Music Reviews

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Artist: Vipcancro (@)
Title: Uno
Format: CD
Label: Lisca Records (@)
The Italian group Vipcancro is comprised of Andrea Borghi - bass; Filippo Ciavoli Cortelli - percussion, tapes; Alberto Picchi - electronics; and Nicola Quiriconi - voice, metal. From what I can tell they've been active since 2008 and have about six or seven releases prior to this one. I've never heard, no heard of them before so this is new to me. 'UNO' was recording between 2015 and 2016 in Venice during the 56th Biennale of International Art and in Pietrasanta at Molize Studio. The best way to describe this in non-music, or maybe even anti-music. I really don't know what the concept is behind this work, but maybe it's an attempt to glorify the mundane. 'UNO' is comprised of two lengthy, and one not so lengthy pieces - "U," "N," and "O," for there is no other reference on the grommeted CD slipcase. Much of the sound generated by this group seems to be field recordings. The first track opens with the chatter of a crowd that goes on for a few minutes and is gradually replaced by a low buzzing hum-drone. Other sounds that emerge seem to indicate some sort of pseudo-mechanical activity, perhaps a cleaning crew or something. There are a few different types of sustained and then oscillated feedback, and perhaps intermittent vacuuming sounds. The undercurrent is all deep drone, nearly subliminal. Other sounds emerge such as scrapes, squeaks and squeals. Minor, subtle electronics are also employed here, and there is a background of ambient conversational voices, content indistinguishable. There's 11:14 of that. The next piece (we'll call it "N") has a discreet low hum running throughout, as if it was recorded on a cheap tape recorder in a closed environment. There are sounds of activity- perhaps small tools and devices wielded manually, perhaps crafting something? The audible low drone-hum occasionally becomes more prominent, but yet distanced as if it emanates from another area. Harmonics emerge in the drone with an unconscious musicality. Voices of little children can be heard in the distance. It almost sounds as if someone is constructing something in their basement! This drone-hum modulates over the course of time as the electronic filters open up. I suppose the theme of this piece could be 'discreet musique concrete workshop' as the foley sounds ought to spark the listener's imagination. (At one point it sounds like someone sorting through a junk bin.) This piece lasts for 12:01. Final track "O" is only 6:20 long. It begins with a muffled, off-kilter, submerged thudding rhythmic loop, and once again, children's voices in the background. The sounds of manual industry are once again present- tapping, clinking, clanking, thrumming...a whole panoply of onomatopoeiac expressions. Now we here something resembling a small engine, and perhaps some droning machine noises associated with it. I'm getting the impression someone is trying to fix something. It all ends with a brief muffled howl. This whole thing took less than 30 minutes. The first time I heard 'UNO' my immediate impression was "what the fuck???" Are these people just messing around with stuff they found in a cellar? Who would ever listen to this? Garbage! Utter rubbish! Then, after a couple more listens I began to find it intriguing in a strange way. This is the music of our lives in a certain respect, and although atonal and arrhythmic has a quality to it which defines us as humans. It is true industrial, and does not purport to be anything else but. There is no glamour, no cleverness, no message, no emotion conveyed here, just pure industry. To that end, it succeeds. I don't think you're going to find any hidden meaning in it or great intellectual concept about it. It's just the sounds of activity combined with electronic drones. If that seems interesting to you, well, here you go.




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