• Author: Emiliano Romanelli
  • Title: Tabulatura (Volume 1)
  • Catalog: Terziruolo # 03
  • Release: 25th April 2016
  • Media: Digital
  • Duration: 36′00″
  • Edition: Unlimited

Press Reviews →

“[…] the beautiful craftsmanship of these seven pieces – and the way they are structured, so simply and elegantly, so as to allow that craftsmanship to shine – makes Tabulatura a joy to listen to.”

Emiliano Romanelli was a co-founder and member of the multimedia duo Tu m’, drawing on his background in the visual arts. These days he makes sound installations, live performances, and compositions based on generative systems and the perceptual relationships between sound and space. The release of his work in volumes, and the regular, numbered titles of his tracks (e.g. ‘Pattern #25’, ‘000148 of 110889’), imply open generative processes that could be continued indefinitely, as if each album was simply a set of snapshots of a constantly changing system. His new release “Tabulatura (Volume 1)” comprises seven such snapshots of an indeterminate composition for e-bowed acoustic guitar and computer processing, recorded live in Città Sant’Angelo, Italy in 2015.
The pieces appear simple on the surface, but listen closely and there’s a wealth of subtle beauty to be heard: pulsating patterns and low rumble; gently surging and receding dynamics; densely woven tones and wide open spaces. They have structure in the way that diamonds have structure: they are singular objects, time collapsed into a single moment. Each piece folds back under and over itself, a dragon eating its own tail. The music is quite quiet and subdued, even at its most open and radiant (“Pattern #49”), allowing listeners to scrutinise every detail, or just bask in its glow; it doesn’t draw undue attention to itself or prescribe a certain mode of listening. Sometimes a track consists of just a single undulating wave.
There’s little here that hasn’t been heard in some form before, but the beautiful craftsmanship of these seven pieces – and the way they are structured, so simply and elegantly, so as to allow that craftsmanship to shine – makes “Tabulatura” a joy to listen to.
Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio

“[…] Though little of Tabulatura may strike the outside ear as new, the inner will likely not have heard it so before–with indeterminacy’s agency laying the grain of the voice open for fuller listener occupation.”

Indeterminacy is a bit of an odd one. The use of computers to make music is familiar, as is its motivation in the desire of musicians for complete and precise control over their creations; such determinacy drove pioneers like Schaeffer and Stockhausen to commune with electronic oscillators and reel-to-reel tape recorders in the ’50s. Less familiar, though, is the use of technology to hand over authorial control, to ride tandem with the random; indeterminacy, recondite though it may be, has had its moments. A particular Mozart composition, for example, let the dice decide which of a number of possible one-measure fragments would follow for each measure. More obviously, experimental composers of the ’50s/60s developed a music of chance in which random decisions played key roles in almost every compositional decision (e.g. Cage’s Williams Mix (1953)).
Such an aesthetic underlies the work of Emiliano Romanelli, co-founder of multimedia duo, Tu m’ (1998-2011), with releases on LINE (Moonochromes Vol.1), Headz (Fragile Touch Of The Coincidence), and Dekorder (Just One Night). He deals in installations and live performance, his currency generative systems and perceptual relations between sound, light and space. The mode of his work’s release—in volumes with prosaic numbered track titles (“Pattern #25,” “000148 of 110889”)—implies open generative processes that might recur infinitely, as if each were a set of snapshots of an ever-changing system. Tabulatura (Volume 1) is seven such shots of an indeterminate composition for 16 pre-recorded guitar parts and computer with software conceived as a system to generate different electro-acoustic patterns. Recorded live–direct to drive, 2-track, sans DSP or overdub, at Palazzo Castagna, Città Sant’Angelo (ABR), the surface simplicity of its pieces belies a world of subtle detail, revealed on closer listen: of tone and spatial aperture, gentle pulse and rumble, liminal rise-fall swell-relent cadences. Quiet and subdued, with low attention demands and no prescribed listening mode, those of a single undulation elicit focused scrutiny, others little more than a bask in their radiant glow.
Though little of Tabulatura may strike the outside ear as new, the inner will likely not have heard it so before-with indeterminacy’s agency laying the grain of the voice open for fuller listener occupation.
Tabulatura is available on Terziruolo (digital) and Cassauna (cassette).
Alan Lockett for Igloo Magazine

“[…] the near stasis of the music works very well as it retains a beautiful warm glow ... This is an excellent release.”

By now surely the name Tu m' might no longer be well known. From 1998 to 2011 this was an Italian duo of Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli, mainly using laptops in the field of microsound, ambient glitch and such like. They released their music on such as Line, Headz, Dekorder, and ERS and there was always a visual background.
Now one of the two former members releases his second solo work, following '333 Loops (Volume 1)', see Vital Weekly 926. Here we have another 'volume 1', of a work called 'Tabulatura', which is a composition from 2008 that uses 'sixteen pre-recorded guitar parts and computer with custom software. It is conceived as a system to generate different electro-acoustic patterns', which are recorded, live without any overdubs. There are seven 'patterns' as they are called on this cassette.
I usually take a nap around 16:00, which today was when I was playing this particular work, and as usual I had my cassette recorder on 'repeat' and I am not sure how often it repeated, but after the first time I dozed off to this wonderfully mellow pieces of drone music. There is surely something very digital about these drones, but the near stasis of the music works very well as it retains a beautiful warm glow. It is not difficult to see why an older man like myself would be able to dose of while playing this music. Between these seven pieces there is very little difference and one could perhaps argue this is 'boring', but I think it fits the overall release quite well. This is some pretty meditative music. After a couple of cycles and a nap, I need some strong coffee and some wake up music. This is an excellent release.
Frans de Waard for Vital Weekly

“[…] Each of the guitar drones sways like the branches of a tree, shifting slowly through different volume levels and harmonic profiles, veering back and forth over a central point. The movement is enough to gift the album a soft, respiratory warmth – reshaping gently in response to certain directives of the environment – yet doesn’t undermine the perception of Tabulatura as a selection of solid objects, designed to be admired for their sculptural handiwork rather than their navigation through time.”

Romanelli holds his sounds in place and asks me to look closer. Each of the guitar drones sways like the branches of a tree, shifting slowly through different volume levels and harmonic profiles, veering back and forth over a central point. The movement is enough to gift the album a soft, respiratory warmth – reshaping gently in response to certain directives of the environment – yet doesn’t undermine the perception of Tabulatura as a selection of solid objects, designed to be admired for their sculptural handiwork rather than their navigation through time. The longer I spend contemplating these seven pieces (each referred to as a “Pattern”, and each crafted from 16 guitar recordings and custom computer software), the further I dive into the creases between notes, where overtones are massaged out of the rub between two harmonised drones, and pulses emerge in the careful amalgam of frequency.
I seldom hear the guitar in its recognisable form, save for a few moments where the plastic of the e-bow casing scrapes against one the strings, creating a brief metallic buzz within the wall of sound. Other than these jolting reminders of process, I’m left to examine these tones as vibrations dislocated from their source, hovering in the air as if of their own ghostly volition, waiting patiently for me to pick out shapes and secrets within the constellations of pitch. Within “Pattern #25”, I start to hear a dead-air hiss in the upper frequencies, which wanders nonchalantly across top end of my hearing. During the organ-esque resolve of “Pattern #49”, I seem to develop a sort of sonic x-ray: the foreground notes fall back to reveal a set of new, softer frequencies tucked just in behind them, like the raw circuitry powering the major chord that beams at the surface. Persistent listening brings greater understanding, with compositional development germinated not from within the recordings themselves, but from my evolving comprehension of them.
Jack Chuter for ATTN:Magazine

“[…] When used with sensible competence, a guitar stimulated by an eBow can generate some among the most mind-enhancing resonances one can fathom. The sum of partials of a given set of strings stretched into an endless line of light definitely helps in an essential process of self-focusing.”

When used with sensible competence, a guitar stimulated by an eBow can generate some among the most mind-enhancing resonances one can fathom. The sum of partials of a given set of strings stretched into an endless line of light definitely helps in an essential process of self-focusing. Tabulatura was entirely devised from this type of source, previously recorded live then multiplied and modified on the computer. Emiliano Romanelli – he of the TU M’ duo with Rossano Polidoro – intelligently chose to let the harmonics speak rather than sticking pretentious theories to the resulting music.
The striking feature of this recording is the firm standing of implicit certainties inside an electroacoustic milieu which, ironically, was born from indetermination. Although we might iron crinkled adjectives such as “wavering”, “droning” and “pulsating”, the truth is that each of the seven tracks is defined by an inborn precision. Things are not surprising, they were not expected to be; after all Romanelli is mostly known for his installations, usually not a field of sudden clashes and jack-in-a-box surprises. These are short fragments of foreverness cut from the cloth of silence, effectively pervasive with just a pinch of silent grieving hidden in a couple of spots. Not always the consequences of randomness translate into chaos: by mixing this quiet invitation to reflection with the whisper of the outside wind amplified by the leaves, this writer managed to give a modicum of direction to an otherwise fairly inconclusive, sad-looking Sunday.
Massimo Ricci for Touching Extremes

“[…] There's a research at a writing level that let the listener apparently disoriented as this release sounds new while it sounds old and this is due to the intention to push the boundaries at the meaning level rather than on the novelty one. It shows a path for further developments and it's worth an attentive listen.”

This release from Emiliano Romanelli, well known as a Tu m', documents a series of sessions performing an indeterminate composition for sixteen pre-recorded guitar loops and computer with custom software. This composition places itself in a path, almost a tradition, to create music using the same musical elements disposed in different ways challenging the notion of music as a written score which produces an invariable result. The musical output is a series of drones whose construction is multifaceted and demanding at aural level.
"Pattern # 45" quietly opens this release and exposes the structure of almost all track: a pivotal drone and the rest to generate resonances and peaks. "Pattern # 25" is based on doublings. "Pattern # 46" is rather short interlude to "Pattern # 22" which shows subtle nuances and a sort of movement in space. "Pattern # 38" tries a tonal movement and sound line an interlude to "Pattern # 49" which is closer, at a writing level, to "Pattern # 22" and the three track could even sound as a single track in three movements. "Pattern # 67" closes this release as a minimal track based on almost inaudible variations from the pivotal drone.
There's a research at a writing level that let the listener apparently disoriented as this release sounds new while it sounds old and this is due to the intention to push the boundaries at the meaning level rather than on the novelty one. It shows a path for further developments and it's worth an attentive listen.
Andrea Piran for Chain D.L.K.