In collaboration with Milan's based label DIE SCHACHTEL , this project intends to release some recordings which lied for too long in our archives, with the purpose to share them with electronic music lovers. First 2 releases in vinyl (with a beautiful artwork by Bruno Stucchi ) are Microwaves (a project with the Finnish electronic duo Pan Sonic and original compositions by Riccardo Nova, Atli Ingolfsson, Giovanni Verrando and Yan Maresz) and Pranam, that we did in collaboration with Matmos on the music by Giacinto Scelsi.
Both recordings are based on live sets from 2005/2006.
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Michele Palozzo ,ESOTEROS
It would be a clumsy – if not entirely naive – mistake to brush up on the sterile rhetoric of the encounter between “high” and “low”, cultured and popular sphere: when, between 2004 and 2005, the Alter Ego ensemble teamed up with the duos Matmos and Pan Sonic, these had already revealed themselves as composers of superior caliber, to the point of becoming, in the same years, the leaders of the electronic avant-garde. Their collaborative concerts were not, therefore, a specious mashup of acoustic and artificial sounds, but a hot fusion of disruptive energies and artistic visions in total symbiosis, under the banner of mysticism and virulence.
Besides, the intentions and the outcomes distinguish the two projects quite clearly, especially by virtue of the divergent approaches to electronic matter: on the US front, the eclectics, the shape-shifters capable of molding and channeling any source within their liquid, oftentimes playful aesthetics; on the Finnish one, instead, the intransigents, prophets of an absolute rigor aimed at bending external agents to their own intrinsic laws. Curiously, fate was bound to divert their trajectories, entrusting the confrontation with Giacinto Scelsi’s proto-drone ecstasies to Matmos, while Pan Sonic dealt with the ‘bad trips’ of Fausto Romitelli, evoked through pieces by four authors close to him in spirit: Atli Ingólfsson, Yan Maresz, Riccardo Nova and Giovanni Verrando.
Alter Ego + Matmos
Pranam – A(Round) Giacinto Scelsi
The title “Pranam” (a reverential term of Indian origin) identifies two chamber works by Giacinto Scelsi from 1972 and 1973, the first of which was composed in memory of Greek colleague Jani Christou and his wife Sia Choremi, both of whom died in a car accident. The original suite by Alter Ego and Matmos, however, does not retrace those pieces, but intertwines the pages of “Estratti dal Quartetto per archi n.3” (1963), “Ko-Lho” (1966), “Riti: I Funerali di Carlo Magno A.D. 814” (1976) and “Aitsi” (1974), harmonized in an intense, almost tormented meditation based on those trajectories of expressive rapture that have always guided Count Scelsi’s creative adventure.
As sinuous as they are dramatically interrogative, the trails of strings and winds draw essential but constantly changing figures, oscillating between microtonal intervals with extreme control, gravitating around the pulsating nuclei that dot the score and inform its development. When not populating these textures with loops of deconstructed voices and dizzying stereophonic effects, the electronic duo seems to generate a spectre of the instrumental flow, an opaque and impalpable reflection that seems to arise from the cosmic distances of which Scelsi declared himself the chosen medium, pouring over the keys of the Ondiola the energies captured in the course of his trances.
Menacing and lyrical in alternating phases – a chiaroscuro subverted in the space of a few bars –, the second part of Pranam is an essay of formidable symbiosis with and devotion to the transcendent aesthetics of the visionary Maestro: Matmos themselves prove particularly respectful of the atmosphere of profound introspection, making their infiltrations into the harmonic fabric of the ensemble more organic, up to the gradual thinning out of the gestures in single strokes and resonances of ritualistic solemnity; a linear and circular sound, like the graphic symbol with which Scelsi signed his manuscripts, thus indicating the horizon on which looms the vibrant Sun that gives life to all things.
Alter Ego + Pan Sonic
“Composers as virus”, in the name of one of the last great Italian masters: Microwaves is a radical and fiery tribute to the aesthetics of Fausto Romitelli (1963–2004), a postmodern, mercurial pastiche that draws on rock and electronic avant-gardes, bending classical notation to the schizoid climate of the new millennium. A re-foundation of the instrumental language that, not by chance, availed itself of Pan Sonic, some extracts of which were included in his latest multimedia work, “An Index of Metals”, completed just before his untimely death. The involvement of the Finnish duo by the Alter Egoensemble not only responds to the need for a dutiful commemoration of the composer from Gorizia, but also consolidates – in roundabout and eclectic ways – the fruitful bond that the neue musik and techno-based minimalism have found in his enlightened (and hallucinated) oeuvre.
Neatly cadenced in parallel with digital pulsations, or sucked into the vortex of a nervous hyperactivity, the interplay of the Italian group reaches high peaks of executive versatility, smoothly wearing and laying off the stylistic guises of Ingólfsson, Maresz, Nova and Verrando, the distorted polyphony of the copious formal fragmentation that emerged from the ideological fractures of the mid-twentieth century. In the inalienable role of themselves, Pan Sonic proceed to interpose algid rhythmic patterns and noise outings, sometimes with skillful intrusive strategies, other times carving out spaces of autarchic solitude.
Unfolding in myriad declinations, therefore, configures itself the encounter/clash between the “intoned” and “de-tonated” world, between the painful limbs of the decadent progeny and the sparkling glory of the new flesh, a polarity effectively synthesized by Romitelli’s contemporaries and mixed by Alter Ego to produce a roaring and telluric excursus. Microwaves could also constitute an ideal – and variously replicable – paradigm of hypertextual performance, perhaps the only truly plausible kind in a cultural scenario willing to keep alive the innovative drive ardently advocated by the last visionaries of our time.