To check out means to investigate; it also means to die. Both meanings are applicable to this new multimedia offering from Giordano Simoncini and Alessandro Incorvaia, available as a 10″ record plus photographic book. The images stand well on their own, as does the music, but together they cast a shadow of intrigue and as such should be enjoyed in tandem. After a few plays, the images remain in the head, after which the music can be enjoyed as a separate entity.
So let’s get to that music first. Created with solo guitar and reverberation, the two tracks spread serenity over the listener, and operate as a single piece, connected by the melodic chords that close Side A and open Side B. Notes echo and wind, creating layers as they unfold. At times the music touches on the borders of post-rock, especially on “I do not understand lakes” as the notes coalesce into a clear composition marked by a memorable refrain. By “Tides / happiness / excess”, the track is in full bloom, nearly rocking but holding back its cards. The effect is indeed tidal, as the music surges and retreats, teasing the toes with thoughts of a bigger wave.
Water courses through the photography as well, which begins with a simple breakfast of unbuttered bread and ends with a lowered head and a blur, an intimation of endings. More often than not, the images captured are of humble scenes: new stockings, a swimming hole, a beach ball in a backyard pool. Oceans are a common theme, as are footprints and paths, as if to say, we are on a journey. But perhaps metaphors are less important than the overall feel of the photos, which seem both intimate and ambitious. The most effective capture a sense of wonder in the everyday: a snow-covered high rise, a wistful escalator descent. The words seem to bear this out: “smell of paint, saints, dust shapes, window seats, floor leaks, precipices …” There is beauty in the everyday, should we care to check it out.
But everything ends, including us. A hint of bells closes the brief album; a smear of colors ends the book, which includes a poetic “Amen” early on and returns to it late. Simoncini and Incorvaia seem to be suggesting that life is as fleeting as the notes that are born and fly away, the images that at first produce wonder but then begin to fade, the words that break apart from their sentences. Before the inevitable decline, we are invited to take it all in: to check it out before we check out, lest we hasten our own spiritual demise by failing to live mindfully. (Richard Allen)
Flip through the whole book here, clicking on each image to begin.
Purchase here (also available from other retailers).