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For fans of the Italian avant-garde, few names inspire the loyalty and devotion offered to the percussionist and composer Lino Capra Vaccina - a perfect emblem of the country’s extraordinary movement of musical Minimalism. He first gained note as a member of Aktuala, a project which laid the groundwork for a entire generation of practitioners following in their wake - creating a hybrid of rock, avant-garde, and ancient musics, while incorporating a diverse number of sonic traditions from across the globe - African, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc. Vaccina’s career as composer has been marked by two distinct features, an incredibly high bar of quality and ambition, and a tragically slim amount of recorded output. Following his departure from Aktuala, he worked extensively with others - Juri Camisasca, Franco Battiato, etc, and within the short lived super group Telaio Magnetico, but his solo efforts have been slow to emerge, appearing as carefully considered statements which are so remarkable and singular, that they pull the rug from beneath the entire world of experimental approach. In 1978 he released the legendary LP Antico Adagio, and wouldn’t be heard from again until 1992’s equally extraordinary L'Attesa. In the years since, only a tiny handful of recordings have emerged, most recently in the hands of the Italian imprint Dark Companion, who now returns with Metafisiche Del Suono, the latest installment in Vaccina’s astounding canon of work.
Metafisiche Del Suono is elegance and constraint personified - a crown jewel in a remarkable composer’s long career. It is among those rare albums which is defined by its silences and what remains unsaid, as much as it is by interventions of resonance, texture, and tone. Like all of Vaccina’s work, it rests in an undefinable realm, defying definition and category. This is music from a higher plane - the transcendence of art through sound. Largely executed by the composer on a range of instruments - vibraphone, chimes, bells, various percussion, piano, strings, gong, and metallophone, it also features stunning contributions on oboe and English horn by Camillo Mozzoni, psaltery, dulcimer, guitar, and autoharp by Michael Tanner, and viola by Alison Cotton, on a handful of its works, vastly broadening the world of tonal interplay set forth by Vaccina. Across the album’s six compositions, unfolds expanses of ambience - sheets of sound - physic wonders, which, while feeling entirely singular and personal, mange to crystallize a confounding range of human emotion and experience.
An unquestionable a high point with in Vaccina’s long and remarkable career. Metafisiche Del Suono is a reminder of the power which comes with rewards which come with sustained ambition - depths which take decades to explore. Astoundingly beautiful and challenging - a consuming cry from previously unknown realms. These are the towering heights of organized sound - the stuff of dreams, rarely heard. Both the vinyl and CD editions are available in limited editions, and won’t sit around for long. One of the great albums in an incredible year of great albums. Grab it fast before it’s gone for good.