Experience of Space
News: This album features 'VESUVIO', nominated for the best ambient song at the Just Plain Folk Music Awards, 2009. The way I've always experienced music is like an exploration, a voyage to get in touch with those areas of my mind that often are compressed and forced to a back seat by the social pressures and the everyday needs. It has been a struggle and a relief and, like in every voyage, the occasion to meet other minds, other views, mirrors and telescopes. This project came out from the meeting of two restless minds. Giuseppe Natale, a classically trained master of the flute and self taught virtuoso of the guitar, brought in this project his harmonic knowledge, his deep expressiveness on flute, his geometrical and visionary structures on classical guitar, playing percussions as well. I found in him an ideal companion to explore the universe of sounds with my synthesizers and to sing my hopes and my memories with my solo lines on acoustic and electric guitars, inventing and playing percussions as well as programming random sound generators. All this brought to eleven tracks, where many different states of mind are represented. The first track, 'POLYVERSE', is a quiet stratification of layers, a slow trip where different universes, the mantric rithm of formant filters, the icy distances of glass friction samples and the warmth of an e-bowed electric guitar synthesize an harmony between differences, sing the urge for mutual respect and peace. The second track, THEMELESS, came out, magically from improvisation. On a rithmic and granular manipulation of some drum samples Giuseppe improvised a long, structureless and very inspired chord sequence, on which I improvised an overdub of acoustic guitar. The result was a surprise for both of us, the impression is of a full determined composition, a surprising consistency. The third track, MIGRATION, is built on a dialogue between a modular synthesizer generated rythm of a modeled percussion that can be heard in the left channel and a hand played small goat skin drum that I found in the middle east, which can be heard on the right channel, all glued with a mini-shaker groove. On top of this Giuseppe played the detached head of his flute, modulating the long glissandos with his finger to modify the length of the air space in it. I've added the further synth sounds and some more rithmic elements. The idea behind this composition is that despite the fears and the tragedies, without migrations the life and the cultures of humanity wouldn't have evolved and maybe would have been estinguished already. EXPERIENCE OF SPACE, the fourth track is inspired to the flight of the birds or, to say better, to the human dream of flying like the birds, not as realized with the air travelling technologies, but as experienced when we dream, that incredible sensation of watching the whole world from above, to be free to move in every direction without limits, to experience the space as freedom rather than distance. Here the two flute parts at the beginning and at the end express the desire of such an experience while the mid part is that flight, the dream itself. It also gives the name to the whole work. The fith track, ESCAPE, starts with a subterranean, humid, dark ambience, it could be the secret path for a jailbreak or the mental contortions to find some relief from an alienated life, the search for light and fresh air, hiding from patrol helicopters or from the memories of past dreams. It gets more and more anxious, until it gets frantic and desperate, a run to freedom, just to realize that all around there is a deep sea, it's not so easy to escape from the bounds of our responsibilities. Only synthesizers here. The search for freedom is not a frantic chase. It is a patient elaboration, a research of our deep reasons and wishes, the return to our real nature, to our home, a difficult but fruitful voyage, an ODYSSEY. That's the name of the sixth track. Here Giuseppe performs an angular and analytic investigation on classical guitar, on a magmatic bed of emotional difficulties, you can visualize the reason trying to dominate the fears, the guitar that connects the uncertain points of an alienated life to bring a direction, a vision, a boost, that explodes in the second part, where the machine of motivation starts it's movement again, perspectives get wider and emotions sweeter. My electric guitar that was contorted in the first part becomes gentle and determined. The seventh track, NO ANSWERS, brings a lyrical dimension again, the e-bowed electric guitar sings the desire for answers, some vocal senseless phonemes suggest nothing, they sound like something, but the sense is not clear, the consciousness of subjectivity is what makes a mind grow and open. It's sweet to learn that instead of accepting any explanation, we can also resist without, no answers is better than passive acceptation and intellectual conformism. Accepting our limits is the key to knowledge. FALENA is the eighth track, the description of the short but intense life of the moth. Here the classical and the e-bow guitars represent the long and hidden transformation and the sweet flight to the end. Some people prepare their future for ages until they realize that there is no future left. This usually happens because the social pressure doesn't let us taste our life with happiness. One of the nastier weapons of mass domination is the sense of guilt. MEA CULPA, the ninth track, is inspired by those thoughts. I often like to listen to the weirdest radio stations and there are some totally dedicated to religious themes. They usually broadcast long prayers and penitence rituals...well I recorded some of that stuff, and manipulated it heavily. That day Giuseppe came to the studio with some sheets about some harmonic studies on how to build chords containing all the twelve sounds of the equal tempered scale. We built this track mixing those two elements, then I recorded an acoustic guitar played with bottleneck and e-bow to get a sort of sad crying tone. A repetitive and extremely 'medieval' drum pattern played by Giuseppe on the goat skin drum contributed to a really dark, obsessive and hallucinated feeling. In the second part I've added a piano, an upright one, recorded in another location a year before, dimmed the 12 tone chord and brought everything in an intimate, sad and even more desperate loneliness, the sense of guilt. Out of darkness, here comes the religion of life. The Earth has an ANCIENT SKIN, it's so beautiful, but it must be preserved from destruction. We sing our love for the Earth in the tenth track, it's an open and joyful track. Both of us play acoustic guitar, I play the bottleneck melodies and Giuseppe plays tasteful and precise arpeggios. We played some percussions too, you can hear some synths and I also used my voice, heavily filtered through synthesizers and processors. The eleventh track is VESUVIO, that's the Italian name of the big volcano that destroyed Pompei in 79 A.D. It's a sleeping giant with an immense power in standby, nobody knows when is it going to explode again. This last track is dedicated to the special relation that the people living in that area established with the volcano, an ancient fatalism, something archaic and almost impossible to understand out of that context. I modeled an archaic sound on synthesizer, something between a doudouk and a sarangi, that meditates on a bed of a very warm saw pad, some tampoura like echoes, with the intense complicity of a deep and emotional flute. Nominated for the best ambient song at the Just Plain Folk Music Awards, 2009. This work has been a great experience. We started it for the pure need to be what we are, musicians. We decided to dedicate a part of our time to ourselves, everyone of us being involved in professional schedules of sound design or music teaching, all very important parts of our life, but strictly related to immediate needs, professional relations, not totally free. As musicians we felt we needed some open space, an experience of space and freedom, to keep our inner joyful child alive. After many months we found to have made an intense work with some results that gave us a great pleasure, where we could find those parts of our musicianship and those emotions we were looking for. So we decided to publish this work and to distribute it as independents. The EXPERIENCE OF SPACE CD contains our dreams and our explorations, we decided to keep full control on it, to offer something unaltered and as we really felt it. We hope you can enjoy this voyage too. Alfonso D'Amora.