Luminance Ratio is an Italian psychedelic drone supergroup whose sound has consistently evolved over each new release. The four musicians come together to push each other to explore sounds and styles removed from their other endeavors. Inspired by their most recent LP Honey Ant Dreaming (Alt.Vinyl, 2016) they combine their eclectic collective influences into a mix of deep and challenging sororities and changing moods.
The group debuted in 2009 with Like Little Garrisons Besieged, as a trio composed of Eugenio Maggi (Cria Cuervos, Slave Auction), Gianmaria Aprile (Ultraviolet Makes Me Sick, Pipeline, Fratto9under the sky records) and Andrea Ferraris (Airchamber 3, Ur,Ulna, John Russel, Sil Muir). Sometimes a simile for a title feels just right, in this case inspired by Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722). I wrote at the time that “Luminance Ratio…minimizes the contributions of any one artist in favor of a distributed creativity, an amalgamation of their sensibilities that results in something greater than its sum part. Paul Bradley (Twenty Hertz records) contributes a long re-construction at the end, reassembling the material in such a way as to cohere to the material while demonstrating its malleability, and the artistry that goes into a creative mix. Like Little Garrisons Besieged is almost gentle in its unfolding, tranquil in its organization of noise, achieving a likeability and approachability rare for such experimental fare.” An enjoyable departure from the member’s other work, we find the group “sailing in the apparently quiet waters of free-folk, electroacoustics and minimal drones,” as Gianmaria puts it. From 2012-2014 Frattonove and Kinky gabber released three volumes of the “Seven Inch Series”, a series of limited and coloured 7”, in which Luminance Ratio collaborates with different artists and musicians from the electro-acoustic and ambient scene all over the world. This first chapter features a track by the American musician, artist and performer steve roden. The second volume features a track from Australian artist Oren Ambarchi , a song mixing the usual warm frequencies of his guitar with a unique and evocative vocal part. And the final (for the moment) volume featured Cypriot composer Yannis Kyriakides. In September 2013 the Polish label Bocian Records released the REVERIE LP on green and yellow coloured vinyl. In May 2016 the English label Alt.Vinyl released the album Honey Ant Dreaming LP in a very special art-edition (180 gr. clear vinyl, handpulled screen-printed cover). Honey Ant Dreaming is their most refined work to date, sure to appeal to fans of rich guitar drones and deep psychedelic explorations. Listen/purchase at the bottom of this post. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Listen/Download at Soundcloud
Please introduce yourself, your label, and the band.
Gianmaria: fratto9 was born 10 years ago, when I used to play guitar in a post-rock band called Ultraviolet Makes Me Sick and, with some temporary slowdown, I continue even today to release album. Often I release music played from friends or musicians that I have met over the years in my home-recording studio, Argo Lab [Alberto Boccardi, Lawrence English, Maurizio Abate, Wadada Leo Smith & Eco D’Alberi, Rainbow Lorikeet, Peter Brotzmann, and many more].
And some of these friends are involved in the Luminance Ratio project, which includes [myself],sound artist and audio engineer Gianmaria Aprile, as well as Andrea Ferraris, Luca Mauri (I/O, Two Dead Bodies) and Luca Sigurtà (Harshcore) [see LCNL 071] who decided to join this project with the intention of going into new territories, far from their usual sound, putting themselves in service to research a new form of psychedelic and electronic music. The result, as someone had said, is “music can make you levitate, psychically and emotionally, the different ingredients creating a unique, huge, psychedelic stream of consciousness”.
What’s the scene like where you live? Any things you’d like to highlight?
Luminance Ratio: We aren’t in any specific music scene: we like to play in different spaces and concerts, and we really like to play for “new” people.
In Italy there are many interesting scenes, with the same music quality as that English or American, from electroacoustic-improv (in Milan: Nicola Ratti/Matteo Uggeri/Giuseppe Ielasi) to “occulto” /psychedelic scene (Mai , Mai , Mai, Squadra Omega and many others), noise, electronic and industrial scene…
But the chances to survive are very few, unfortunately many of this musical project die within a few years, even because in the last years a lot of Italian music venues have closed, then it’s not easy to play live often as we would like.
Tell us a bit about the mix.
LR: All Luminance Ratio’s members choose 3 songs, plus and introduction and one of our song… so Luca (Mauri) made the mix… it’s simple, but we think that this mix is very representative of our tastes in music, from jazz to hip hop to hardcore to new electrtonics or dub…some from the present and some from the past…
What’s coming up on the horizon for you?
LR: We are now working on the new album, and a new live set…
The approach at the music that we would like for the new album it’s different: less impro or drone-like but more defined and organized.
We are working on some ideas that don’t come from improvisation sessions, but more organized and “written”, a little closer to a song form.
Gianmaria, can you tell us more about your own personal record collection?
GM: I was very lucky to inherit a lot of vinyl records (about 4000) from my uncle (Al Aprile-RIP) . In this collection there is a very heterogeneous music, from the psychedelic era to the first ray of ’90, passing through new-wave, post punk etc.
There is some very interesting a rare vinyls, although nowadays with a lot of reprints that play better than the original and with the involved of liquid-music (mp3/streaming), I don’t know what is the real meaning of collecting music…however I still buy vinyl 🙂
Carla Dal Forno – “what you gonna do now?”
Sinkane – “hold tigh (peaking lights dub mix)”
Caroline Loeb – “C’ est l’ ouate”
Luminance Ratio – “Honey Ant Dreaming”
Chris Abrahams – “Liter Cold Laptop”
Andy Stott – “New Romantic”