Andrea Borghi: prepared turntable, electronics
Giacomo Salis: percussion, objects
Paolo Sanna: percussion, objects
Recorded January-February 2020
Released on May 22nd, 2020
Every sound contains bass, mid and treble frequencies, but the number of recordings that actually capture all three components is remarkably small. The Perugia-based Tsss Tapes label adds one to its catalog with this two-part excursion across the delicately blurred boundaries of music and sound.
The quarter hour of material is divided nearly symmetrically, though the listening experience exposes varied and more subtle relationships between form and structure. The first part is all-enveloping, sometimes even claustrophobic, coming out of the early AMM tradition of laminarity or maybe even harkening back to the longform Spontaneous Music Ensemble pieces, though the recording itself focuses heavily on microdetail. It is always gratifying to hear moments coalesce into a narrative, which the first part does more successfully than the second. Recurrences map out a fascinating rhythmic approach mirrored by a nocturnal feel conjuring a transparent but immediate deep-forest soundscape. Each sound is illuminated and razor-sharp, and while this perspective is becoming more common due to technological exploration, it’s always welcome. The sonics unfold in lush but crinkly layers as the musicians achieve a winning unity of purpose yielding only to the triadic alarm about three quarters of the way through. The timbres themselves are exquisitely evocative in their ambiguity. That sense of three players becoming one is less palpable in the second part, though the recording’s radical nature is foregrounded. The identities of obviously “found” sounds are happily obscured, while percussive and electronic atoms burst to the surface and blaze with a quiet intensity that is quickly subsumed by the ever-present subterranean rumblings. Most striking is the occurrence, near the piece’s conclusion, of a rich but transparent soundscape similar to what was heard in the first part, a kind of prequel that brings the whole release into new perspective.
If editing is present, it is judicious. The music never outstays its welcome, but its success is due in no small part to the recording, which sounds as if binaural approaches might be in play at certain points. Especially on headphones, the sense of environment is stunningly immersive, eradicating and preserving notions of boundary to create a three-dimensional hyperreality where impact changes with every audition. This is an excellent edition to what is proving to be a very engaging catalog.
Spontaneous Music Tribune (translated from Polish)
The duo of prepared percussionists – Giacomo Salis and Paolo Sanna (we know each other well!) – meet a musician who adds a bit of an electronic flavor to the spicy sauce of their narrative. It is Andrea Borghi, who is credited in Shakespearean language: prepared turntables & electronics. Their work (also the name of the formation) is called MOT, and includes two short, but very concise improvisations (a total of 24 minutes and several seconds). The recording was made at the beginning of this year.
The hum of water, the sounds of small suction and forcing machines, small traces of phony, which with a delicate ethno feel take on an electroacoustic dimension – this is the three-layer stream of sounds which, without further ado, introduces us to the very center of the improvisation process. The imagination of the recipient seems to be no less than that of the artists, because with a little good will he may get the impression that a small orchestra of sunken gamelans is playing. The stream flowing along the rapid channel of sound is accompanied by a humming and humming percussion layer, which can be associated with Vasco Trilla’s working methods (small, amplified objects dance on the glaze of the snare drum). Around minute 8, the musicians stop for a moment, and then start a new plot of the story – the mantra of rhythmically hitting an object whose sound resembles a vibraphone. At the very end of the improvisation, the rushing water returns and the whole thing successfully reaches the immensity of silence.
The introduction of the second improvisation must certainly have a… hydraulic dimension, as unexpectedly we found ourselves in the middle of a not very large pipe. The filigree sounds of neatly combined synthetics and acoustics build an interesting narrative, in which we even hear some mutated sounds of a wind instrument. Also the scratching, clattering and drone of unknown objects that someone has lost in the vicinity of the electric current source. In the middle of minute 4 there is a significant slowdown – small acoustic sounds, next to the dry smell of post-electronic afterglow. In the second part of the improvisation, the musicians seem to return to the aesthetics they proposed at the beginning of the album. Wet gamelans again, and next to them, scraps of grinding and squeaking sounds, which, while agile repeating, lead the improvisation to a happy ending.
So What Musica
Incessante e profondamente vitale prosegue la ricerca del duo formato da Giacomo Salis e Paolo Sanna, istintiva esplorazione delle potenzialità della materia di rivelarsi corpo risonante, ancora una volta aperta alla collaborazione con un artista che persegue il medesimo scopo percorrendo vie differenti. Quel che scaturisce dal sodalizio con il compositore elettroacustico Andrea Borghi è un incastro forte e coeso che vede fondersi i rispettivi lessici in un unico ribollente magma profondamente suggestivo.
Sempre riconoscibili, seppure sapientemente diluite nel pulsante paesaggio percussivo di Salis e Sanna, le interazioni elettroniche e le vibrazioni estratte dal giradischi preparato del musicista toscano espandono l’ancestrale universo costellato di battiti e sfregamenti amalgamandosi in modo virtuoso. Da tale connubio scaturiscono due intricati percorsi narrativi, diversi per atmosfera e varietà di toni, che soprattutto nel passaggio centrale della prima presentano un’inattesa apertura verso un orizzonte sonico più immediato e armonioso.
Una traiettoria bipartita inizialmente luminosa e cangiante, che vira verso territori più quieti, quasi notturni, nel suo secondo capitolo rinnovando e aggiungendo ulteriori dettagli ad un itinerario sonico sempre più alchemico e stimolante.
Opduvel (translated from Dutch)
Giacomo Salis and Paolo Sanna, from Sardinia, have been a percussion duo for several years. They regularly work with other musicians. In the last few years, the pair’s work has included guitarist Elia Casu (Live Al Nuovo Panaficio), sound artist Jeph Jerman (Kio Ge), percussionist Stanislas Pili (Choke) and guitarist / electronics musician Emanuele Fais (Earthworms). The contribution of a third musician keeps the duo sharp and provides new perspectives.
MOT, recently released on tsss tapes, is also a trio album. Salis and Sanna collaborate on this album with sound artist and electro-acoustic composer Andrea Borghi. His work focuses on the relationship between sound and matter and in that sense his musical concept fits well with that of the two men of Sardinia. Borghi’s work is based on research processes, focused and multidisciplinary, and includes sculptural objects, installations, outdated media and electronics. In his visual work it is striking that the round shape is his main object of interest.
In MOT we hear Borghi on prepared turntable and electronics. You would expect his input to provide a strong electronic impulse in the percussive music of Salis and Sanna, but that turns out to be not entirely true. Electronic sounds are of course audible, but the Italian chooses to subtly adapt his sounds to the percussion sounds of the Sardinian pair. Incidentally, he does not shy away: Borghi’s contribution is essential and can be heard loud and clear.
It is nice to hear how the trio, which has an arsenal of instruments and objects at their disposal, manages to keep the tendency to show off considerably. The playful element is important and Salis and Sanna always know how to make much more of their music than just a trajectory with abstract percussion sounds. The musicality is great and in the collaboration with Borghi the music is original and rhythmically complex, but there is also a melodic aspect that makes the two pieces in MOT very enjoyable to listen to.
The same as with the other editions of Salis and Sanna applies here: without a visual aspect it is often difficult to find out how certain sounds are created. There is a kind of mystery to the music. The first piece opens with sounds that are reminiscent of a natural landscape. The trio produces sounds that are reminiscent of frogs and insects in the open air. Yet the electronic component is also audible. It is an exciting combination of acoustic sounds and the subtle input of Borghi with his prepared turntable and electronics. Percussion does not only mean hitting instruments or objects, there are also preceptible rotating and rolling movements. The turntable provides abrasive sounds. Slowly the association of nature disappears, as the intensity subtly increases and the different sounds interact in an ambient-like manner.
After more than eight minutes, the course is drastically changed. A circular movement and a beaten motif on a singing bowl are now the dominant factors. Borghi squeezes, scrapes and scrapes around it with his turntable. Just as suddenly as the motif arose, it disappears again. Messy sounds remain, like a cooling down after a great effort.
The second piece is – of course – different in shape. The musical color is darker and the music sounds less accessible. A stuttering sound is reminiscent of a reed wind instrument or its mouthpiece. A round object moves constantly but irregularly in a bowl. The interaction is exciting, also in combination with the other, difficult to define sounds. A heavy electronic undertone is added and creates a threat. Ahead, small bells are struck and grinding and sucking tones are heard. The tension continues to increase. The electronics are sometimes delicately woven into the percussive sounds, but the dark undertone sometimes returns as well. In the second piece no sudden change takes place, but the musical journey naturally leads you to new places and atmospheres. It is often a guess as to exactly how the three musicians achieve this, but that is part of the listening experience.
The collaboration with Borghi is a nice addition to the continuous sound research of Salis and Sanna. The abstraction is not taken too far and melodic elements are allowed. It makes MOT an album with challenging, but also just beautiful percussive music. Let the investigation continue …
C’è l’ascolto profondo della terra che respira e un sospiro che si amplifica. Movimenti materici e scampanellamenti sublimi, il fuso del telaio che gira e l’abbraccio del silenzio. Oggetti, percussioni, un piatto preparato ed un filo di elettronica, incontri fortuiti, una porta che canta ad ogni apertura, legni/cocci e scarti che si rianimano, il suono del lavoro e il suono del mondo a riposo, la bellezza del crepuscolo e la viva umidità che si annida negli angoli. Quel che il vuoto frastuono sovrasta, un fermo immagine improvviso e l’immobilità poco prima dell’alba.
Una finestra aperta in una casa vuota e un sasso in caduta, ricordi bambini che sanno di pane bagnato con lo zucchero ed il vento che tutto smuove.
Ci sono Andrea Borghi di VipCancro e l’affiatato Percussion Duo Salis / Sanna, c’è l’umbra Tsss Tapes con cui mi complimento e uno splendido, piccolo capolavoro su nastro. Muovetevi veloce. Questo è un’ordine.