- Terziruolo # 04 / Snf # 07
- Emiliano Romanelli
- Untitled (9 Patterns)
“[…] there are undertones of organic phenomena by way of its mechanics, like the croaking of toads in a swampy area, the lightest hint of a waterfall in the distance, or the high-pitch of bees or hummingbirds – but this is a mirage, achingly pieced together from tones and frequencies mimicking the natural world.”
These sounds made from only acoustic guitar and cassette players coming from Italian installation artist and minimalist Emiliano Romanelli can only be described, in a word, exquisite. Here he has lain out a series of nine untitled ‘patterns’ each with their own stature and character. They range from slightly abridged to quirky to staring-into-the-headlights drone that came from a foreign place.
His is a sound that takes great pause in observance of how acoustics travel, ascend and fill space. Untitled (9 Patterns) may seem fleeting or laidback at times, as it should, but there are undertones of organic phenomena by way of its mechanics, like the croaking of toads in a swampy area, the lightest hint of a waterfall in the distance, or the high-pitch of bees or hummingbirds – but this is a mirage, achingly pieced together from tones and frequencies mimicking the natural world.
Mind you Romanelli tends to keep his recipe and sources tightly embedded into this otherwise absonant sphere, an environment of tingling reverb and hushed quietude. Recorded live in his home country at the Palazzo Castagna, Città Sant’Angelo, the listener will be riveted to the tiniest of drip effects and warble. This is of the ilk of fellow microsound practitioners Richard Chartier, or projects that stemmed from Cycling ’74 as well as works by Ralph Steinbrüchel – only here there seems to be more attention spent on the frailty (rather than power) of static, hiss, and ambient noise in the processing of its final form.
I’m particularly attracted to track six, Untitled – 4′00″, with its sources emulating a foggy day along the coast, gentle waves and an isolated foghorn. The tones are multi-gray, the atmosphere is chilly and secluded. Gorgeous. In other corners of this recording are ruptured, abstract half chords that become overlapped in the midst of tapeloop play, all done at a snail’s pace with dramatic intensity. In varied succession this sinks and surges within a moderated scope of screened gradations, always keeping sensitive to the most minute of surface degradation and cloistered tonalities.
— TJ Norris, Toneshift
“[…] It has something quite mysterious that I like. It is like being present at some small-scale event, not necessarily a music event that is, and you watch it from a distance; you can't see what is happening, and you hear some faint traces of sound.”
Work by Emiliano Romanelli is quite sparse and I almost wrote: I never heard of him, but then I read the press text and noted that he was a cofounder of Tu m', a group and label dedicated to the fine art of laptop music, albeit at the turn of the century. It turns out I reviewed two of his previous works (Vital Weekly 926 and 1034), which I would think were also in the domain of digital music and his work deals with generative system and "the perceptual relationships between sound and space". This new work bears this subtitle 'music for acoustic guitar and cassette players", and was recorded live between August and September 2018, so I assume 'live' is not necessarily in concert. I would not have thought about a guitar here, to be honest. In the nine pieces, there is nothing that sounds like a guitar. It sounds like hissy field recordings of a very static nature; I thought of modular synthesizers. I was reminded of Richard Francis' work; it had that same, hissy, quiet quality that he also has.
Each of these pieces is minimal work, exploring a few sounds that wander around for a bit and then stop. There is no narrative involved, just a few loops/sounds/longer sketches hovering about. It has something quite mysterious that I like. It is like being present at some small-scale event, not necessarily a music event that is, and you watch it from a distance; you can't see what is happening, and you hear some faint traces of sound. And that's about it; it is enough, however, to keep you listening. At least it would do for me. Oddly all of the pieces have an exact full minute length, 2:00, 3:00 etc., except the third being 4:30 and the last is 5:30; I am sure there is meaning there that I have not yet discovered.
— Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly