The work of Gianmarco del Re first came to our attention via Postcards from Italy, his excellent series of interviews reporting on the Italian experimental music scene for Fluid Radio. He contributed to our mix series with Un Paese Vuol Dire, what I described at the time as an exploration of “the concept of identity linked to that of place by focusing on sound recordings of areas in Italy affected by earthquakes, landslides and man-made environmental disasters, interspersed with music that explores space and meaning in other ways. He combines soundscapes, field-recordings, interviews, segments from TV programs, and even some music drawn from his personal collection of LPs from the ’50s to the ’70s.” Lately, Gianmarco has been producing Sonic Close-Ups, lovely audio-visual vignettes capturing the creative practice of a variety of musicians. Over a dozen have appeared thus far, including Rie Nakajima, Adam Asnan, Scanner, Enrico Malatesta, and Franz Rosati.
This latest installment, however, is really something quite different: an hour-long documentary of the scene in Milan. Milan is unquestionably the most active city for experimental music in Italy. Certainly the scene in Rome has been justifiably praised for its activities in recent years (see Italian Occult Psychedelia), revolving around venues such as Dal Verme in the Pigneto district, the Thalassa festival, No=Fi Recordings,Mai Mai Mai, Heroin in Tahiti, In Zaire, and much else besides. And I’d be remiss not to mention my beloved Naples, home to spots like l’Asilo and Perditempo, and artists such as Sec_, Aspec(t), and others. Around Italy you can find top-notch programming like the Flussi festival or hidden gems in small towns or tucked away in big cities.
But Milan is something else, something odd. It’s not on the coast, or near the coast, like so many other Italian cities, and it doesn’t even have a river. Sure, Leonardo da Vinci himself might have designed the city’s navigli (canals), but its just not the same. The city is flatter, its historic district surrounded by an uneasy a cosmopolitanism, Gothic and Renaissance churches surrounded by modern developments, tall glass and steel buildings. It is a city overrun by capital and fashion and big real-estate developers, but also centri sociali, anarchist squats, and a vibrant underground culture, consisting of dozens of artists, labels, distros, galleries, and a growing number of performance venues, often quite unconventionally so.
Watch Sonic Close-Ups – Milan below, or follow the link to read more about the city and its artists. Buon viaggio. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Sonic Close-Ups: Milan – Part 1 featuring Alberto Boccardi, Nicola Ratti, Attila Faravelli, Matteo Uggeri, Massimiliano Viel.
Sonic Close-Ups: Milan – Part 2 featuring Macao, Sara Serighelli – O’, Fabio Carboni – Die Schachtel, Standards, Lino Capra Vaccina, Haunter Records.