December has been a month of developing and traveling.
I started looking back at the work done in the first months using ambisonics, at the first theoretical notions and the way I applied them to make my first piece Scie Luminosissime, in order to start developing a method, a workflow. So I decided to try the same approach to another piece of mine, originally composed in stereo but of a completely different kind: Chiese Calura e Ossa. I composed this piece for my admission exam, so it was relatively new, and it is a piece that relies heavily on field recorded materials that I took during a trip in Basilicata. That place features very peculiar landscapes, extremely diverse environments, and is socially devastated by an awful administration that leads to a progressive desertification and mass migration, I tried to capture all this with my microphones, recording with very high gain all the micro-activity on the soil and in the nature, the unseen life.
I joined these concepts together with some reflections by Craig Wells and we participated to the first Audio Paper Symposium at IAC in Malmö. We presented our works and hoped that our reflections could have been expressed by the sounds themselves without the aid of additional voice overs and - in our opinion unnecessary - words. Unfortunately the local commission didn’t quite agree with our perspective, and a big discussion about the format aroused.
I must say that despite being criticized, I was really happy that we got to talk and argue about formats and research practices because that brought a lot of other ideas to my mind and I think that I managed to give some personal inputs for further developments of this new format. Also that experience was very valuable for other reasons too, I got to meet a lot of very interesting researchers and musicians that share my path and I hope I will meet again in the future.
Back in Oslo I attended a workshop held by EAU about stereo sound diffusion which also featured a final concert. There I played the stereo version of Chiese Calura e Ossa. It was my first ever stereo diffusion experience and I liked it a lot. I had played with many speakers before, but only multichannel formats (Octophony, WFS, Ambisonics), and playing “old school” diffusion was a totally different experience, where interpretation played an incredibly important role.
I must say that I found my background as an improvisor very useful in that occasion because that experience got me used to listen in a different way and to learn how to quickly respond to real time stimuli. Having a score in addition provides some sort of safety, and being able to always predict what comes next can be useful to plan ahead and develop a performance plan that can be perfected with time.
Then Christmas came, as always I spent it in Italy. There I got the chance to play a concert with two fellow musicians from Apulia: Walter Forestiere and Giovanni Cristino. They are two incredibly interesting improvisers playing respectively drums and keyboards, there I played my little moog with microphones and rubber balloons, what came out was a very intense set in which I felt like excavating my inner body and pouring out melted physicality, muscular and nervous energy that in the past months spent as a composer I didn’t manage to let out.