AMN Reviews: Daniele Ciullini – Poisoning at Home (Luce Sia)

From his thumbnail biography, Daniele Ciullini proves to have been a presence in overlapping DIY universes since the pre-Internet seventies, evolving his interest in photography into zines, mail art, and ultimately music, self- and collectively-releasing tape cassettes and contributing to various compilations and radio broadcasts. Quiet in the musicplace since the mid-1980s, Ciullini returned to recording in 2011 with his first compact disc and has since kept up a steady pace. 

Poisoning at Home on Swiss label Luce Sia is a suite of eight, pleasingly spine-chilling pieces, churning atmospheres through which vocal samples – ranging from operatic to incomprehensible to William Burroughs – blow in a thin, cold stream. Ciullini loads the air with turbine whirl and static, sculpting drones that call to mind what musician/curator Rob Hayler termed “extraction music,” that throbbing, enveloping, fluctuating rumble reminiscent of the “fuzz and clatter of mechanical fixtures,” whose methodic construction give this music a sense of place, an interior geography.

As the liner notes credit Ciullini with “electric noises” alongside “sampling and electronics,” he may very well have recorded his refrigerator or air-conditioning unit. Either way, these eight pieces do indeed feel grounded, located in new but oddly familiar spaces you cohabit while listening, but which swiftly stir a feeling of unease. The samples threaded into its eerie maelstrom freight Poisoning at Home with uncanny narrative, transforming everyday places into scenes of domestic dread. 

Stephen Fruitman