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Best of 2021

Alter Ego, Pan Sonic, Matmos

Microwaves / Pranam - A(Round) Giacinto Scelsi (2 LP in bundle)

Label: Die Schachtel

Format: LP

Genre: Electronic

Preorder: to be released in mid/late October 2021

We are thrilled to announce an exclusive pre-order campaign for two astounding LPs of previously unreleased archival material from the Italian experimental ensemble Alter Ego, paired with electronic legends Pan Sonic and Matmos, issued in strictly limited editions of 350 copies each by Die Schachtel on black vinyl.

This special bundle includes both the Alter Ego LPs created along with electronic legends Pan Sonic and Matmos to be released by Die Schachtel in mid/late October 2021 and available exclusively at Soundohm as a pre-order:

Alter Ego + Pan Sonic "Microwaves" LP
Alter Ego + Matmos "A(Round) Giacinto Scelsi)" LP

Alter Ego + Pan Sonic "Microwaves" LP

** 350 copies ** Diving into the archives of Alter Ego - the Italian experimental ensemble of Manuel Zurria, Paolo Ravaglia, Aldo Campagnari, Francesco Dillon, Oscar Pizzo, and Eugenio Vatta - Die Schachtel is thrilled to present Microwaves, a never before released body of recordings of works composed by Atli Ingólfsson, Giovanni Verrando, Yan Maresz, and Riccardo Nova, made with Pan Sonic (Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisanen) in 2005. Resting at the outer reaches of avant-garde chamber and electronic music, the LP’s blistering structures, tones, and textures - plowing forward with frenetic energy - remain radical and ahead of their time, more than 15 years after they were first laid to tape.

A modular chamber ensemble with a pointedly anti-academic approach to music, over the course of its activities - running roughly between 1990 and 2010 - Alter Ego developed a devoted following among some of the most forward thinking voices in experimental music, all the while collaborating widely with artists spanning a vast range of practices and disciplines, including Robin RimbaudPhilip JeckMatmosGavin BryarsAndrew HookerWilliam BasinskiDavid MossAlvin CurranTerry Riley, and near countless number of others.

Alter Ego’s diverse activities can be understood as interventions with the disposition toward formality within contemporary chamber music, often pairing themselves with artists working well beyond their own context as a means to develop highly original interpretations of a specific composer’s work. 

Initially conceived with Fausto Romitelli in 2004 before being sidelined by the composer’s untimely passing the following year, Microwaves acts, in part, a remembrance in sound, featuring four works by some of his closest friends, the composers Atli Ingólfsson, Giovanni Verrando, Yan Maresz, and Riccardo Nova. Each composition, Ingólfsson’s Snap, Verrando’s Harmonic Domains #3, Maresz’s Link, and Nova’s Thirteen13x8@Terror Generating Deity, have roots in a pallet of samples and fragments drawn by each composer from existing works by Pan Sonic. Upon completion, these compositions then entered into a collaborative process between Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisanen (Pan Sonic) and Alter Ego (Manuel Zurria, Paolo Ravaglia, Aldo Campagnari, Francesco Dillon, Oscar Pizzo, and Eugenio Vatta), and were performed collectively by both groups during an extensive tour that year.

Distinct and free-standing, while operating as a seamless whole, the four works encountered across the album’s two sides - built from the sounds of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, electronics, and further treatments - present an engrossing intersection between electronic and acoustic sound that diverges from most standing conceptions of electroacoustic music. Each composer’s carefully rendered structures rise and fall within the startling, conversant interplay between the two groups, finding perfect balance - between the frenetic and restrained - in what can only be regarded as one of the most striking and singularly unique expressions of contemporary chamber music realized during the 2000s.

Vast in scope, visionary in concept and artistry, and sonically engrossing, Die Schachtel is thrilled to present these never before heard recordings from the archives of Alter Ego. Microwaves is available on black vinyl, in a limited edition of 350 copies.

Alter Ego + Matmos "A(Round) Giacinto Scelsi)" LP

** 350 copies ** In 2005 Alter Ego invited Matmos, the American duo of Drew DanielMartin Schmidt - acclaimed for a body of visionary albums at the vanguard of electronic process and sampling - to collaborate on a series of interpretations of works by the legendary Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi.

Realized in collaboration with The Fondazione Isabella Scelsi, which holds Giacinto Scelsi’s archives, and performed at the Festival Roma Europa and the Festival Aeterforum during May of 2005, the album’s four works -  Estratti dal Quartetto per archi n.3 (1963), Ko-Lho (1966), Riti: I Funerali di Carlo Magno A.D. 814 (1976), Aitsi (1974) - shift the boundaries of 20th Century chamber music toward markedly new and contemporary terms, incorporating everything from the sounds of the Revox tape machine that Scelsi used to record his own improvisations and processed electronics, to the plastic trumpets used by fans during football matches.

From intertwining, shifting lone-tones that render startling resonances and dissonances, to passages guided by a vast pallet of electronics and flurries of acoustic sounds, joined as a single ensemble, across the two sides of Pranam, Alter Ego and Matmos infuse these four works by Scelsi with humor and playfulness, while retaining all the urgency and rigour with which they were initially composed.

Delicate and meditative, while tightly wound and brooding, Pranam brings the works of Giacinto Scelsi to life in ways that almost no group ever has. Riveting and immersive from start to finish, Die Schachtel is thrilled to present these never before heard recordings from the archives of Alter Ego. Pranam is available on black vinyl, in a limited edition of 350 copies.

Cat. number: DS42/1-DS42/2
Year: 2021

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