Many of our readers responded enthusiastically to the Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese music compiled by the Unexplained Sounds Group in 2018. Earlier this year, I reached out to label founder Raffaele Pezzella (Sonolygyst) to discuss his label, his radio show, his solo work, and why he keeps digging for unheard artists.
We had a great chat, discussing his interest in dark ambient, conspiracy theories, and the technical pursuit of sound. I am also really into this playlist, if I don’t say so myself. (You can hear the mix without the interview and vocal fades if you support this project on our Patreon.)
Episode 10: EXPLAINED SOUNDS
Sound Propositions should be available wherever you get your podcasts, so please keep an eye out and subscribe (and rate and review, it helps others who might be interested find us). New episodes will be published every two weeks (more or less). If you are so inclined, one of the rewards for supporting the podcast on Patreon is access to vocal-free versions of the episodes, that is, more traditional mixes, as well as other benefits for higher tiers of support, including custom made mixes, soundscapes, and collages.
SP* at Anchor
Raffaele Pezzella’s Unexplained Sounds Group has at its origins a radio program. As he explains, he was inspired by the level of audience participation with A Duck in a Tree, a long running show on Resonance FM hosted by members of :zoviet*france:. His own playlists solicit audience participation, resulting in an almost real-time feedback of musical selections, and cultivating an enthusiastic base of listeners. Pezzella turned this community towards the label, which focuses mostly on compilations he compiles trawling the depths of the global experimental music interwebs. This has developed into a passion for exploring musical scenes from regions which tend to fall far from the spotlight of even underground media.
Anthologies organized by region often seem to fall into the same trap. If they cater too much to the expectations of the listeners, they become a cliche, or worse, a caricature of the culture they are meant to represent. But without any cohesion uniting the various contributors, what justifies their being grouped together besides an arbitrary geographical coincidence? Unexplained Sounds walks this fine line beautifully with their collection of tracks from a dozen members of Beirut’s experimental music scene. While not aiming to be exhaustive, this anthology nonetheless demonstrates an impressive breadth of styles and unique artistic voices that freely combine influences without apparent constraint
The successful Lebanese collection was followed by Anthology Of Contemporary Music From Africa continent (ACL review). Obviously not even the most pretentious curator could claim to represent an entire continent, and there are still many regions of Africa left unrepresentative. But this is another successful effort to help pique listeners interests, to explore further and dig deeper.
Digging deeper is a recurrant theme in Pezzella’s solo work as Sonologyst, a project steeped in whispers of Secret Societies, extraterrestrial life, and government conspiracies. He is inspired in part by his studies of math and physics, but much more so by the unknown musicians who produced the soundtracks to the golden age of Italian documentary soundtracks of the Seventies. He found more of interest in this expressive music then in the electronic music of Stockhausen or the Italian composers working in Milan (Berio, Nono, etc.) His interest in soundtracks and library music is perhaps not unexpectedly accompanied by a passion for dark ambient music, which is reflected in his imprint Eighth Tower.
September 13th will see the release of Anthology of contemporary music from Middle East, the latest in Unexplained Sounds’ Sound Mapping project. It includes music by artists from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Afghanistan, and Cyprus.
ARTIST – “TITLE” (ALBUM, LABEL, YEAR)
Sonologyst – “Orient Out of Tune” (Phantoms, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2019)
SP Intro (the new objective – “vita activa”  plus film samples)
Jon Hassell & I Magazzini – “Frontiera A Sud-Est” (Sulla Strada, Materiali Sonore, 1995)
Lo-Ki – “Vodun” (Italian experimental underground 015 survey – volume I, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2015)
NUM – “Sound Of Guardians” (Persian Experimental Underground Survey, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2016)
Nur – “Mediterranean” (Anthology Of Contemporary Music From Africa continent, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2019)
:zoviet-france:* – “Nostalgie De La Boue” (Loh Land, Staaltape, 1987)
Simon Balestrazzi – “Persistence of Memory” (The Sky is Full of Kytes, Boring Machines, 2011)
Sonologyst – “Silencers” (Silencers (The Conspiracy Theory Dossiers), Cold Spring, 2015)
Egisto Macchi – “Chambre Anachronique” (Futurissimo, St-Germain Des Prés, 1972)
Demdike Stare x Gruppo di Improvvisazione ‘Nuova Consonanza’ – “Untitled” (Side A excerpt) (The Feed-Back Loop, DDS, 2018)
Moloch Conspiracy – “In the forest” (Baclou, Eighth Tower, 2019)
Brian Eno – “Shadow” (Ambient 4: On Land, EG, 1982)
Piero Umiliani – “Atessa Messianica” (Atmospheres, Omicron, 1975)
Robert Rich – “Particles” (Analog 2020, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2016)
Jad Atoui – “Diving Blue” (Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese music, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2018)
Sonologyst – “Russian freq. 6525 kHz” (Active Noise Area, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2019)
Eryck Abecassis – “Mailles” (Anthology Of Contemporary Music From Africa continent, Unexplained Sounds Group, 2019)
Ennio Morricone – “Memento” (Crime and Dissonance, Ipecac, 2005)
Sound Propositions is written, recorded, mixed, and produced by Joseph Sannicandro.