Philip Samartzis & Daniela d’Arielli ~ A Futurist’s Cookbook

Noodles, noodles, such wonderful noodles!  I am getting hungry just looking at Daniela d’Arielli‘s photos, which cover the adventure from field to factory.  And these noodles are not even cooked yet!  There’s a purity in the process when seen from the beginning to the end, rather than the reverse (a box, a list of ingredients).  At the Pollinaria farm of Abruzzo (Central Italy), it’s a way of life.

The album title is taken from Filippo Tomasso’s 1932 manifesto ~ a provocative piece from which Philip Samartzis extracts the wheat while throwing away the chaff.  Writes Samartzis, “A Futurist’s Cookbook is an expression of the exuberant noise and dynamism permeating throughout the countryside.”  It’s a celebration of sounds that might in other contexts be considered noise: the machinery of harvest and processing, blended with the natural sounds of the province.

The field recordings work together in perfect harmony.  There’s a sense of balance between the organic and inorganic, especially apparent in “Mountains,” a chorus of sheep bells with only occasional bleats.  The piece seems like nature, even though we know the sheep didn’t make their own bells.  And in the middle of the field stands the ebullient Samartzis, happy to have found such a beautiful noise.  When the wind arrives along with threshing equipment, it seems less an intrusion than a welcome friend.

The weather has much to do with the harvest.  It’s a slight surprise then to find that the sound of the mill imitates a downpour (grains acting as pebbles of hail) and vice versa.  The overall effect is a yin and yang of sound, an dual expression of respect.  The workers are grateful for nature’s bounty, and use these resources without exploiting them; nature (although fickle) seems to respond in return.  In the appreciation of fertile fields, one can glean echoes of ancient cultures and ancient goddesses, in particular Ceres, from whose name we get cereal.

The factory is one of the cleanest we’ve ever seen.  d’Arielli’s photos restore our faith in our food, and remind us of the good feeling that arrives when we connect the things we eat with people rather than with corporations.  Thanks to Samartzis and d’Arielli, we’ve encountered the sights and sounds behind our next meal.  As for me, I can’t wait to boil some pasta ~ as I wait for the pot to boil, I give thanks for all the people who made it happen, especially for those at the Pollinaria farm.  (Richard Allen)

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