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After Music From Memory brought overlooked Italian ethno-musicologist Roberto Musci into the contemporary consciousness via an excellent retrospective, Soave step in with a full reissue series. First came 'the complete sessions' of "The Loa Of Music", Musci's debut album from 1984, and now we have 1988 milestone "Urban & Tribal Portraits". A key collaboration with fellow sidereal world traveler Giovanni Venosta, which sees the duo create a sonic ecosystem that is  both aleatory and concrete, ephemeral and durable.
Like much Italian experimental music from that magical decade of the 80s this is not your bog standard fourth world music, marred by the ambiguous aestheticism of ‘unifying’ some not so well defined primitivism of ‘world ethnic styles’ with the futuristic sounds of whatever ‘advanced electronic techniques’ were the platter du jour. Here the 8-bit sounds of the E-Mu Emax is as primitive as the Jews Harp while the electronically treated Pygmy chants turn out to be as futuristic as the multi-timbral capacities of the OB-8. From the funk ostinatos of “El Lamento de Los Ayatollah” where Venosta showcases his straight piano playing to the rarefied queer guitar arpeggios in “Tamatave”, the peaceful ripples in “Dialogue Between a Dreamer and Others”, the playfulness of “Starfish & Kangaroos” or the post-punkish This Heat/Cabaret Voltaire aggression in “The Fear of a Soldier” this is destabilization as praxis, a shifting of the ground. The new cover image, that replaces the ethno patchwork of the original sleeve (beautiful as it was) is indeed more to the point: Sven Hedkin’s photograph of early 20th century Tibetan death masks is at once urban and tribal, surrealist in its uncanniness. 

Not content with an excellent reissue of Italian ethno-experimentalist Roberto Musci this week, Soave also deliver the first official reissue of "Scorie", Tiziano Popoli and Marco Dalpane’s minimal wonder from 1985. Long coveted and hunted by collectors, "Scorie" falls among the strange and indefinible artifacts of Italy’s remarkable avant-garde music scene of the 70’s and 80’s. An emblem of sonic diversity rendered through electronic sound, "Scorie" distils a daunting number of traditions and ideas while sculpting its own world of creative singularity and standing apart from the rest.

While a great many of Italy’s avant-garde and experimental music practitioners began within the spectrums of popular music, slowly pushing into more explicitly ambitious and challenging realms as the years wore on, Tiziano Popoli and Marco Dalpane represent a change in the directional tide. "Scorie" is a part of movement toward, and the incorporation of, popular forms, within avant-garde music which swept across the globe during the 1980’s. As challenging and uncomfortable as it is seductive and inviting, "Scorie" weaves a world without boundary, of collision and harmony. A vision of possible futures, rendered in its present day. A melodic realm, almost entirely constructed through the use of synthesizers, with subtle interventions of electronic rhythm generators, bridging the metronomic territories explored by Terry Riley and Steve Reich and the drifting harmonics of New Age, with the moodiness of New Wave and the adventurous spirit of the avant-garde. 

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: Limited Edition Yellow Vinyl with free CD and 4 page booklet

Riccardo Sinigaglia, with Gabin Dabiré and Walter Maioli, made up one third of Futuro Antico - one of the most important collaborations to emerge from the 1970’s and 80’s Italian avant-garde. The project, whose name literally translates to ancient future, joined traditional sounds and instrumental from around world, with electronic music - the sonic past, present, and future as one. Recorded shortly after the collective’s most prolific period and released in 1986, while more singular and more idiosyncratic, Sinigaglia’s "Riflessi" still features the same concerns at its core. Built from field recording, collaged samples, synthesis, and instrumentation - shifting from hypnotic rhythm to radical and displacing structures, it establishes a remarkable link between ancient and non-western musics and efforts emerging from studios like Groupe de Recherches Musicales. A work of staggering rhythm, texture, beauty, Riflessi builds a world with almost no parallel - imbuing electronic music with touch, tactility, and humanity, while sacrificing none its challenges and intellectual heights. Rattling sonorous wonder, emerging for the first time on any format since its original pressing, before us is a historic moment - a lost piece of the puzzle of the wondrous Italian avant-garde. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Soave step up to the plate with a long overdue reissue of this holy grail of Italy's experimental scene. The work of Futuro Antico's Riccardo Sinigaglia, "Riflessi" sweeps between primal rhythms, twisted tape loops, organic melodies and otherworldly synthworks to deliver a shifting, psychedelic vision of future primitive musics.


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