Luciano Maggiore - Willy Nilly

Luciano Maggiore – Willy Nilly

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From Senufo Editions:

“Composed in 2012 as a closed archive of sounds and actions to be recombined in different forms and then presented on various occasions during the first half of 2013. The version for this cd is the almost exact replica of the one diffused during a concert in Nantes, Cable festival, May 2013.

  • The micro-sampled/close-microphoned acoustics are a wonderful contradiction of source and treatment.
    • Is the introduction designed to scare off the uncommitted? What a nails-on-chalkboard combination of high pitches and wavering squeaks.
  • I’m unsure of the methodology of selective playback. Is it akin to putting Francisco Meirino’s Undetected on random? I would guess the archive itself is curated, but to what degree is it representationally de-curated through playback? Is the point to allow the transitions between individual tracks to act as framing devices, irrespective of where they appear?
    • Not random, the second half (in particular) is rather more carefully assembled than that.
      • Part of the difficulty derives from the contradictory terminology in liner notes – ‘diffused’ implies the absence of the performer (ie. an installation), a ‘concert’ would presumably include a performative element while ‘presented’ is simply vague. Sounds more composed after a few listens.
  • There’s that complex multiply-sourced Rinaldi piece as well, _____ on Musica Moderna – listen to that again for comparison (I believe it was an installation). More interested in the editorial process than its purported purpose as documentation of an install. Enough has been said on archiving and it’s less relevant in the case of this album.
    • All’Esedra
      • Rinaldi’s work is great, but not as relevant as I was hoping. I forgot that the recording actually leaves the gallery – maybe heavy-handed, but funny and pretty effective. Maybe that sort of toying with acousmatic method is relevant after all?
  • The section following the rest 12 minutes in is nice, and the nebulously panning lo-fi pink noise grounds it rather pleasingly following the stark and flighty introduction. Also good confluence of the Suikinkutsu-like water drop with, what, a boat hull thumping underwater? At any rate, this section actually is rather humourous. (See the review of Olivia Block’s Karren for some comments on the humour inherent in aqueous sounds.)
    • I believe I first came across those water installations in David Toop’s writings. Unsure if the reference is explicit, but it’s a nice play on the artifice of acousmatic sound.

  • Diverse combination of electronic and acoustic sources. Similar aesthetic and editorial approach with them both across Maggiore‘s oeuvre (barring the early outliers, like L’Aspro).
  • There is a distinctly ‘abstract’ sound, with its somewhat negative connotations, as though undirected or uninformed – a stronger editorial or curatorial voice would be welcomed.
    • Even though it is interesting to hear how the unrelated tracks coincide, conflict and collaborate to produce the finished piece, I’m not sure if it ascends to be more than the sum of its parts.
      • Actually, that lack of voice is only pronounced largely in the opening 1/3rd of the piece. There are more studied dynamic and structural similarities to the various sources across the remainder.
  • Its seemingly arbitrary nature is a hard intuition to disavow provided the title.
    • I suppose I can’t overlook the title – does the tongue-in-cheek approach justify the result? Yes and no…. The name first had humourous connotations for me, but that doesn’t quite characterize the album. Sure there is an oddball variety of samples on display, but no stranger than those on Talladura (reviewed here on Cut and Run). Which was sort of a humourous album – the blatant intervention of recordings by editorial process belied an irreverence that isn’t as obvious here. The rise and fade of samples is often almost mechanically precise.
      • Arbitrary is the wrong word. Instead of working towards an endpoint, or through a composition, it grows from directionless to being increasingly informed by what’s already manifest in the work. Not sure if this is purposeful, or partly a result of the limitations on sources (which would still be purposeful, I guess). As options are eliminated, it becomes more cogent and approachable.
  • The finale is quite exceptional. There is a particular 20 second section where a ping pong ball drop suddenly changes tone for several drops in a row – introducing more emotion to the piece than was present for much of its duration.
    • To be fair, there is the touch of a human hand in other places. It’s unfortunate that this last section stands largely alone in sounding ad hoc; which, given the title and approach, should be a much more common mood elicited by the work to be successful.

  • Certainly my favourite album title of the year. Actually, second. It’s Album Time wins.
  • The dynamic range shifts pretty consistently, both in frequency and amplitude. It is consistently evading me on purposeful/whole listens (as did the structural integrity of acoustic and electronic sound sources), but it comes across more readily with some scrubbing. Always tempting to do that with new music, but while that habit breaks most pieces into phonemes easily labeled and accepted or discarded, it somehow befits this piece – makes for easier referencing and archiving of the various aspects of the work.
    • This diverse dynamic geography helps counteract the rather more straightforward timing and duration of samples.
  • Some excellent overall aesthetics, on par with most of Maggiore’s work, and a wide array of shifting rhythmic signatures.
    • Note that the date of composition predates most of his more recent and recognizable work. Can definitely see the building blocks for Talabalacco etc.
      • Or even the compositional progression from Intersezioni… through this release to the former.
  • Its derivation from a ‘closed archive’ seems worth investigating. In terms of functional limitations on a performance (or composition, or improvisation) how is this any different than DJing, or playing field recordings in a live scenario, or using a single instrument?
    • Investigating the archive itself – or opening it up to exploration by its audience – might add some value to its presentation (though also risks making it mundane).
      • Whatever the case, it’s an interesting document worth hearing.

Get it directly from Senufo Editions.