The Nothing of the title of this third collaborative release from Gianni Lenoci and Franco Degrassi is the supposed nothing of an ostensibly empty audio space. But as 4’33” famously demonstrated, empty audio space is anything but empty.
Degrassi is an acousmatic composer and electroacoustic improviser from Bari, Italy; Lenoci, who died in September, 2019, was a pianist fluent in the languages of jazz and contemporary art music. For this recording, which was made in Lenoci’s hometown of Monopli the summer before his death, Lenoci’s playing is at its most abstract.
As might be imagined, the sound of the room in which the two long improvisations on this two-CD set were recorded plays a prominent role whether indirectly, in adding resonance to Leonoci’s piano and the “sonorous bodies” both he and Degrassi play, or directly, in the form of ambient or incidental sounds. Sounds and environment combine into a holistic, if largely sparse, tissue of the audio traces of events and non-events transpiring in the studio. In addition to the sparingly placed notes and other sounds from the piano, there is the sound of footsteps restlessly moving back and forth in the room, electronic interventions, and vocalizations.