotic as its myriad sounds accumulate, and the listener quickly surrenders to the music’s organic flow of lo-fi electro-acoustic sounds and extreme juxtapositions. Burbling voices, echoing bell tones, wheezing harmonicas, and grinding motor engines swim in a seething and always dense mix that experiences multiple twists and turns during its abstract journey. In short, Dialogue One shows Coniglio and Under the Snow to be kindred spirits of the first order.

THE SILENT BALLET

The grass is growing, the flowers are blooming, the leaves are sprouting, and the women of the town are wearing shorts. What a sumptuous time is spring, when the south wind pushes the salt air from the bay to the olfactory nerves. The brutal winter is but a distant memory, and – wait, what’s this? An album inspired by cold and frost? Noooooooo! The following statement is a compliment, although it will require an explanation. Listening to this album in mid-May feels wrong. But because it feels wrong, it’s clear that the artists involved got it right. Too many winter-themed albums claim to be about the cold, but reflect the season only through cover art. This split disc is the real deal. Enrico Coniglio’s field recordings were made at a glacier on the Pale di San Martino (here’s a cool photo for proof!), while Under the Snow’s wind and rain were captured in the Dolomites (specifically, Falcado). The latter duo (Stefano Gentile and Gianluca Favaron) stirred in the sound of found tapes salvaged from Italian flea markets, and all three artists added guitar and processing. The result: a winter album that actually sounds like winter. The purest, most unadorned sample arrives at the end of Coniglio’s “Kingdom of Her”: the sound of footsteps in the snow. I’d have placed this sample at the beginning of the album, but in its current spot, it neatly separates Coniglio’s half-hour from that of his counterparts. Coniglio’s contribution is a lovely quartet of processed ambience. Opener “Long Distance” is the album’s grittiest piece from start to finish, boasting a low avalanche rumble, a funneled, single-speaker drone, and static that sounds initially like snow and eventually like radio interference. The track brings to mind the best of BJ Nilsen, specifically his work on Fade to White. It’s one of Coniglio’s finest compositions, holding back any glimpse of recognizable musicality until its final 90 seconds, then ending in a swift retreat. His other tracks are more tundra-like, the sound of an aftermath more than that of an impending storm. A voice is credited on “Calls of the White”, so processed that it sounds like another instrument, or perhaps a hapless traveler caught in white-out conditions. The artist’s final high point arrives in the closing minutes of “Century Dome”, as a sheet of field recordings is laid atop a bed of ambience, then removed to reveal a hidden layer of electronics: a sharp technique that deserves further investigation on future recordings. Under the Snow’s “Resonant Cuts” is a fine companion to the preceeding tracks. Although it is clearly the work of a different artist, it occupies the same timbral region and helps the split to function as a whole. Distinguishable notes are present from the start, along with the same static that haunts Coniglio’s work. A sleepy wind begins to blow, carrying spectral voices in its grime. Foreign objects rattle like trinkets pinned to a shed. Rustles and shimmers vanquish the guitar strings; the wind reappears at a higher frequency. By the midpoint, ambience is abandoned for drone, an extremely effective maneuver that connects “Resonant Cuts” to “Long Distance”, unifying the album. Enrico Coniglio and Under the Snow have created an album that belongs to winter. This isn’t the sound of gentle flurries, but of bifrost and all the danger it entails. It’s not an album for noon, and certainly not for summer, but those in the Southern Hemisphere may find that its timing fortuitous. Dialogue One’s locational authenticity will guarantee its durability; I’ll be visiting it again when the first frost falls. [Richard Allen]

AMBIENTBLOG.NET

I first learned about Enrico Coniglio on the “Underwater Noises” compilation and from there found his fascinating “Salicornie (Topofonie Vol. 2)”, dedicated to the city of Venice. Compared to “Salicornie”, this latest release, “Dialogue One ” is quite different: one hour of abstract soundscapes and mutually attracting opposites. “Dialogue One” is a ‘split’ project with Silentes label artists Under the Snow (Stefano Gentile (guitar, field recordings) and Gianluca Favaron (field recordings, processing)). Although there is no ‘dialogue’ between the artists in the tracks itself – the first four tracks are performed by Enrico Coniglio, while the last, performed by Under the Snow, ‘takes up the other half of the album – “Dialogue” is a title well chosen. All tracks show a caleidoscopic display of sounds that seem to be quite different but merge very well. It’s a dialogue between harsh and soft sounds, hi-fi and lo-fi, sawtooth and sinus, shouting an whispering, comforting and frightening. But, different as they are, all parts adds up to a fascinatingly coherent universe of electronic sounds. [Peter van Cooten]

VITAL WEEKLY

Enrico Coniglio is a recent busy man when it comes to releases reviewed in Vital Weekly. His split CD with Under The Snow is, how appropriate, ‘inspired by cold and frost’. Now I am very glad winter time is over and spring has arrived, and I was mistaken with ‘Long Distance'; is this really Coniglio? On a low rumble noise base? Luckily in the other three pieces he is more on par with his usual ambient atmospherics of electronics, guitars and effects. ‘Kingdom Of Her’ is the nicest out of four, moving from mighty cliched synths to radio active fall out crackles. Under The Snow, a duo of guitar and computers, of Stefano Gentile and Gianluca Favaron, have one piece that lasts twenty-seven minutes, even when they move through stages inside the piece. More nicely processed guitars, which seem to have disappeared in the battle of zeroes and ones inside the computer. Nice enough I guess. [FdW]

OLTRE IL SUONO

Spilt album che vede protagonisti Enrico Coniglio, di cui, sempre in “casa” Silentes, abbiamo già recensito il recente “Sea Cathedrals”, e Under the Snow, nuovo progetto collaborativo di Gianluca Favaron (già metà dell’altro progetto “Lasik Surgery” insieme a Pierpaolo Zoppo/Mauthausen Orchestra) e Stefano Gentile, della cui musica avevamo potuto fino ad ora avere soltanto un piccolo “assaggio” nell’uscita su cassetta siglata semplicemente “W”, parte integrante di una collana di 26 tapes di vari artisti (tra cui anche Enrico Coniglio) pubblicata da Silentes Tapestry (Collezione del Silenzio – Free Interpretations of Silent Sounds). Le prime quattro tracce del CD, firmate da Enrico Coniglio, sorvolano i territori di un’ambient music abbastanza “classica”, dalle sonorità morbide ma profonde, dall’andamento quieto e dilatato, seppure abbastanza abbondantemente “sporcate” di suoni di matrice più “rumorosa” e sperimentale, quindi sibili, scricchiolìi, fruscìi, crepitìi, talora di origine elettronica, talora derivanti da registrazioni ambientali, sovrapposti o alternati a rumori concreti, naturali o di imprecisate attività umane. Quindi un’ unica lunga traccia di Under the Snow, che pur percorrrendo sentieri “paralleli”, evidenzia approcci e sonorità che da una parte palesano un’impronta di carattere più sperimentale che non più tradizionalmente ambient, e dall’altra, per contrasto, si ricompongono intorno a strutture compositive più tese e drammatiche, sfociando talora in atmosfere e passaggi dal coinvolgente e prepotente sapore cinematico. Un album/dialogo di sicuro fascino e vivamente consigliato, nel quale Enrico Coniglio propone una musica che è sicuramente al vertice rispetto a quanto prodotto dallo stesso in passato, e nel quale Under the Snow inizia a “segnare” con un’impronta abbastanza definita e riconoscibile il proprio stile e l’interessante percorso sonoro che questo nuovo progetto ha appena intrapreso. [Giuseppe Verticchio]


OUT AND ABOUT
Herion – CD – Hypnos, 2010

REVIEWS

ROCKERILLA

Anche se non li conoscessi di persona, al di là del loro esser guardiani dell’irruenza tenue dell’animo, capirei da subito con chi ho a che fare. Bastano pochi minuti d’ascolto e l’universo del Vero Sentire si spalanca diritto al centro del cuore. Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, Elisa Marzorati e Piergabriele Mancuso: Herion. Quattro artisti con formazioni diverse, quattro musicisti impegnati nel difficile compito di trasmettere quel sentimento quasi dimenticato che si chiama emozione. Se qualcuno si aspetta sonorità di derivazione prettamente ambient-elettronica è meglio si fermi sull’uscio lasciando la porta socchiusa perchè qui dentro si celebra il rito antico della musica classica che danza e si immerge dentro le nuove sperimentazioni e lo fa attraverso l’uso di un pianoforte, una viola, un’armonica, una chitarra e delle tastiere, tutti strumenti che abbinati all’uso delle macchine e del field recording vanno ad ascrivere questa release come una delle più belle produzioni modern/classic mai ascoltate ultimamente. Un’opera che trova ragione d’essere e fa esplodere tutta la sua forza descrittiva proprio attraverso il contrasto delle parti: da una parte Errante e Coniglio, manipolatori di suoni incastonati dentro un laptop e dall’altra la Marzorati e Mancuso con i loro struggenti strumenti di romantico fulgore. Son certo che quell’uscio ora è completamente spalancato per lasciar scorrere questo…”immobile agitarsi del suono dentro un unica goccia di immaginario, mentre il delicato fluire delle cose freme, specchiandosi nel silenzio”. [Mirco Salvadori]

FURTHER NOISE

Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi once claimed that a sound played for a long time “becomes so big that you start to hear many more harmonies, and it becomes bigger inside…[and] envelops you.” And there are times during Out and About when Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, Elisa Marzorati and accomplices seem to be exploring their more celebrated compatriot’s notion, albeit in a smaller scale setting. The trio known as Herion’s instruments float and flit around a single tonal centre in a semi-structured post-chamber music, an occidental raga, each track seeming to seep into the next creating a whole flow, accruing effect from its predecessor. Out and About may strike as slightly unfamiliar territory for long-established ambient and space music curators, Hypnos, but at heart there is congruence in this affiliation, and head Hypno-tist Mike Griffin has done well to refresh the imprint’s in-house stylesheet without compromising its musical mission. Neither ‘Ambient’ nor ‘Space’ at first sight, the recording’s refined blend of live instrumentation with subdued digital manipulations reveals itself a kindred spirit, as Herion’s melding of post-classical sonorities with an expansive remit issues in a kind of spatial chamber music with shifting cadences which might be designated ‘post-ambient’. Marzorati’s piano motifs, mixed with Coniglio’s melodica, harmonica, and treated guitar, all commingle sonorously in Errante’s settings, seen to good effect on the keynote “One Minute After the Sunset.” The classical influence is never felt in any turgid or grandiose gestures, the music’s movements graceful and lilting, shifting subtly between blithe and melancholy. “Risvegli” finds glistening strings and piano peregrinations in incantatory communion. In “Two Minutes to Sunrise” tension comes from an ebb-flow motion that builds coalescing as if to climax but remaining teetering teasingly on the edge of resolution. Evident in all this is Errante’s sleight of hand in choreographing these delicately interwoven soundscapes, his facility in harnessing production methodologies to synthesize acoustic and electronic to optimal effect; it’s as if it’s his pleasure to leave instruments free to frolic self-consciously before gently dissolving them, or washing them lightly in a mercury of digitalia. While piano, viola and guitar all play cameo roles on Out and About, it’s the spirit of the ensemble, and the skilled design of its assembling that are the stars of Herion’s quiet drama. [Alan Lockett]

HYPNAGOGUE

What we have in Herion’s Out and About is a work that is ambient chamber music in every sense of the term: spatial, intimate, classically based. Strip away the subtle wash of electronics that Emanuele Errante and Enrico Coniglio whisper beneath piano from Elisa Marzorati and viola by Piergabriela Mancuso, and what’s left is a rich bed of beautiful compositions for traditional acoustic instruments. (Besides their laptop work, Errante and Coniglio also add strings, guitars and more.) One of the best compliments I can pay Herion is to say that I’d listen just to those elements, sans electronics, and still firmly enjoy the disc. With the opening track, “Oxg,” Herion establish their acoustic-drone base, the metallic rasp of the strings adding not just a texture to the sound, but an equal sense of emotional warmth and humanity. It’s part of the real beauty of Out and About-the way in which we’re intermittently reminded, as the disc goes along, that the sounds aren’t all circuit-born. It’s a good reminder, since it’s easy to lose sight of that as Herion quietly wrap you in smooth sound-ribbons. There’s a lot to like here, and much of begins with Marzaorati’s piano work. Her playing is sweet, graceful and impeccable, whether it’s thoughtfully wandering through Errante and Coniglio’s misty landscapes (“One Minute Before the Sunrise”), holding a polite dialogue with a sighing harmonica (“Cab”), dropping like forgotten tears (“Lindos”), or giving itself over to electronic treatment to capture a sound-image (“The Hanging Glacier”). The disc closes with her playing alone on the appropriately titled “Solo,” and it’s a standout moment on an excellent disc. And while her playing is central to Out and About, it’s the atmospheres that Errante and Coniglio craft around her and Mancuso that give the whole thing an amazing depth and a touch of the ethereal. The worlds are perfectly blended on the dramatic “Moske Orgulje,” with all elements adding their voices in balance. From start to finish, Out and About moves from moments of soulful serenity to breathtaking beauty. Its organic roots run deep to ground the listener in the moment and the experience. Out and About is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

AMAZON (customer’s review)

For me, this is like “dreams came true” project, because it features Enrico Coniglio and Emanuele Errante who are resoponsible for some remarkable ambient solo albums released during the last few years, with some guest appearances of Elisa Marzorati, highly respected pianist. Now these three extremely talented musicians are teamed up in Herion project and landing on Hypnos. You can’t go wrong with that, but I think this collaboration was as much exciting and challenging also for Hypnos as it marks new direction for this label thanks to Herion’s ambient strongly influenced by classical music with the use of many acoustic instruments. Even if quite new territory to Hypnos, it fits more than perfectly to them. Thanks to virtuosity of all three members plus highly notable performance on viola by Piergabriele Mancuso, “Out And About” is absolutely beautiful, evocative, intimate and warm collection of compositions masterfully bridging filigree acoustics with gentle amount of electronics and field recordings. Perfectly crafted in every detail and even if quite minimalistic at times, always very expressive and effective in keeping the attention of each listener during the each of 46 minutes. The opening “Oxg” immediately elevates the album into untouchable heights and will never step down during the next 9 compositions. Absolutely splending mix of piano, viola, harmonica, melodica, rainstick with some synthesized sounds. Angelic beauty is not measurable, but it’s certainly called “Oxg”. Just the same could be said on melancholic “Lindos”. Dreamy “Cab”, “One Minute After The Sunset” and “The Earth” recall all your hidden memories while “Moske Orgulje” and “The Hanging Glacier” get more darker and tense. Cheerful “Two Minutes To Sunrise” and moody “Risvegli” and “Solo” close the album with all their tranquillity. I already used a lot of superlatives, but I still don’t get enough when listening to this sonic pleasure, Herion can be easily described after Suspended Memories as another “Ambient Supergroup” and Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio and Elisa Marzorati are the rising stars of ambient genre and bringing some new fresh wind to it. A pure masterwork!!! [Richard Gürtler]

TEXTURA

Though the Italian trio Herion boasts Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, and Elisa Marzorati as its members, the outfit is clearly more than the mere sum of its parts, especially when their multi-instrumental contributions to Out and About are complemented by the luscious viola playing of Piergabriele Mancuso. The trio members themselves function as a veritable mini-orchestra, with Marzorati’s piano playing augmented by the guitars, strings, harmonica, synthesizers, melodica, field recordings, and laptop processing of her colleagues. What results is a richly detailed and rewarding collection that’s often affectingly plangent in tone, not to mention stirring. Herion’s electronically enhanced chamber music is artful without being precious and soulful to boot, and a quiet emotional sensitivity colours the album’s forty-six minutes in a way that helps distinguish the recording from the competition. Marzorati plays in an impressionistic and restrained manner that’s in keeping with the meditative character of the album’s ten pieces, while the wistful quality of the melodica often creates a mood of longing. Errante and Coniglio typically fashion silken webs of multi-faceted design against which the contrasting voices of Marzorati and Mancuso resound. That’s never more apparent than during “Two Minutes To Sunrise” when the piano flickers and viola shudders amidst a gleaming backdrop of fluttering detail. Elsewhere, an ambient setting, “Oxg,” inaugurates the album splendidly, with the serenading wheeze of the melodica and harmonica punctuated by piano chords, synthetics, and the drone of the viola. Pairing its melancholy cry with Marzorati’s gentle sprinkle and a rich backdrop of textures imbues “Lindos” with a pastoral beauty that elevates the album. A slightly darker tone pervades “Moske Orgulje” when an underlying metronomic rhythm, punctuated by the viola’s interjections, urgently nudges the material forward. One final contrast surfaces when Marzorati’s given the spotlight during the peaceful, album-closing “Solo.” While there is a subtle ambient dimension to Out and About that’s in keeping with Hypnos releases in general, Herion’s music aligns itself more closely to a style one might call ‘chamber electronic-classical.’ Regardless of labels, the album is a distinguished collection of enchanting mood settings that again speaks highly for the strong reputation Hypnos has acquired throughout its history.

SONIC IMMERSION

“Out and About” is the debut release of the Italian trio Herion, and at the same time also marks the first release in digipak format on the Hypnos label. The members of the ambient-glitch project Herion are Emanuele Errante (composer of the peculiar album “Humus” on Evan Bartholomew’s Somnia label), Enrico Coniglio (Aqua Dorsa project collaborator with Oophoi for the album “Cloudlands”, he also released “Sea Cathedrals” solo on Silentes), and Elisa Marzorati. Next to synthesized sounds and patches, the musicians also implement field recordings, guitars, harmonica, melodica, bells, gong, rainstick and piano on “Out and About”. These versatile elements make the sonic outcome venture in more acoustic territory while remaining comfortable, highly moody and atmospheric. It’s an introspective and rather melancholic affair though, as the instrumental music slowly progresses in a classical, minimal but also blissful manner. The sensitive undercurrents within the ambient compositions make it even more intimate, evocative and reflective. This is music for the silent hours deserving close listening. The beautiful art of ambient music already has many expressions, “Out and About” adds another dimension to it. [Bert Strolenberg]

PAUL VNUK (customer’s review)

I wanted to make sure I gave this album a number of spins before commenting, plus its always a strange balancing act to review a CD on label, when you yourself are on the label as well, but anyway…in simple terms, I freaking love this cd. It is one of the few new ambient albums in the past 3 or 4 years to truly grab my attention and excite me. When I hear discs like this I start feeling like ambient/space/electronic music is actually vital again. OK so why? Well for me this disc combines 3 key elements that I find essential for me as both a musician and a music fan. 1. The music acknowledges tradition In other words, this CD moves back to and hints at the paradigms set up by early EM pioneers like Eno. It also hints at older minimalist classical works like the old school electronic music practice of not creating electronic music with synthesizers, but instead using electronics and effects to make acoustic instruments sound electronic. It moves nicely beyond the stereotypical drone and reverb drenched “same old same old” that has been dominating our genre for the better part of the decade. All of this to say that this CD has a healthy dose of retro coolness to it without being copy catish, and that is what makes it sound fresh and modern. 2. Its real Again, I love the fact that these are real acoustic instruments for the most part. This also means that microphones and “air” where involved. This was a recording project, not simply an in the box capture and render project. For me this adds a vibe and space to this album that would not be possible with soft synths, loops and or samples. Not that those types of records cant be done well, it just allows this one to be set apart into a different sonic landscape. Also, these are real players/musicians and as such this album has a language to it that would have been harder to achieve with programing, again another one of its unique points for me. 3. Tradition be damned Similar to part 1, but this is just a good cd of (capital M) Music that happens to be ambient and spacious with twinges of processing and treatments, rather than being an ambient or space music album. Ok, so is it perfect? I am not saying this is the greatest album of all time or anything like that, but man is this a breath of fresh air and nice new avenue for Hypnos and our genre in general. I know nothing about the musicians on this recording, but Nice Job guys!!!

VITAL WEEKLY

Probably there aren’t many groups on Hypnos: this ambient label usually releases albums by artists who work alone on their electronic, ambient music, but Herion is a group, a trio from Italy, with as its members Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio and Elisa Marzorati (the latter of whom I never heard). Two firm names from the strong Italian ambient scene. The instruments at their disposal includes not just things with keys and knobs, but also field recordings, guitars, harmonica, bells, gong, rainstick, piano plus a guest role on some of the pieces by Piergabriele Mancuso on viola (or perhaps all tracks?). This gives the album a great quality, breaking away from the traditional ambient music, and expanding into the world of classical music with all these acoustic instruments. Especially the violin plays a strong role in defining that classical sound. The music here is pretty strong. Definitely moody and atmospheric, but also quite warm and acoustic. I was reminded of the CD by Modern Institute on Expanding Records (see Vital Weekly 518), which was also, curiously enough, Italian. A highly refined work.


CLOUDLANDS
Aqua Dorsa – CD – Glacial Movements, 2009

REVIEWS

Vital Weekly 683

This is a new name, well at least to me it is. Behind Aqua Dorsa we find Italy’s well-known master of all thing very ambient Oophoi and a new name, Enrico Coniglio. The latter gets credit for guitars, synthesizers, programming and sampling, while Oophoi takes control of synthesizers, piano, percussion, waterphone, chimes, singing bowls, theremin, programming and sampling. Seeing this being released by Glacial Movements, a label who announce themselves as ‘ambient’ and ‘isolationist’, and taken Oophoi’s previous output in account, you know which direction this. This is ambient music but then with a little bit more, and no doubt Coniglio is the man responsible for that extra bite. Not simply satisfied with ‘just’ ambient synthesizer textures, there is an addition from the world of microsound to this. Underneath the warm tapestries are woven of synthesizers playing sustained textured sounds, but the icing (pun intended) on the cake comes from the crackles, buzz and hiss that are on top
of this. That makes that this music moves out of the usual ambient field, and blends together ambient and microsound, while, because its not entirely generated in the digital realm, its not entirely ambient glitch either. A marriage that works wonderfully well, I’d say. Deep atmospheric textures, icy glitches on top. Maybe the album as a whole is a bit long. One long track could have easily been skipped to make the album even a bit stronger, where it now is a bit too much of the same here and there. But its a fine altogether.

Norman Records

Cloudlands is the collaborative result of two Italian musicians of the ambient scene – Gianluigi Gasparetti, known as Oophoi and Enrico Coniglio. Unlike the dark and isolationist tendency of most editions from this fine Roman label, this CD shows an ethereal and atmospheric sound that you can guess by its title. The seven tracks of Cloudlands are based on warm drones, often accompanied by metallic bowls and chimes that seem touched by the breeze, with glitches and clicks a bit all over the place, but with great economy of means and a never saturated sound. “Zero Gravity” induces an unhealthy lethargy, evolving in a way that leaves behind the sound elements until there is no more than remaining silence. But it is emblematic of Cloudlands album by its construction at different sound layers, the transparency and depth they have, preserving a complete sharpness. On the other way, “Syhan” is a track that unfolds in four significantly different parts, according the loops and samples which they include. As for “Alone In The Rising Fog”, the album’s longest track, it is also the most crepuscular, with a mechanical tone and the occasional passage of human figures that suggest the future that never happened – not that future glimpsed through the transcontinental zeppelins of the Thirties, but the a far more daunting future given by the character of Robur, a Jules Verne creation at the end of nineteenth century. Cloudlands is, in short, an album of electronic music that sounds organic, virtually without beats, where the sound of the guitar, the piano, the bowed instruments, and the distant voices, transport the listener to a place without time, into a diffuse dream, where the open spaces of ambient are composed (or decomposed) into particles of microsound. A unique and successful approach, which is the great achievement of this AquaDorsa’s CD. (distorsom)

Distorsom

Nella sua nuova uscita, la Glacial Movements – etichetta curata da Alessandro “Netherwold” Tedeschi e improntata all’isolazionismo ambientale – conferma l’alternanza delle sue produzioni tra illustri “ospitate” di artisti ben rinomati (basti ricordare Lull e Rapoon) e occasioni per dare spazio e risalto a giovani italiani che perseguono con passione le loro esplorazioni di territori sonori tanto impervi quanto affascinanti.
Quest’ultimo è proprio il caso del progetto AquaDorsa, che sancisce sotto unica denominazione l’incontro tra le profonde immersioni nei drone da parte di Oophoi e le soluzioni elettroacustiche dell’artista veneziano Enrico Coniglio.
Due mondi diversi, ancorché affini, stabiliscono in “Cloudlands” un contatto che restituisce le esperienze dei suoi due artefici rielaborate in ben oltre un’ora di musica, ispirata dall’ormai abituale immaginario “ghiacciato”, ma stavolta caratterizzata da variazioni strumentali e persino ritmiche finora quasi del tutto sconosciute alle produzioni dell’etichetta romana.
Benché i rispettivi percorsi d’origine dei due artisti siano chiaramente distinguibili, l’album tutto sembra fuorché una loro sommatoria meccanica, inteso com’è a creare una sorta di tertium genus tra l’uniformità stratiforme di drone evanescenti e puntelli elettroacustici percorsi da fremiti irregolari.
Loop e iterazioni ondeggianti si rincorrono, soprattutto nella prima parte dell’album, scolorando spesso in raffinatezze ambientali non aliene da un sottile romanticismo (“A Pillow Of Clouds”) e pervase da uno spirito cosmico più spesso denso e incantato che non ottundente.
È ben vero che, in particolare nelle lunghe “Zero Gravity” e “Alone In The Risng Fog”, riaffiorano ibernati paesaggi dark-ambient, pennellati da modulazioni avviluppate da una nebbia inestricabile; tuttavia, le note salienti che connotano “Cloudlands” quale opera significativa nella stessa discografia della Glacial Movements, sono rappresentate dalla miriade di battiti e crepitii che in pezzi quali “Daylight Fading Into Evening Silence”, “The Pond Reflected Her Smile” e “Syhan” (quest’ultima si segnala anche per una sorprendente citazione dalla Penguin Café Orchestra) deviano verso quello stile compositivo screziato e volutamente discontinuo che riecheggia numerose produzioni elettroacustiche giapponesi, quali ad esempio quelle dell’etichetta Audio Dregs.
Allo stesso modo, anche il finale dell’album sembra dischiudere nuovi e più accessibili orizzonti alla stasi di flussi sonori costanti, attraverso più espliciti accenti su arrangiamenti che sanno tanto di esito liberatorio di un’ora abbondante di lavorio sul dialogo tra synth e chitarre, tra pianoforte, theremin e un’infinta costellazione di samples ed effetti.
Realizzato con la cura indispensabile per opere di tale natura, “Cloudlands” delinea con sostanziale successo una propria interpretazione del bilanciamento tra oscure texture ambientali e irregolari screziature elettroacustiche; pregevole dal primo punto di vista, vagamente più standardizzato dal secondo, l’album riesce comunque a coniugare i suoi elementi secondo uno stile che desta ancora piacevole sorpresa veder realizzato da parte di artisti italiani.

ONDAROCK

AquaDorsa is a new duo collaboration between Italians Enrico Coniglio and Oophi (Gianluigi Gasparetti) and there first release Cloudlands fits in perfectly with Glacial Movements auteristic stamp, offering the listener a methodical but subtly emotional journey into crystalline, isolationist ambience that is wondrously, and at times, very intelligently evocative of all things Antarctic.

Across 7 immersive tracks, the duo rework their fundamental instrumentation (which includes piano, guitar, synth pads and minimal glitch textures) into an unrecognisable mass, synthesising these binary elements into a concentrated and delicately unfolding sound which, at times, perfectly mirrors the mise-en-scene of the glacial environment. Each cut of Cloudlands, it seems, is meticulously crafted to ensure this.

The dub-like saturated tones of ‘A Pillow of Clouds’ open the album, and as each note melds into another above seditary glitch textures and sine waves, the processed sound of what sounds like a clarinet is gently revealed like ice being melted by shafts of glorious sunlight before it dominates the song and locks into a minimal grove, echoing ‘Grinning Cat’ era Susumu Yokota. ‘Daylight Fading into Evening Silence’ is as aptly titled as its predecessor and lulls the listener with rising warm synth swells and digital hisses which rise and fall like fogged breath, eventually coinciding with snaps of dry glitch beats. With ‘The Pond Reflected Her Smile’, AquaDorsa begin to explore their sound in more depth (each consecutive track passes the ten-minute mark), centred around a simple string melody that is slowly explored, pulled and processed to reveal an evolving variety of tones inherent in the sample, under pinned by subtle granular electronics that sound like snow trampled underfoot.

The following piece in, comparison, is purely textural and are more in line with the Glacial Movements signature ‘dark ambient’ sound. ‘Zero Gravity’ barely includes any melody at all, safe for a ghostly loop at the start of the composition which quickly dissipates, replaced by ominous throbs of deep synth, detuned percussion and icicle like sines. These experimentations spill over into ‘Syhan’, which begins with a gloom drenched organ, recreated to sound like a ghostly moan, before the duo begin to reintroduce the warmth found on the opening three pieces with a similar combination of blissful melodies and concentrated digital manipulation, a sound clearly influenced by the ‘pop-meets-glitch’ template of Taylor Deupree’s 12k records. The albums closer, ‘Night of Trembling Stars’, offers much of the same, although contains the first definable use of Coniglio’s guitar, bending and counting colourful miasmas of effect drenched piano.

By far the most interesting cut on Cloudlands is the 18 min epic ‘Alone in the Rising Fog’. Like ‘Zero Gravity’, the duo return to strictly contouring sound in a meticulously evolving piece that calls to mind both Thomas Koner and Steve Roach. Dealing exclusively in submarinal atmospherics, deep swathes of granular synthesisers and distilled electronic pulses, save for a few injections of distant melancholic melodies, this track is an exercise in methodical sound sculpture. The tidal waves of atmospheres exactingly illuminate the rich sonic pallete of the duo, with each element of the composition explored thoroughly and treated with a cold detachment, as expected of an album that aims to capture the essence of the unforgiving Antarctic plains.

At times, Cloudlands can border on the predictable; specifically in their employment of melody which is nostalgic of a host other ambient releases, but its their inventiveness and effectiveness when with dealing their chosen concept, that elevates the album above a slew of like-minded releases. Cloudlands definitely benefits from an attentive listen for its magisterial riches to be fully absorbed, particularly true of the longest piece in which repeated listens is fully advised. That said, the opening two tracks, in there manageable lengths, prepare the listener for the 10 min plus excursions that follow, only helped by the accessibility of their lush harmonies and should therefore appeal to those with less experience in similar music. Listen through a good pair of headphones or in bed during the deep of night, both will suite AquaDoras’s effort beautifully. A fine edition to an already celebrated label. (David McLean)

For fans of: Steve Roach, Thomas Koner, William Basinski, Alva Noto’s Xerrox Series, Susumu Yokota, Stars of the Lid, Biosphere, Taylor Deupree, Fourcolor, Christopher Willits + Ryuichi Sakamoto, Svarte Greiner

EXPERIMUSIC

За новым названием «AquaDorsa» скрывается Джанлуиджи Гаспаретти, более известный как «Oophoi», и его менее именитый коллега Энрико Кониглио, имеющий за плечами два альбома и пару сетевых релизов. Вооружившись множеством сэмплов, живых инструментов (гитары, поющие чаши, флейты и прочая экзотика) и синтезаторов, новоявленный дуэт представил музыку, как и должно следовать из названия альбома, воздушную и медитативную, не лишенную, однако, характерных приемов различных стилей экспериментальной музыки, таких, как IDM, например. Нахождение слов «Oophoi» и «IDM» в рецензии на одно и то же произведение не должно изумлять – да, стараниями Энрико мерцающие звуковые миражи и плавно утекающие в вечность созвучия дополнены различными щелчками, шуршаниями, обрывками голосов или целыми фразами, выловленными из эфира. Сложно оценить необходимость подобных заигрываний со стилями – в титанических гудящих монолитах сольного творчества Гаспаретти все эти элементы явно были бы лишними, но в рамках «AquaDorsa» представлены гораздо более простые и понятные вариации на тему эмбиента. Мягкая, неуловимая музыка, легкая для понимания, не нагружающая, местами расслабляющая, местами приятно удивляющая своей разнообразностью – вот что такое «Cloudlands». Можно рассматривать композиции этого альбома как отчет о путешествии, которое стартует из шума мегаполиса и помогает подняться все выше и выше, за границы атмосферы, навстречу темному космосу. Наибольшее сосредоточение космического вакуума можно наблюдать в «Zero Gravity», треке глубоком, затягивающем, с разреженными плавными звуками, под конец медленно растворяющимися в пространстве, и звоном колокола, доносящегося сквозь толщу воды. Обратное путешествие на землю проходит под сэмпл с партией пианино, взятого с одной из композиций «Penguin Café Orchestra» в окружении уже привычных щелчков. Еще одна глубочайшая вещь альбома – «Alone In The Rising Fog», просто таки растворяющая в себе, при этом в состояние транса она вводит не скупыми перемещениями электронных слоев, а своей многогранностью, четко выстроенными элементами. Финал – еще одна «живая» инструментальная партия, на сей раз импровизация Кониглио на гитаре, монотонные переборы струн которой красиво ложатся на легкую и атмосферную мелодию и различные голоса.

Альбом местами страдает, пожалуй, слишком стандартным использованием элементов – действительно, подобные построения шипящих, щелкающих и шуршаших звуков, аналогичную работу с сэмплами можно услышать на огромном количестве композиций самых разных музыкантов. Зато в целом «Cloudlands» очень хорош, красив, его разнообразные и интересные треки приятно ложится на слух. Стоит услышать.

RADIODRONE

Nuova interessante uscita per l’italiana Glacial Movements, label sempre intenta a produrre lavori relazionati all’ambient isolazionista e alle latitudini più fredde. Il sesto capitolo dell’etichetta di Alessandro Tedeschi vede il debutto del duo nostrano Aqua Dorsa, nato dall’unione tra il chitarrista e compositore Enrico Coniglio e Gianluigi Gasparetti, artisticamente celebre come Oöphoi. Le musiche di “Cloudlands” prendono forma tramite l’utilizzo sia di strumenti classici, come la chitarra e il piano, che di sintetizzatori e altri macchinari elettronici di nuova e vecchia generazione, come il theremin. L’ampio parco strumentale è utilizzato per creare ambientazioni fortemente legate alla natura glaciale, attraverso sette brani soggetti a variazioni stilistiche e uniti da una calma serafica, scaturita da modalità compositive leggermente diverse a seconda dell’occorrenza. A tal proposito svetta il brano “Syhan”, arricchito da un sample di piano estratto da un album della Penguin Cafè Orchestra. Ma ciò che balza maggiormente all’orecchio è la scansione ritmica della maggior parte dei pezzi, eseguita con uno squisito approccio glitch. In pratica vengono immerse piccole schegge di rumore analogico mai invadente, all’interno delle grandi masse sonore d’atmosfera, quasi a spezzarne la maestosità o a romperne il lento movimento. L’essenza dell’album è tutta qui: una colonna sonora finalizzata a commentare le terre più fredde, dove le nubi si fondono col mare in un religioso silenzio, ponte tra l’ascoltatore e una natura che non riusciremmo nemmeno ad immaginare. La resa audio è ottima, così come la confezione digipak, arricchita dalla solita, magnifica immagine di copertina, spiegazione impeccabile di quanto possiamo ascoltare nel CD. Perfetto come sottofondo per un relax da sogno, vista anche la sua vicinanza (mutatis mutandis) con la musica new age, ma utilizzabile anche come commento video. Sebbene sia indirizzato ad un pubblico selezionato, nel suo genere “Cloudlands” è un disco di primo livello. – Michele Viali

DARK ROOM MAGAZINE

Brilliantly perfect, is what arrives to my hands recently through Glacial Movements…An in deep vibrational ambient soundscapes developed through AQUADORSA.an Italian project consisting of two creative spirits in the shapes of Enrico Coniglio,a guitar player and composer which through time has been recognized due the nature of its art through post-urban and post-industrial territory. Its development here is just amazing, through the well performed use of guitars, synthesizers, programing, sampling and more yet to be discover. at the other side we have the shape of GianLuigi Gasparetti, known as Oophoi who has been involved in alot of projects, releases in the fields of deep ambient soundscapes, emerging into his own world searching new lights through this collaborative project AQUADORSA.he appears in all his own splendor though diverse use of elements such as piano, percussions, waterphone, chimes, singing bowls, theremin, programing and sampling in most of the tracks. Really an interesting fusion developed here. The album includes a total of 7 compositions in which the majestic, in deep structures seems to catch you to such desolated icy textures through tracks as “A pillow Of Clouds” or “Daylight Fading Into Evening silence” which are the first two tracks. Then comes, “The Pond Reflected Her Smile” an in deep voyage to the center of nothing, though vast cold eerie structures and clitches aborting from time to time, dressed with such vast atmospheres filled with such monumental desolated elements. “Zero Gravity” is structured through such ethereal soundcapes,chimes and other devices which start to mutates within the whole minutes creating hybrid spaces crawling from each one of the almost 11 minutes of this composition. Another track is “Syhan” still keeping such sensitive, expressionism handled through ambient soundscapes with some voices as background of the track. This track is so calm and fragile but with the necessary power to be fell by yourself when deeply listening each one of the different facets reflected here. “Alone In The Rising Fog” is longer track with almost 19 minutes of deep explorations of sounds and structures collapsing themselves to create ghastly atmospheres with such cold soundscapes floating through the whole composition. Finally the album is closed with “Night Of Trembling Stars” another in deep composition in which both artists develops all its creativity and imaginative reflections into calm, dimensional soundscapes able to transport you to such regions still to be discovered by human eye. the album comes in a beautiful digipack and for more info just visit the Glacial Movement page in order to get more about this ethereal and atmospheric ambient Italian act AQUADORSA.

PAN.O.RA.MA Audio/Visual/Web Journal

The sixty-seven minute Cloudlands documents the first collaboration between AquaDorsa partners Enrico Coniglio and Oophoi (Gianluigi Gasparetti), the former known for the Psychonavigation releases AREAVIRUS – topofonie vol.1 and dyanMU, and the latter admired for analog-based ambient work issued on Hypnos and Glacial Movements, among others. In keeping with the experimental spirit of those Coniglio releases, Cloudlands opts for atmospheres that are not only tranquil but turbulent. To create the seven orchestral-ambient soundscapes, the two draw upon a broad palette of sounds with guitars, synthesizers, piano, percussion, waterphone, chimes, singing bowls, Theremin, and samples the source materials used.
Some of the material adheres pretty closely to the ambient-electronic template. In “Daylight Fading into Evening Silence,” for example, lush synth pads and micro-percussive accents combine to create pretty much what one expects from the ambient-electronic genre: sonic atmosphere so tranquil it verges on somnolent. The turbulent and unsettling set-piece “Alone in the Rising Fog” serves up eighteen minutes of creeping noises and ghostly whooshes that evoke the anxious experience of someone lost in the fog and desperately struggling to catch his/her bearings. In other settings, though, the duo offset the genre’s customary tranquility by scattering percussive pebbles across the tracks’ smooth surfaces: static pops and piano plinks pepper the synthetic tones that stretch out languorously across “The Pond Reflected Her Smile,” and rhythm textures of vinyl static and subtle sounds of singing bowls counter the tinkling chimes and ethereal tones that dominate “Zero Gravity.” In “A Pillow of Clouds,” the lonely call of an oboe-like instrument is heard amidst swathes of vaporous synthesis, and an insistent beat pattern surfaces near track’s end, lending the material a heft not typically heard in an ambient project. In the album’s boldest departure, “Syhan” distances itself from the strict ambient template by adding a skeletal, slow-motion beat pattern and garbled voice sample to its pretty piano theme (the part sampled from Penguin Café Orchestra’s “Red Shorts”) and crystalline atmospheres. A discernible escalation in intensity and episodic shift transpires too during the piece’s twelve-minute running time, a narrative move that further separates it from the even-tempered stasis of the prototypical ambient setting. Cloudlands ultimately registers as a varied collection that in subtle and satisfying ways shakes up the ambient soundscaping template without betraying its fundamental character. – Written by Ron Schepper,August 2009

ROCKAROLLA issue 21

From the Italian underground comes this exceptional ambient collaboration between Enrico Coniglio and Gianluigi Gasparetti (aka Oophoi). Inspired by German electronic music of the 1970s Gasparetti entered the deep ambient field in 1995 with impressive recordings made with analogue synths like the Cluster classics, in a stone building in the country. For his part, guitar player and composer Coniglio has collaborated with many artists, including Nicola Alesini, Elisa Marzorati, and Cluster’s maestro Joachim Roedelius. Together as Aquadorsa the duo dance around the divide of stillness and glitch, like a contemporary remix of Eno’s Apollo soundtrack prepared in the free floating environment of zero gravity. Over the kind of slow, spacious synth themes heard on Oophoi’s releases, Coniglio disturbs the peace with vinyl clicks, sonar bleeps and high whistling oscillations. Still an overall calm pervades, despite the distractions from the landscape of the industrial age. Visit the ‘oophoidrones’ page at myspace for a five-track preview of this wonderful change of pace.

Review by Chris Twomey – CORRIERE CANADESE

Au-delà de ses travaux solo, dont on a déjà dit ici le plus grand bien, Enrico Coniglio est également actif au sein du duo AquaDorsa qu’il forme avec Oöphoi (pseudonyme de Gianluigi Gasparetti. Pour leur première sortie, les Italiens sont accueillis par un label que l’on découvre aussi pour l’occasion : Glacial Movements Records, structure romaine dont on reparlera prochainement puisqu’un album de Marsen Jules y est annoncé.

Faites de nappes, de quelques micro-pulsations et d’interventions réduites de guitares, les compositions du duo s’épanouissent dans une ambient d’une étonnante profondeur et d’un caractère évocateur certain que la pochette (avec cette étendue type « mer de glace ») et les intitulés des morceaux (A Pillow of Clouds, Daylight Fading Into Evening Silence, Alone in the Rising Fog ou Night of Trembling Stars) laissaient entrevoir. Pour ce faire, theremin, bols tibétains, rivière et autres percussions sont utilisés par Oöphoi tandis que les programmations électroniques varient entre tapotements et sons à la limite du larsen. Quand ces éléments synthétiques sont les seuls convoqués (Syhan, Alone in the Rising Fog), les Italiens ne se distinguent que trop peu du reste des productions de ce genre (celles que l’on croise sur 12k, par exemple).

En revanche, donc, lorsque soit des percussions, soit un synthé, soit des samples vocaux sont employés (Night of Trembling Stars), AquaDorsa se fait nettement plus convaincant et ce sont bien évidemment ces passages que l’on préfèrera conserver en mémoire et que le duo conviendra de développer davantage à l’avenir.
François Bousquet , le 7/08/2009

ETHER REAL

Emmené par les Italiens Gianluigi Gasparetti et Enrico Coniglio, le projet Aquadorsa emmène cette nouvelle publication du label Glaical Movements sur de nouveaux sentiers de découverte boréale. En introduisant notamment une variété instrumentale et un sens de l’orchestration d’une rare préciosité pour une musique aussi confinée.On connaissait déjà le goût du label italien Glacial Movements, cornaqué par Alessandro Tedeschi, pour les ambiances glacées, pour les climats atmosphériques et électroniques cristallisant comme la neige de la banquise au soleil, et révélant des trésors d’évanescence embuée, sorte de congères monolithiques aux sonorités frissonnantes. Avec ce Cloudlands , réalisé par son duo de compatriotes Aquadorsa, la recette septentrionale maison prend un tour de main supplémentaire, plongeant son autarcie cryogénisée rampante dans une dimension instrumentale, voire par moments orchestrale (écoutez bien les arrangements, emplis pourtant parfois d’une retenue aux portes de l’inaudible, d’un morceau comme “Zero gravity”), rarement atteinte. La principale explication repose dans la grande variété de sources, et l’extrême complémentarité, des deux musiciens cachés derrière cette œuvre. D’un côté le multi instrumentiste Gianluigi Gasparetti, connu depuis le milieu des années 90 pour son projet solo deep-ambient Oophoi, s’attache à utiliser un maximum de sources instrumentales (piano, synthétiseurs, percussions, carillons et bols tibétains) et sonores (sampling), en respectant une coloration analogique épurée.De l’autre le guitariste et compositeur Enrico Coniglio, reconnu pour ses disques parus sur Touch ou Crónica, apporte en plus de ses sources propres, un sens de la programmation flirtant avec le glitch minimal et tactile par instants (comme sur “ Syhan”, où apparaît aussi un sample de piano du Penguin Café Orchestra, histoire de faire bonne mesure). A l’arrivée, il en résulte un disque abouti et alchimique, à la boréale et complexe félicité. – Laurent Catala

OCTOPUS

AquaDorsa is the result from the collaborative efforts of Enrico Coniglio and Gianluigi Gasparetti aka Oophoi. We know Enrico Coniglio from different solo albums while Gianluigi Gasperatti gained some recognition as member of Nebula before setting up Oophoi. “Cloudlands” is a pure soundscape release where this project invites the listener to a journey through imaginary sound universes. The opening track “A Pillow Of Clouds” sounds as a perfect warm-up preparing the listener to an ambient journey. The next tracks are full of prosperity and are like taking you miles away from the daily stress and other problems from the daily life. I’ve been rather surprised discovering such a wafting release on Glacial Movements that often offered darker releases to their listeners. “The Pond Reflected Her Smile” sounds so sweet and evasive with its wafting synth parts. I was referring to darker releases on this label and from the next track on (cf. “Zero Gravity”) AquaDorsa progressively moves its experiment into darker regions. “Zero Gravity” is rather mysterious than dark, but seems to announce icy parts. It’s definitely one of the best cuts from this album. The next 3 songs are only accentuating the darker side of the project, which finally leads to a kind of climax on the “Night Of Trembling Stars”. This track is definitely the most animated piece of the album and especially the strings are emerging from the glacial structures. When paying some attention for the writing part of this album you’ll be possibly surprised by the impressive effect and other studio treatments. I can imagine original sounds that have been reworked to finally get this particular kind of icy and mystic expression. “Cloudlands” will definitely be please by the dark ambient lovers in search of some refreshing experiences! (DP:7)DP.

SIDELINE

Per la sua sesta uscita, la Glacial Movements ingaggia il navigato Oophoi ed il musicista italiano Enrico Coniglio.
Il primo si dedica a tessere soffici strutture analogico digitali, mentre il secondo le punteggia con la sua chitarra ed i suoi sample.
Ne escono fuori sette brani ambient dai titoli ampiamente descrittivi con una spiccata propensione melodica, ma anche capaci di creare quell’atmosfera di ascolto concentrato e interiore che l’etichetta chiede ai suoi ascoltatori. Spiccano fra tutti ‘Daylight fading into evening silence’ e ‘Night of trembling stars’.
Rilassante. by Andrea Benedetti

ELECTRONIQUE

Italy’s Glacial Movements label has, little by little, minimal increment by minimal increment, established itself as one of the world’s most vital headquarters for both rural and worldwide-etched ambient and related musics. Though only a few releases in, already we’ve seen the likes of Rapoon and Lull (two soundscaping giants, certainly) make their presence known across the label’s remit; future works are promised by no less a global isolationist than Thomas Koner, as well as the mutable Francisco Lopez and Marsen Jules. Aquadorsa pairs two of Italy’s finest sound artisans together in one of the more intriguing collaborations of late: the erstwhile Oophoi, whose own vast library of drones and broadstroke works has assumed mammoth proportions in both size and outreach, and relative newcomer Enrico Coniglio, whose 2007 release Areavirus on the Irish Psychonavigation label was one of that year’s most criminally neglected outings. At first this doesn’t appear to be the most simpatico of partnerships: though both artists are adept programmers of the requisite synths and samplers on hand, Coniglio’s “classical” approach to sonic mythmaking feels at odds with expert abstractionist Oophoi. Naturally, initial appearances are deceiving, no less so in this case. Cloudlands reveals itself to be a veritable anomaly in this age of the mono(tone)drone and so much over-arching minimalism; layered and detailed to an impeccable degree, the seven lengthy pieces are practically regal in their pragmatic impressionism. Rather than ply more easily contrived and trivial “dark” ambient pursuits, or simply probe typically spatial, post-Tangerine Dream confines, the duo create a teeming hive of (micro)activity that plays like a millennia-burnished ecosystem of sound. Misty mountain samples, sharp clangs of (processed) guitar, metallic-buffed textures, and a number of surprisingly off-putting touches neatly sidestep the usual ambient clichés; sure, barometric pressures rise and fall, atmospheres are breached and respirate effectively, but everything seems intentionally placed here, with nary a duff note or redundant gesture. Powerful stuff, rife with ingenuity and constantly interesting—more please, fellas.

DARREN BERGSTEIN – SIGNAL TO NOISE MAGAZINE issue 55

Aquadorsa è una collaborazione tra Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi) ed Enrico Coniglio, due musicisti elettronici italiani appartenenti entrambi all’area sperimentale/ambient.La cornice è quella di Glacial Movements, etichetta che raccoglie uscite incentrate sulla descrizione di paesaggi desertici e ghiacciati e caratterizzate dall’essere molto essenziali dal punto di vista sonoro. Cloudlands inizialmente sembra troppo new age e troppo conciliante per destare interesse, ma si tratta di uno di quegli album che cresce ascolto dopo ascolto. Il suo punto di forza parrebbe l’essere frutto di un incastro tra due modi diversi di fare ambient. A costo di prendere una brutta cantonata, qui sembra che Oophoi si sia preoccupato di creare distese soffici e luminose con synth e campionamenti classici, mentre Enrico Coniglio abbia deciso di graffiare questo quadro con minimi sussulti ritmici e crepitii vari, collegando così Aquadorsa col glitch e contribuendolo a renderlo anche più scuro in alcuni passaggi. Quest’operazione in qualche modo è stata realizzata con grandissimo senso della misura, tanto che sarebbe molto ingeneroso parlare di semplice “sovrapposizione” di stili, mentre – come accennato prima – ogni giro nello stereo fa sì che Cloudlands si manifesti come un album coeso e originale.

AUDIODROME

(November 2009) Italy’s Glacial Movements label may be a relative newcomer to the ambient netherworld, but a slow but steady infusion of releases from the likes of Rapoon and Lull, and the promise of more in the offing from experimental ambient veterans such as Thomas Köner and Francisco Lopez, have given GM a strong foothold in darkly drifting musical terrain. And with Cloudlands GM capo Alessandro Tedeschi has allied himself again with a heavyweight, namely Italian mystic-ambient-space-drone maven, Oophoi. It’s that Prince of Audio-Tides whose communings with little known experimentalist, Enrico Coniglio, are here gathered under the name Aquadorsa. Of Oophoi enough should be known already, but it’s Coniglio’s contribution – his bringing of digital turbulence to Gasparetti’s more naturalistic sea of tranquility – that allows Cloudlands to stand that bit apart from the ambient space crowd, whether sprinkling pebbly gravel over crystalline contours or peppering pops and prepared piano patter over languorous lulls.

So, what might this portend, beyond a passing interest in post-digital music technology? Coniglio’s ‘research’ is said to be “increasingly focused on the relationship between ‘music’ and ‘landscape,’ seeking to represent the contemporary crisis of the territory, the loss of nature and identity of places, and the unknown on the evolution of post-urban and post-industrial territory.” So that’s your interpretive paradigm for you. No simple glum gloom-fest nor vacuous lightside languish, but a Zeitgeist-pondering meditation, with a plentiful palette of guitars, synthesizers, piano, percussion, waterphone, chimes, singing bowls, Theremin, and samples pressed into service. “A Pillow of Clouds” sets the tone, deploying a pinch of post-dub digital to etiolate its synth washes, while a processed reed-sound is delicately exposed amid swathes of vaporous synthesis, before an insistent pulse drives the whole towards the end. Similarly paradigm-mixing, “Daylight Fading into Evening Silence” hosts a wave-like cycling synth loop washing over and over, digital crepitations creeping in, heralding Raster Noton-lite glitch-rhythmics. Nocturnal singing-bowl hum consorts with chimes and wisps over “Zero Gravity,” as a ghostly loop cedes to looming syn-throb, detuned percussion and steely sine-shafts. “Syhan” goes further, with its skeletal slow-mo beats and veiled vocal fragment conspiring to lead winsome piano thematics and crystalline atmospherics far from the path of ambient purism. Aquadorsa’s is a combo of bliss and bitcrush, it occurs, not far removed from 12k’s pop-microsound, though on the unquiet “Alone in the Rising Fog” the duo serves up a slew of slithery and spooked atmospherics suggestive of fog-bound disorientation – cloud lands nearer to Köner country and Roach worlds.

All in all, eschewing standard dark isolationist void-starings and smile-on-the-cosmos New Age fluff alike, Aquadorsa’s is at once a more expansive aerial view (cf. Oophoi’s release on GM’s Wurm series, An Aerial View), while cosying up to the glitch-click aesthetic. Cloudlands reveals itself to be far from the bleak and parsimonious monodrone of much enmired in the midden of the minimal, or draped in cartoon Dark; rather it is a subtly teeming affair of strata and substrata, of stately airs and grace attractively mottled by a mezzotint of microsound.

IGLOO MAGAZINE

What makes ambient isolationist? In the early 1990s it was a reaction against the highly rhythmical, ornate, more-techno-than-ambient music that, oxymoronically, was often used for dancing. Stripped to the most minimal, artists like Thomas Köner created very quiet, slow moving music that seemed like the sound of absence. Polar regions seemed an apt metaphor, a featureless, flat, wind-swept landscape. And unlike the deserts, bleak landscapes that have inspired other musicians, polar regions are uninhabited, removing the vestiges of aboriginal civilizations that haunt Steve Roach and his desert ambient colleagues. In 1994, Virgin Records released a 2-CD compilation entitled Isolationism that tremendously expanded the acceptable range of music covered by the term. In particular, it opened the door to paranoia and despair, looking at isolation as a social term, and moving toward other environments, inner as well as outer, where an individual could be isolated. But one label which has retained the far, cold north as inspiration, ironically from Mediterranean Italy, is Glacial Movements, self described as “glacial and isolationist ambient.” Their first album was a compilation, Cryosphere, released in July 2006, and their schedule has proceeded as slowly as the ice portrayed on their covers and alluded to in the label’s very name. The label’s sixth album, Cloudlands, hit the streets this spring under the name Aquadorsa (or perhaps Aqua Dorsa, both spellings are on the web site). It’s also unclear whether this is an ongoing project, but in any event the album pairs relative newcomer Enrico Coniglio with one of the most venerable names in deep ambient, Oöphoi. Unlike some of Oöphoi’s other collaborations where both artists share an expertise in slow moving drones, Coniglio adds an unexpected layer of noise, borrowing liberally from 12k glitch and Raster-Noton crunchy rhythms. Pieces like The Pond Reflected Her Smile are still characterized by Oöphoi’s languid harmonies, where Coniglio’s slow click percussion adds an unusual grit. The scratches on Zero Gravity would sound completely at home on well-played vinyl, blending with the subaquatic melodic loops and continuous bell resonances. The music could be considered a departure from the glacial and isolationist rubric, considerably more active and melodic than Lull’s subliminal soundscapes, perhaps the label’s venture into the more social aspects of isolation. For an oblique perspective, Coniglio’s solo work Glacial Lagoon, available on the Laverna netlabel, is a deliberate investigation of the loss of identity in the post-urban landscape colored by his residence in Venice. Where Glacial Lagoon is considerably more glitchy than Cloudlands, the collaboration with Oöphoi brings to the music a wistfulness, an emotional longing previously absent from the genre.
Glacial Movements releases are available digitally from all of the usual suspects, but the CDs are packaged in beautiful digipaks with artwork by the Norwegian photographer Bjarne Riesto that is considerably more than the single image CD cover that comes with downloads. Only half of Riesto’s photo is visible on the Aqua Dorsa image above, as the rest is spread across the entire gatefold. Lull’s cover is especially effective, an image of white ice that is displayed in context of gorgeous, lush, full color arctic sunset on the inside.

CLASSICAL DRONE

Cloudlands represents an animistic celebration of cold, snow, fog, mist, and icy air. Across seven lengthy tracks Aqua Dorsa deploy guitars, synthesisers, piano, percussive elements, and a range of more exotic instruments such as Theremin, singing bowls, and a waterphone (a very unique kind of tuned percussion instrument which has water reservoirs inside it to shape the timbre of the tones it produces).
The flesh of each track is composed from drifting drones, mostly sounding like they’ve been generated by processed guitars or keyboards. These trailing layers of sound gently float across one another, weaving minimalist but evocative textures. The general effect is to conjure images of Artic or Antarctic horizons, ice-clad seas, or icy mountains high above the tree line.
Woven through the drones are some very beautiful percussion elements, mostly sounding programmed, though the credits suggest that some live playing is present as well. At times these elements are more explicitly drum kit-like in character (though always processed through various sonic filters); at other times they are more abstract, rhythmically patterned clicks, beeps, and samples.
The percussive elements bring in something of a laid back trip hop influence and set off a good contrast with the ambient/drone facets of the music. Aqua Dorsa are really good at laying down a strong groove without abandoning delicacy or subtlty, and they know when to introduce beats and when to let them subside again.
This tasteful application of beats and percussion to ambient drones creates an excellent dynamic trajectory to the album as a whole. At times the energy builds into a stronger force, then subsides back into dreamer, mist-soaked territory. It keeps the music as a whole quite engaging, which is a rare achievement for what is essentially ambient music.
The chimes, samples (in particular of distant, blowing wind), crackle, and so forth, provide the third pillar on which the release as a whole is built. They are used to underscore the spaciousness of the drones, to render unto the percussion a more organic feel, and to break up the repetitive aspects of the music and keep things feeling fresh.
All in all it is the atmosphere of this album that most impresses, however. Somehow despite the icy aesthetic of the music it never feels forbidding, isolating, or emotionally cold. Indeed, there is a real sense of comfort, of being at home.
Perhaps the feeling evoked is similar to what it is like in the final stages of hypothermia – one is overcome with warmth and well-being even as one’s pulse stills and one’s breath rattles into stillness. Somehow I find such an image to be a font of optimism!
There’s something life-affirming about this excursion into forbidding climates and horizons and on the whole this is a beautiful album.

RITUAL MAGAZINE

I druhá deska přinese ambient. Ten už bude mnohem sebevědomější a v rámci možností ,hlučnější‘. Aqua Dorsa je nový hudební projekt italských ambientních umělců Enrica Coniglia a Oophoi. Debut CLOUDLANDS (Glacial Movements, 2009, 67:23) je dokonalý amalgám glitch cinkání a práskání, klasické hudby i orchestrálního ledového am bientu. Enrico se jako kytarista a skladatel stále více zaměřuje na vztah mezi hudbou a krajinou, tentokrát za severním polárním kruhem. Po mapování nočních Benátek došlo tedy na zkrocenější elektronický ambient, který svou melodičností připomene pre-etnické období Vidny Obmany. To znamená nástupy hladkých melodických linek, které se jako mraky na obloze přelévají, slučují dohromady a zase nazpět trhají. Postupně se nenápadně přidávají theremin, stydlivé emoce a další samply, kterými se liší duo od více než 15 let starých nahrávek belgického projektu. V kousku Syhan dokonce převezmou náladu vysamplované pasáže klavírního preludování Penguin Café Orchestra. Velmi příjemné album

UNIMAGAZINE

La criogenesi sonora del produttore romano Alessandro Tedeschi aka Netherworld (emblematico il suo album Mørketid, pubblicato circa 3 anni fa, per il quale utilizzava field recordings e suoni catturati nella glaciale Norvegia) prosegue infaticabile nell’esplorazione di una categoria termica e paesaggistica, il freddo e le regioni polari, le cui traduzioni in forme estetiche udibili e visibili trovano degna espressione nelle intriganti produzioni che recano il marchio Glacial Movements, etichetta che al di là del manifesto intento del suo fondatore – quello di vertere in ricerche incentrate sull’ambient isolazionista – si sta guadagnando una certa visibilità non solo fra gli ascoltatori abituati ad esplorare territori musicali tra l’ambient music e la new age, ma anche fra molti appassionati di elettronica in senso lato anche al di là dei confini nazionali, visibilità a cui ha contribuito la decisione di produrre anche nomi blasonati della scena quali l’alter ego ambient – Lull – del cranioclastico Mick Harris, celeberrimo ex batterista dei Napalm Death nonchè incontinente produttore di sperimentazioni sonore incentrato sull’uso di sferraglianti percussioni (inserite persino in contesti sonori più “pacifici”) o Rapoon, il progetto solista di Robin Storey (ex Zoviet France). A carpire la nostra attenzione auricolare (nonchè oculare vista la suggestiva fotografia, carpita dall’obiettivo di Bjarne Riesto, scelta per l’artwork di copertina), è una sigla relativamente sconosciuta, Aqua Dorsa, dietro la quale si malcelano Gianluigi Gasparetti, meglio noto col moniker Oophoi, e lo stimato Enrico Coniglio, musicista e sperimentatore veneziano che presentammo ai nostri lettori in occasione della pubblicazione delle sue Topofonie, in cui il concept che contraddistingue il suo alacre lavorio sonoro, in parte travasato anche in questo progetto bicefalo, incentrato sulla ricerca di una sonorizzazione atta a descrivere territori e paesaggi. Il peso specifico di Enrico che sembra riversare negli oceani sonori poco mossi (certa nomenclatura da meteorologo televesivo può calzare per descrivere le sonorità che perturberanno i vostri padiglioni…!) schegge di rumori e microsuoni atti a turbarne leggeramente l’apparente quietitudine, si percepisce notevolmente nella ricetta sonora di questo intrigante act, costituendo quasi l’elemento di disturbo nelle oniriche fluttuazioni costruite da Oophoi attraverso drones rarefatti e cristallini, anche se nel corso dell’ascolto qualora conosciate anche solo vagamente l’arsenale stilistico (nonchè strumentale, visto che è proprio la considerevole ampiezza di ferri del mestiere a distinguere questo album dai precedenti dell’etichetta capitolina) delle due personalità musicali fuse in Cloudlands, sarà facile accorgersi che non si riduce ad una sorta di addizione algebrica tra le abilità dell’uno e dell’altro, ma sembra quasi evolversi in un’interazione volta a “rappresentare” passagi scenografici spesso diversi.
Ne beneficia il risultato finale: mai troppo sclerotizzato sulla staticità che talvolta connota lavori che orbitano attorno a questi immaginari sonori e sufficientemente variegato nell’avvicendamento di variazioni di registro. Delle sette convoluzioni sonopaesaggistiche dai titoli eloquentemente didascalici, abbiamo trovato di particolare interesse la potenza evocativa di Alone In The Rising Fog – la lunghissima traccia (oltre 18 minuti di immersione uditiva…) che sembra meglio sposare il concept della Glacial Movements, caratterizzata da una sorta di costante tremolio che, congiuntamente a suoni d’ambiente da videogame (gorgoglii, singulti, battiti cardiaci, sincopi sussultorie, rumori acquatici e quant’altro…) e alla sapiente modulazione di frequenze che rimandano alle soundtrack di certe palpitanti pellicole horror degli anni ’70, vale aumenta la tensione drammatica del brano -, il setting “lucciolesco” di Night Of Trembling Stars – le cui ipnagogiche radiazioni atmosferiche che disegnano una sorta di sinfonia eterea e impalbabile, che s’insinua nei canali onirici dell’ascoltatore, ci rimanda alle sospensioni in formalina dal vaticinante retrogusto bucolico di Biosphere o ai latticini sonici in salsa cosmica di certa techno-ambient che si producevano in copiose quantità intorno alla fine degli anni ’90 -, il graduale passaggio di stato di Daylight Fading Into Evening Silence – in un cui un placido drone sembra “abbagliare” i timpani dell’ascoltatore scansionando idealmente le luci e le variazione cromatiche di una tipica giornata su una landa artica – e gli algidi ecoscandagli di Syhan – traccia che si contrastingue per un placido campione di pianoforte attinto da Red Shorts della Penguin Café Orchestra su cui si infrangono pulsazioni “gutturali”, scariche di un arco elettrico cortocircuitato che coralmente sembrano disegnare una straniante rapsodia “radiofonica” -. Esplorazione uditiva questo Cloudlands in cui affiorano divertssment di entrambi gli artefici come iceberg in riemersione che non mancherà di impressionarsi su coclee e sinapsi.


dyanMU
Enrico Coniglio & Elisa Marzorati – CD – Psychonavigation, 2008

REVIEWS

THE BIG CHILL

OK, so I’m working on a hunch here rather than reporting on the findings of a thorough investigation, but I’m pretty sure that the classical (or ‘art music’ if you prefer that term) composer Claude Debussy has left his mark more clearly than any other on the popular electronic music of the last few decades. Given his ‘whatever pleases my ears’ maxim, his harmonic palette has had most to offer songwriters and instrumentalists alike, and his soft, shimmering tonalities which are strange but also beautiful to most ears, have permeated the soundscapes of all our lives from clubs to concert to living room armchair. He has also been explicitly referred to in recent years: Isao Tomita’s stunning electronic arrangements, Snowflakes are Dancing, which appeared in the seventies, through to the Art of Noise’s beautifully crafted and very clever, but ultimately pointless and slightly ridiculous Seduction and Reduction of the composer’s life and works, released at the very end of the same century that was only eighteen years old when he died. Some of his piano pieces, such as those in Images and the Preludes, contain music and sounds that are, in the instant that they are heard, so aromatic and evocative that they really are the antecedents of ambient and down-tempo (Debussy’s contemporary Satie called some of his pieces ‘furniture music’). If I had one desert island disc of beautiful music to think and unwind to, my ‘ambient’ choice, it would be a recording of his first book of Preludes. Another piece of evidence for my opening gambit is the latest release on Psychonavigation from Enrico Coniglio, dyanMU, which draws directly from those Preludes. It is very much in the ambient-glitch-soundscapes tradition of his previous release, Areavirus: Topofonie Volume 1 which was probably the standout release of its kind last year. On this disc Coniglio is joined by the pianist Elisa Marzorati whose free improvisations are based on extracts from some of the twenty four pieces that comprise the two books of Preludes. It’s an interesting and well executed album, the arrangements and treatments of the material (particularly the contribution of Rena Jones on the first track) are subtle but fascinating in their own way. There are recognisable snatches of the composer in amongst the drones and textures but, although both coexist quite happily alongside each other, there is not much that the musicians have done to link the two which is a shame. That said Loss (part 1) does extend and illuminate the strange melancholy longing that runs through Footprints in the Snow (one of the most striking Preludes). Perhaps, because it is closest to his style and presentation, Foliage is the standout track, but everything here is interesting listening. It’s just that where his influence is most strongly felt, he (unsurprisingly) steals the show. If you’re after quality ambient then it’s here in abundance, if you’re a fan of Debussy too then this album should definitely be in your collection. [Jez Wells]

WHITE LINE

This release comes out on Northern Ireland’s Psychonavigation imprint. Taking a position somewhere between the ambient ramblings of Boards of Canada, with a little Biospshere, and FSOL added for good measure.  This neat release is capably handled by one Enrico Coglio ably assisted by Elisa Marzorati on piano. Whilst this release didn’t float my boat in terms of originality, it did what every ambient recording should do, and left me chilled, and suitably calmed..film music for the mind I would say, and none the worst for it. For those of you that are still looking for sonic sedation in the form of synthesised ambience..this will have your name on it.

DGM LIVE.COM

A Sample of Paradise – Posted by Sid Smith on Sun., Jun 8, 2008 Venetian guitarist and composer Enrico Coniglio has an album utilising a sample from Robert Fripp’s 1998 toe-tapper, The Gates of Paradise. Entitled dyanMU, the record also features the playing pianist, Elisa Marzorati. The album is out on the Irish label Psychonavigation Records and you can listen to samples of the album over on Enrico’s myspace site and here…

THE SILENT BALLET

Take a stroll through any film house that is having a sci-fi drama/romance film festival and you will hear songs akin to those on dyanMU by Enrico Coniglio. Tension from ethereal pads and metallic accents coexist with traditional piano melodies to provide a space that is harmonious as well emotional. It is exotic but also traditional. The backgrounds are very reminiscent of Aphex Twin’s Ambient Works Volume II, where one can’t help but feel something “spooky” about the sounds that move in no apparent direction, yet subconsciously feel like there is a pattern to the chaos. It is slow and arrhythmic, which lends to the alien nature, but the ability to find peace amongst the mysterious is what lends a supernatural essence to the music. The piano melodies are generally simple and well played – almost too well played. I get the air of classical training when I listen to the piano, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I bring it up because it is borderline non-sequitur; it almost sounds like it doesn’t fit. The ambience has such a dramatic textural element but the piano is played in such a clean and pristine way that it sounds like two albums together; a piano album played over an ambient album. The electronic, ambient only tracks are quite delightful as the textures have large dynamics and sweeping flow. This again leads to the feeling of two albums smashed together. On that note, if this were really a soundtrack to a sci-fi romantic drama, track five, “Bell-Ringer,” would be the act II reunion between the robot-killing detective and his once alien, blond haired mistress. It is so cheerful, with its staccato upper octave plinking and falling major melody line it seems completely out of place on the album. However, it’s short, sweet, and perfect for a romp through a sunny meadow. Then the dark ambience rejoins the crowd and all is back to “normal.” A feeling that can’t escape me is that dyanMu sounds like the graduate project for a composition major at some University. It is not to say that it is poorly done, but the piano elements sound a little too heavy handed compared to the ambience. The piano is the undeniable lead instrument, but it sounds as if the album was written for piano by a pianist, and then ambience was added to make it more “modern”. If this is the case, the contrary is true. The album feels a little behind the times if it is intended to be an avant-garde piece of music. The pairing of heavy piano pedal tones amidst fuzzy background ambience is something that has been going on since the days of Stockhausen which in turn have been synthesized into modern music and cinema, hence the reference to film music; the music sounds mainstream-ized. This would be a fantastic film soundtrack, or a fantastic new-age piano album, but as a single piece of experimental ambient music it feels a little too simple. This being said, the album is still fairly enjoyable and something worth listening to or using in your next film project – whether sci-fi romance, slasher, or avant-garde – give it a try. [Greg Norte]

CYCLIC DEFROST

Enrico Coniglio is a thirtysomething post-Fennesz producer/musician based in Venice. He deals in a warm, soothing blend of guitar drones, field recordings and digital post-production. dyanMU is his fifth album, and this time around he’s joined by Elisa Marzorati on piano. Coniglio works as an urban planner by day, and it is perhaps no coincidence that his music evinces a strong sense of place and landscape. Opening track ‘Brushwork’ features contemplative piano chords and runs layered over heavily syncopated programmed drums (from guest Rena Jones) and chilled synth atmospheres, with indecipherable spoken word samples floating in and out of the mix. However, this opening track is deceptive, as the rest of the CD dispenses with drums altogether. Coniglio says that he was freely inspired by Debussy’s piano preludes in the making of this record, and ‘Foliage’ is a solo piano instrumental which seems to hang in the air like a latter day ‘Clair de Lune’. ‘Birds Delight’ is an Eno-esque melange of swooping bass drones and haunted electronics. ‘Timepiece’ samples Robert Fripp in a cinematic soundscape of richly reverbed piano, drifting synth strings and Alva Noto-style bass glitches. This album is a must for all fans of intelligent, richly-textured ambient music. [Ewan Burke]

THE TICKET (The Irish Times newspaper)

Italian electro-ambient composer Enrico Coniglio’s second release on the fine Dublin Psychonavigation label sees him team up with Swiss-Italian piano virtuosa Elisa Marzorati. It was Marzorati’s 2006 recording of Debussy’s 24 Preludes for Solo Piano that inspired dyanMU’s experimental mingling of impressionistic (and sometimes sassily jazz-inflected) piano figures with minimalist loops, samples and drones. Coniglio is clearly more than at home on Planet Plugin, but he doesn’t distract overmuch with ostentatious noodling. And his tact is not lost on Marzorati, who offers rich, whole-tone atmospherics rather than acrobatic busyness. There are even entire tracks where the two musicians, as if in mutual homage, stay out of each other’s way altogether. A low-key beaut, well worth your euros. [DARAGH Ó’DÚBHÁIN]

THE VIBES

Dopo le apprezzate Topofonie, torna il musicista elettronico veneziano Enrico Coniglio, questa volta accompagnato dal delicato tocco pianistico di Elisa Marzorati, per l’annunciato progetto (sempre edito dalla sorprendente etichetta irlandese Psychonavigation) dyanMU, che stimola la nostra curiosità fin dall’eleoquente packpaging. Sulla cover è riprodotto un monolite cubico, simbolo in alcune culture del raccordo fra la terra e l’empireo, ma traslato dalla cinematografia come simbolo del misterioso intreccio fra naturale e artificiale, che sembra eroso ma non del tutto consumato dal tempo e dall'”ordine” random della natura che lo circonda in relativo contrasto con l’ordine geometrico della figura. Una potente immagine che sintetizza l’incontro fra la musica classica e quella elettronica, intersecate in vari modi nelle undici tracce del disco, secondo una rivisitazione dei canoni divenuti quasi un dogma introdotti da musicisti come Brian Eno (con la sua ricerca sonora nella cosiddetta “musica ambientale”, ovvero musica atta a “descrivere” un ambiente senza il ricorso delle parole o di rigidi schemi classici, e al contempo a far parte dell’ambiente in cui è suonata) o Robert Fripp (pertinente la citazione in Timepiece di The Outer Darkness, una dei lavori più “miltoniani” del suo repertorio) filtrata dalla logica della preservazione dell'”errore” alla base del glitch. Conforme ad una confluenza che ha ripreso a risuonare nelle sale da concerto e nei salotti di molte cose con sodalizi come quello fra il noto pianista Ludovico Einaudi e Robert Lippok (una gamba dei To Rococo Rot), ma propenso a quella cinefilia e alle immagini mentali prodotte da musicisti come Fennesz o lo stimato pianista anglo-tedesco Max Richter, dyanMU sposta l’ago del bilancino di precisione verso esperienze sonore che ben si adattano anche a spleen emotivi da cameretta, riuscendo nel corso degli oltre 40 minuti di riproduzione a dare l’illusione che le lancette dell’orologio si fermino. Camei minimalisti e fulgide schegge di trasognato intimistico che fanno percepire quasi all’ascoltatore il cigolare dell’anta di un armadio eroso dai tarli o il fluttuare di tende mosse dal vento nella penombra di una camera, ideale profilassi che separa la quieta stasi dell’ascoltatore dalla dinamica immobilità della natura si avvicendano in delicati equilibri in cui il rifiuto dei canoni non è mai troppo vicino all’idiosincrasia. Coinvolgente fin dall’iniziale Brushwork, in cui oltre ai pennelli musicali di Enrico ed Elisa, vi è anche quello della brava violoncellista Rena Jones, attivissima esponente della scena downtempo che recentemente ha impreziosito il suo palmares con collaborazioni di gran pregio e attualmente impegnata sul suo quarto album. Dopo il crepuscolare ronzio di Mothlight, segue l’ottima Foliage: l’ago si sposta decisamente verso la vena classica del progetto e verso i colori e le temperature tiepide dell’autunno, miste al senso di placido risveglio della natura. I fraseggi pianistici sembrano provenire da una dimensione lontana, irradiando la stessa tensione e lo stesso senso di temporaneo distacco all’ascoltatore, preso per le coclee e accompagnato nella fievole luce di un’alba surreale nel giardino di stimoli dell’avvolgente Birds Delight, in cui un drone subtonale si confonde con suoni sibillini dal movimento circolare di sequenze che si fanno via via più ipnagogiche su sporadici backings che ci ricordano per l’uso che se ne fa certe obnubilate sequenze degli eterei Boards Of Canada. Transitando per la leggiadria di Bell-ringer molto simile a certe cavalcate mentali tra le nuvole dei Nova Nova sospinte dalle corde di martelletti del pianoforte e per le suggestioni umbrifere della rarefatta Cableway, si giunge ad uno dei momenti in cui il predetto ago ritorna a propendere verso le macchine di Enrico: in skip to eXit, da cupe sinosoidi di basso emergono un suono sintetico acuto, messo a contrasto con i gravi rintocchi di note di piano delle prime ottave, prima di aprirsi e rinchiudersi in un interessanti gioco di scomparse e riapparizioni sul radar sonoro. Levare e accenti che richiamano le didascalia sonore di Satie o i leziosismi del più lunare Debussy di Walking Distance fanno da arioso corridio che conduce nelle due parti di Loss, in cui i rintocchi del piano e le crepuscolari tonalità elettronica fanno quasi da frangiflutti gli uni delle altre e viceversa fino a quando – nella seconda parte – sembrano quasi compenetrarsi in una oscura sinfonia che fa da eco al solipsismo più impenetrabile, richiamandoci alla mente la narcosi notturna del Rupert Huber nelle vesti di pianista. Chiude il nostalgico sfilacciamento di Timpepiece. [Vito Camarretta]

TOKAFI

The journey begins with a thought and a questionmark: “Play it soft?”, Enrico Coniglio asks in the digipack, while Franco Marzorati claims in the preface to the album that “Ambient music swallows not only the world with its noise but also silence with its thoughts. Perhaps it realizes the extreme desire: deadalive”.The music hasn’t even started yet and one already feels that this is by no means an ordinary release. Of course, Enrico Coniglio has made a name for himself in that respect. His previous effort, “Areavirus”, was a work which bulged out in every direction imagineable, a record which effortlessly moved from crisp electronica to richly tectured soundscapes and from solo pieces to band-like constellations. Coniglio is the kind of musician who’s not eclectic for the sake of it, but simply because his field of interest is so wide. Indecisiveness, one could say, is a virtue here. This is also why his fifth album, a collaboration with Swiss-born pianist Elisa Marzorati, has such a completely natural ring to it. “Freely inspired by the piano Preludes of Claude Debussy”, it says, but the smell of pretentiousness which easily pervades such lines is softened by the fact that this is truly the meeting of two musicians who enjoy reaching out beyond their own nose and who have finetuned the details of their vision over the course of more than a full year – “dyanMU” is not only the album title, but the name of their joint project as well, a “meeting between two artists coming from very different traditions. Almost by default, these 42 minutes will therefore fail to satisfy both the demand for sonic purity of die-hard classical fans and the desire for seamless smoothness often voiced by Ambient listeners. Marzorati neither strives for an organic sound in her playing (lots of pedal) nor in her choice of instrument (most likely an ePiano), her elegant melodies on rhythmic opener “brushwork” are rather influenced by electronica than by the Vienese school, her disqueting clusters on “skip to eXit” and her harmonic language on “walking distance” by midnight Jazz and nervous breakdowns. Coniglio’s atmospheres, meanwhile, take turns at being ethereal and lightflooded, obscured by clouds, ominous and abstract. Despite its many tonal, timbral and stylistic variations, “dynMU” does settle into a groove, albeit an unusual one. Dense moods are continously juxtaposed with solo piano pieces, leaving a lot of free creative space to the listener, while sucking him in through the backdoor. Only the final three tracks deviate from this path, when Coniglio builds crackling and clattering beats from tiny bits of binary code and immerses himself in field-recordings to come up with a modern-day version of Debussy’s impressionism on “loss (part I & II)”. Even in its more disturbing passages, the album remains contained, never fully releasing the tension and merely easing it slightly when Marzorati is allowed to gently stroke the keys. This may be, why dyanMU” is a work which demands to be appreciated through repeated listening, but which is not too heavy or burdensome to be consumed several times in a row. Quite obviously, however, it risks disappearing into your subconscious without the necessary dynamic thrust: We strongly recommend playing this loud! [Tobias Fischer]

BARCODE

Coniglio’s second album for Psychonavigation sees a fragile blend of acoustic and ambient sounds at play. The album begins with the track Brushwork, perhaps one of the busiest on the album, combining faint vocal samples with light, spattering ‘beats’ and cleverly sequenced piano tones. The remainder of the album is, however, rather different. Mostly based on deft piano chords – in fact three of the tracks are wholly piano pieces – Coniglio surrounds the melodic tones with a variety of ghostly ambient synthesiser passages and granular atmospheres. The results inflict a variety of subtle emotions, but many of the tracks do tend to drag on a bit. In all honesty it’s the sole piano pieces, such as the lovely, Budd-like Foliage and wandering Bell-Ringer that light up the album most. I guess they would not be as effective if not cocooned by the drifting drones of much of the surrounding music. Therefore this is an album that needs to be listened to in its entirety to garner full satisfaction. An ambitious work that almost falls under the avant-garde category, dyanMU contains some highly inviting portions of music, but its abstract polarity distracts too much to make it a truly pleasurable listening experience.

GOTHRONIC

Just about two years ago Enrico Coniglio and Elisa Marzorati started the “dyanMU” project. With instruments ranging from samplers, filters, computers and a piano they created a true masterpiece which can be mentioned in one breath with the works of someone like Biosphere or Fennesz. Heavy minimal ambient, on times with minimal technoid beats and patterns, in which the piano dictating the melodic parts in most compositions. If you compare this release to for example the collaboration between Alva Noto and Ryuchi Sakamoto, “dyanMU” is accessible to a way larger audience. On the one side this is because of the less incoherent way she plays piano, but it’s definitly also because this release contains less weird and hurtful frequencies. But concerning the amosphere, both collaborations are quite close to eachother. The label on which this album is released – the artwork reminds me quite a bit of Touch releases with pictures by the hand of John Wozencroft – is an Irish label and “dyanMU” is release number 22. Most of the mentioned artists are unfamiliar to me, but i was pleasently surprised to read the names Lackluster and Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Worth researching! [Bauke]

MORPHEUS MUSIC

With impressionist piano embellishment and some chilled beats. This is an unusual album – Enrico Coniglio has created a series of absorbing ambiences that have a moody enigmatic quality about them – dark, deep morphing pools of sound crackling in places with electrical damage – these are overlaid with delicate piano melodies by Elisa Marzorati “partly based on the piano Préludes of Claude Debussy”. The resultant combination is a delightful movement between dappled light and thick shadow. Eerie passages of fractured drones and sustained metallic ringing swell ghost-like, indistinct whilst the gentle buoyant romance of Marzorati’s ivory dances wistfully across the surface. Track one has a sparse digital beat that effortlessly carries the introduction into weightless, breezy motion – the remainder of the music is pretty much free of percussive rhythm. A tasteful twin panel digipack holds this CD – delivering the same balance of light and shadow explored through the music. On the front cover an improbable cube sits in a scrubby woodland – littered with dead leaves and shattered sun light, pale against the gloom of the undergrowth behind. On the rear cover we find a compact tracklist and brief credits set out on a densely tenebrous arched corridor photo scene. Inside another woodland image holds a printed quotation from Franco Marzorati and behind the disc itself is an extended list of credits and sample sources. This is the second album on Psychonavigation Records from Venice based guitar player/composer Enrico Coniglio following a series of earlier releases. Here the artist further develops his interest in ambient electronica – his muted environmental creations minimal and evocative – suggestive motes and minutiae crawling in the depths. Yet the introduction of Elisa Marzorati’s piano playing completely transforms the overall tenor of the collection – his soundscaping illuminated by her grace, her fingering haunted by his static and gloom. Add to this some drum programming from Rena Jones and a couple of well chosen samples including one from Robert Fripp and you have a truly stand out album.

LOOP

Italian artist based in Venice Enrico Coniglio, on programming, sampling and looping along with Elisa Marzorati on piano released his second album on the Irish label Psychonavigation Records. ‘dyanMU’ is a project that started in 2006 between these two artists and also collaborates multi-talent Rena Jones on drum programming and synths. In 1996 Enrico Coniglio participates in several rock and psychedelic bands and since 2001 he started his solo recordings. On the other hand Elisa Marzorati is a classic trained musician. Coniglio delivers abstract soundscapes whilst Marzorati plays beautiful piano notes. [Guillermo Escudero]

THE STAR

Enrico Coniglio teams up with pianist Elisa Marzorati on a record that possesses an elegance reminiscent of artists like Debussy and Sakamoto.The marriage of sampling and looping with classically-influenced piano is made in heaven,although the two styles do separate temporarily during the course of the record.

ARTISTS & BANDS

Ritroviamo Enrico Coniglio che avevamo gia avuto modo di ascoltare con piacere con il suo interessante affresco sulla laguna veneta intitolato Areavirus Topofonie Vol. 1 e già recensito sulle pagine di A&B. Questo nuovo progetto è il risultato dell’incontro e della collaborazione di Enrico con Elisa Marzorati, pianista veneziana di chiara formazione classica. dyanMU è il titolo di questo loro incontro musicale, incontro che si annuncia enigmatico e particolare fin dal nome, ispirato ad una catena montuosa di Venere, ma di più lontana provenienza mitologica cinese; si tratta di un disco tipicamente ambient che mantiene come elemento comune delle 11 composizioni e come filo conduttore una grazie ed una delicatezza sonora, un approccio musicale minimalista e confidenziale in cui il piano di Elisa Marzorati infonde elementi armonici e melodici più lineari e classici all’interno delle strutture elettroniche, ai samples ed ai loop sperimentali di Enrico Coniglio.

Il risultato complessivo, sicuramente interessante, al contrario del dettagliato racconto “geografico” di Areavirus ci trasporta ad una visione più estraniante ed immaginaria, un allontanamanto dalla realtà che ha molto di onirico e sognante. Brani dai tempi lenti e dall’incedere liquido come ad esempio Cableway, Foliage, Bell Ringer o Walking Distance con il piano lento e quieto conduttore ci fornisce una visione più acustica e melodica ed al contempo meno elettronica del medesimo senso di distacco e si alternano a brani in cui è la sperimentazione e la libera improvvisazione elettronica la linea dominante, brani come la lunga Bird Delight, Skip to Exit o Loss, basate quasi interamente sulle sonorità sintetiche di Enrico, regalano sensazioni alienanti e drammatiche, una fuga, un distacco che invita al pensiero ed alla riflessione.

Brushwork rappresenta invece il culmine, il punto di risalto di questo connubbio elettronico-acustico, ottimo brano dal ritmo sincopato e robotico, quasi post-industriale, che si segnala come perfetto punto di incontro, complemento e completamento dei due artisti. Da segnalare anche la partecipazione come guest di Rena Jones talentuosa protagonista della scena elettronica e down-tempo americana e dell’utilizzo in Timepiece di alcuni samples tratti da The Outer Darkness di Robert Fripp. Enrico Coniglio questa volta è forse orientato maggiormente all’aspetto tecnico e sperimentale confermandosi sempre comunque molto abile nel realizzare atmosfere e suscitare sensazioni dal forte coinvolgimento emotivo, ambientazioni minimali ed astratte, suggestive ed evocative a cui Elisa Marzorati contribuisce in modo determinante regalando un tocco più classico, melodico ed acustico alla componente elettronica.

TEXTURA

Enrico Coniglio’s decision to collaborate with pianist Elisa Marzorati for his second Psychonavigation album is an inspired move which pays off handsomely. The two initiated the project in the summer of 2006 by merging his sampling, filtering, and looping techniques and electronic soundscaping style with her elegant etudes. The two are heard together in many pieces but also in solo settings. Representative of the paired pieces, “Brushwork” accompanies dancing piano notes with a lightly galloping percussive rhythm and waves of high- and low-pitched synth tones. In “Mothlight,” Coniglio’s vibrant electronics take center stage with Marzorati providing peripheral enhancements. Ample spaces separate the piano chords in “Cableway,” suggesting the huge expanse traversed by the cable car’s trip, while the droning tones echo resonantly throughout the cavernous open space. Coniglio’s haunted moodscape “Birds Delight” evokes mystery and unease as willowy tones and bass throbs seemingly drift through the corridors of a long-abandoned building. The focus shifts to Marzorati in the lovely “Foliage,” which nurtures a tranquil and dreamy mood, and “Bell-Ringer,” whose bright and vibrant piano melodies are in keeping with its title. Of course the “piano & electronics” concept isn’t without precedent—the most obvious example being the collaborations between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai. But a recording like Insen is far different from dyanMU; the former typically juxtaposes Sakamoto’s elegant playing on one side and Nicolai’s pristine electronic beat patterns on the other; though the concluding “Timepiece” does adopt that format to some degree, dyanMU generally blends the two realms more indissolubly. Classically-trained, Mazorati’s approach extends beyond a single style to embrace classical but also jazz-inflected improvisation, and Coniglio’s contribution isn’t primarily rhythm-oriented but instead rooted in atmospheric enhancement and sound design. That the album is partly based on the preludes of Debussy is clearly audible in the solo piano pieces which exude the refined elegance of the composer’s work; at times, however, Marzorati takes that idea and pushes it into the realm of free improvisation, resulting in the jazz-inflected “Walking Distance.” Picture Mazorati playing in a conservatory practice room and open windows allowing Coniglio’s myriad colourations to flood in and envelop the pianist’s performing space and you’ll have a fairly accurate impression of dyanMU sound.