- 01/15/2015 8:33 PM
- ALAN LOCKETT
Francesco Giannico recorded Rome’s metro—lines “B” (Rebibbia-Laurentina) and “B1″ (Bologna-Conca D’Oro). For Metrophony, the results were manipulated and blended with synth and instruments. While a soundscape may naturally be compelling in itself, to rise above humble audio-document, artistic intervention—perhaps a concept, even some pitched material—may assist. Both are provided for by the Italian sonician. Conceptually, the train trip is seen as semiotic of a duality in our post-industrial world: a dynamic soundscape in conflict with a static one wrapped up inside, wherein much—mechanical sounds of trains, doors, and brakes—is already processed recursively, the metro over time having its so-called dynamic rendered static via repetitiona and circularity (see Giannico). The single long-form piece sets out with a chatter of voices and mechanical sounds situating you at subway centre. Then train doors hiss open, guitar strings resound and all slows down, and crowd cacophony cedes to slow release synth tones. To concept add some good old-fashioned musical instruments–guitar pluck, synth swell, and strings in doleful mesh with captured mechanics–and you have the making of Metrophony (and more on it here). Station to station the rhythm of the tracks is assimilated into the music, an oneiric quietude prevailing, periodically sundered by sundry sounds–of braking cars, opening doors, shuffling passengers, announcements…Mensch and Maschine.
Ambient releases indebted conceptually to Music for Airports are legion, but few have been as topographically close as Arrivals and Departures. Musically too Iranian sound sculptor Porya Hatami’s piano, textures and drones are possessed of a similar liminality. As might be expected of an artist with previous attachment to a snail, it’s slow and serene—bespeaking clouds more than turbulence, blue-skied with fluffy cloud drift, glistening wisps and winds. The perspective is the pilot’s, also attending take-off and landing. Arrivals and Departures is travel as a reflective space via a backdrop of shivering timbres—ebb-flow, shimmer-glimmer. Field recordings too—from wind-rush on “Farewell” and “Homecoming” through a din of air traffic control transmissions and engine sounds on “Landing” to a chiming welcome home in “Terminal.” Hatami makes much of a crystalline ambience–of tonal sustains in billows of soft focus thrum, soft reverbed piano and string swoon—and some sparse crackle’n’pop. A long languorous build of layers, delicately distorted pulses in harmonized fog, overtones bleeding one into another, each piece seemingly ever outfolding into an enveloping holistic psycho-active web. TRS offers a deluxe ltd. ed. housed in hand-assembled ‘artified’ sewn booklet full of aeronautic ephemera (runway diagrams, old airport photos, flight instruction manuals, actual pages from old pilot’s logbooks, and vintage aeronautic snapshot too), inside a laser-cut vintage hardback book cover, each inset with an antique glass identification slide, all in a vintage airmail envelope, with vintage pencil in the spine of each booklet. Standard issue, not too shabby either, comes in a full color digipak.
Filed under Reviews