Since its founding in Milan during the early years of the new millennium, Die Schachtel has occupied a singular place in the landscape of experimental music, issuing a carefully curated body of reissues and archival releases by historically significant figures and projects like Christina Kubisch, Luciano Cilio, Marino Zuccheri, Prima Materia, Claudio Rocchi, Lino Capra Vaccina, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Roland Kayn, and numerous others, balanced against bristling contemporary counterparts by the likes of Jim O'Rourke, Giovanni Di Domenico, Nicola Ratti, Luigi Archetti, Valerio Tricoli, etc. In 2019, Die Schachtel launched a new series, Decay Music, once again stitching a bond between the present and the past by making a nod to Michael Nyman’s seminal debut and its place within Brian Eno’s development and creation of early ambient music. Across its four releases, it set out to highlight inspired contemporary experimental efforts in the ambient, ethereal, and emotively abstract, delivering remarkable sounds by Vértice, Stefano Pilia, Sandro Mussida, and Giovanni Di Domenico. Now Decay Music returns with two new instalments, the first of which is “As Long As You Come To My Garden” by Damāvand. Issued by Die Schachtel in a limited, 180g vinyl edition of 300 copies, and housed in a pro-printed inner sleeve and jacket, contained in a silk-screened PVC sleeve, with an accompaning booklet, it should not be missed
“As Long As You Come To My Garden”, the debut offering of Damāvand, was recorded by the duo of Gianluca Ceccarini (electronics, electroacoustic objects, tar) and Alessandro Ciccarelli (electronics, electroacoustic objects, trombone, cornet). Both undercelebrated figures on the Italian scene - Ceccarini is a guitarist, electroacoustic experimentalist, and luthier who specializes in the restoration and construction of stringed early music instruments, who recently issued his first solo album, “Starving Night”, on Laverna and Sarab, while Ciccarelli, on the other hand, is an author and artist working with languages, photography, video, and sound who has issued numerous recordings under the moniker Elnath - they have recently joined forces and gave life to Damāvand.
Drawing on their rich engagement with numerous threads of cultural output, “As Long As You Come To My Garden” is a tribute to the 18th Century Armenian poet and musician, Sayat Nova, drawing its inspiration from his words and Sergei Parajanov’s seminal film about him, “The Color of Pomegranates”, from 1968, which explores his life through a series of episodes, static like paintings that do not tell but show, evoke, and suggest through metaphors, analogies, surrealist flair, dreamlike landscapes, liturgical pauses.
Comprising six individual pieces, the album channels the dreamlike imagery of Parajanov’s film into sheets of sound textures, ambience, and noise, threaded by subtle references to the musical tradition of the Middle East, with Ceccarini and Ciccarelli alternating, without fixed roles, on analog synths, amplified common objects, and a variety of acoustic instruments - tar, trombone, and cornet - all the while weaving in drones, generative elements, and samples from the film, as well as, in two instances, Sayat Nova’s poems recited in Persian by Nahid Rezashateri.
Punctuated by the pulse of shifting, subtle rhythms, evolving across the album’s two sides, sound materials unfold episodically, evoking the visual suggestions staged by Parajanov’s “The Color of Pomegranates”, all the while becoming more mysterious, emotive, and abstract. With this brilliant debut Damāvand present a highly personalised rethinking of the territories of “Fourth World” experimentalism first explored by artists like Jon Hassell, Walter Maioli, and Roberto Musci, recasting it within darker, brooding ambiences.
Immersive and captivating from the first sounding to the last, “As Long As You Come To My Garden” is issued by Die Schachtel in a limited, 180g vinyl edition of 300 copies, housed in a pro-printed inner sleeve and jacket, contained in a silk-screen PVC sleeve, with an accompaning booklet. Like its counterparts in the Decay Series, this is further proof that the future of ambient music is now.