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Margherita Morgantin

Building on the momentum of some recent killer LPs, Xing's new imprint Xong returns with Margherita Morgantin's “Cosmic Silence 5, fluorescence 4”, yet another gem that rests at a fascinating juncture of experimental music and sound art. Issued in two very limited vinyl editions, and created in collaboration with the composer / musicians Ilaria Lemmo and Beatrice Goldoni, its two deeply poetic and conceptual compositions represent a striking rethinking of what minimalism might be perceived to be.

Since their founding in 2000, the Bologna based cultural platform, Xing, has worked tirelessly in support of objects and events that embrace an interdisciplinary approach toward the issues of contemporary culture. More recently, their record label has expanded this initiative to amplify the voices of artists - both Italian and international - who are deeply engaged in the world of live performativity, a modus that has now been offered even more focus with their latest series, Xong, a vinyl-only collection that explores a geography of artists who present the sonic field as a means to expand their staging of free standing, intimate worlds.

Easily some of the most exciting recordings we’ve heard in recent years, the series’ first three entries - Lydia Mancinelli and Marcello Maloberti’s “Martellate. Scritti Fighi 1990-2020”, Kinkaleri & Jacopo Benassi’s “Once More”, and Luciano Maggiore’s “Very Cheap Non-Human Animal Imitations” - took a deep dive into a creative frontier that rests at the borders of the theatrical, sound art, experimental music, noise, the poetic, and the generatively performative.

Their latest, Margherita Morgantin’s “Cosmic Silence 5, fluorescence 4” - a collaboration with the composer / musicians Ilaria Lemmo and Beatrice Goldoni - draws truly unexpected sound sources into the realm of minimal composition in startling ways. Issued in two very special editions, a standard clear/white marble vinyl, in a limited and numbered edition of 150 copies, and a collector's edition of 15 copies, each accompanied by a limited-edition artwork by Margherita Morgantin: an eV (electronvolt) steel scalimeter with an intervention by the artist. Whichever you prefer, this one shouldn’t be missed.

A visual artists based in Milan, Margherita Morgantin has been active for the last 20 years, building a body of work that spans drawing, installation, photography, and performance, and incorporates elements of linguistics, philosophy, mathematics, and visual culture. Her practice often transforms observations and interpretations of familiar situations into states of dream-like imagination, and has exhibited widely in venues like Serralves Museu de Arte Contemporanea (Porto), Venice Biennale and Ca’ Pesaro – Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna (Venezia), Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Roma), MAXXI L’Aquila, Museion (Bolzano), MAMbo, Xing, Fondazione Furla (Bologna).

Over the course of her career, Morgantin has often centred the act of collaboration with other artists and choreographers within her creative output, but “Cosmic Silence 5, fluorescence 4”, represents her first foray into recorded music, enlisting Ilaria Lemmo and Beatrice Goldoni into the project. Ilaria Lemmo is a Turin based, experimental electronic composer and sound researcher, who explores the possibilities of algorithmic composition in relation and dialogue with the acoustic space and as a listening practice. Based in Venice, Beatrice Goldoni is a musician working in the field of experimental music, devoted to the potential of electronics, psychoacoustics, and environmental recording, guided by the idea that “sound should be thought and experienced outside of visual metaphors”.

Cosmic Silence 5, fluorescence 4” was conceived as two dialogues between Morgantin and Lemmo and Goldoni respectively, and falls within the artist’s larger research project “VIP = Violation of the Pauli exclusion principle (2020-21)”. The first side comprises the work “Cosmic Silence”, which was created with Ilaria Lemmo. Made up with the data from the VIP experiment in progress in the LNGS Gran Sasso Nuclear Physics Laboratories translated into sound spectra that was then processed, the sounds constantly oscillate between origin and destination in an environment of pure suspension. Stunningly beautiful - almost like an echo of space falling into a harmonic drone - it’s remarkably engrossing from its first sounding to the last.

In Lemmo’s words, when describing the work: “The sound processing took place through the writing of algorithms that take a point - or rather a list of values - and generate a sound, a spectrum, which is led to move towards another. A directional sound that constantly fluctuates between the place it comes from and the place it tends towards. An oscillation that also emerges within the sound itself and its contours. The minimum condition to let this movement manifest, was to compose the numerical data, so complex but marked, to leave the possibility of creating a sound environment where the "impossible atoms", whose presence would violate Pauli's Principle of Exclusion, could find a listening space to happen.”

The second side, offered to the composition, “Fluorescence”, builds on a recording of road-noise captured during a solitary journey by Morgantin, travelling from Milan to Porto by car, further intervened with by Goldoni. Remarkable minimal, subtle, and elegant - washes of ambience and untraceable buzzes rises and falling - it represents a striking challenge to the parameters of music itself.

Every step of the way, Xing’s Xong series has issued endless surprising gestures that expand the borders of sound art and experimental sound practice. Margherita Morgantin’s “Cosmic Silence 5, fluorescence 4” is no exception to the rule. Fascinating, deeply engaging, and sonically engrossing, it’s highly recommended for any fan of these territories of sound. Issued in two very special editions, the standard clear/white marble vinyl, in a limited and numbered edition of 150 copies, and a collector's edition of 15 copies, each accompanied by a limited-edition artwork by Margherita Morgantin: an eV (electronvolt) steel scalimeter with an intervention by the artist.