The latest entry in the Unexplained Sounds Group sound mapping project is a compilation of outside music from Italy. While often synth-driven and a cultural cousin of sorts to Kosmiche and dark ambient, Italy’s post-industrial scene is a more diverse and unique animal. These pieces are influenced less by western rock music and are instead reflective of modern innovations in electronics, noise sculpting, musique concrete, and cinematic composition.
As such, many of these recordings include sound collages of samples, environmental noises, voices, and processed rhythms, as well as more traditional instrumentation. A representative example of this is Daniele Ciullini’s Decoys, which combines recorded conversation, static, and effects riding atop a subtle layer of drones. Another singular recording is The Ancestral from Gianluca Becuzzi. Anyone familiar with Becuzzi’s electric guitar drone experimentations will find much to appreciate here, with walls of distortion accompanying slow melodies, airy processing, and chimes. In contrast, Simon Balestrazzi provides staccato piano and plucked strings along with unconventional percussion and electronic noises, all notable in their sparseness.
Pemmican Redux from Heimito Kunst is a rolling barrage of structured feedback and static. Massimo Olla’s Infinite Loneliness includes percussion resembling that of bowls and bells with drones and free-improvised horn playing. The contribution from UNCODIFIED exhibits harsh electronics with static and jarring shifts in volume. Sonologoyst finishes the album with sää, an oddly quiet exploration of cosmic sounds, drones, and electronics.
A few years back a friend told me that there was a very rich experimental music scene in modern Italy, but that it was largely underground and virtually invisible to those of us in North America. If anything, this compilation shines some much-needed light on these artists and their endeavors. These are weird and beautiful sounds that stretch the definition of music.