Label: Die Schachtel
Format: Box (LP + Prints + Book + CD)
**. Limited deluxe red-textured box with a laser-cut steel "sickle and hammer" icon on front cover. Includes a clear red vinyl LP, six 30x30cm posters on heavy ivory paper, an insert in English and italian, the 168-pages English book "Armando Gentilucci: The instant Between Two Sounds" plus the archival CD "Selva di pensieri sonanti".** Celebrated inside of Italy, and almost entirely unknown without, the composer, Armando Gentilucci (1939 - 1989), was among the 20th Century’s great advocates of avant-garde and experimental music as a vehicle for social and political change; an artist of profound vision who believed that these acts of human creativity reached toward true freedom. Endowed with a humble temperament that disposed him to champion the music of others over his own, a lack of available recordings of Gentilucci’s work has limited access and awareness of his towering contribution.
In an effort to change the tide, Die Schachtel is honored to present Musica Elettronica, a special boxed edition - featuring a laser-cut steel sickle and hammer icon inspired by the design of Enzo Mari and the Swiss Rationalists, containing a vinyl LP of two previously unreleased works, carefully restored and remastered by Andrea Marutti - Come Qualcosa Palpita nel Fondo and Che Voi Pensiate - recorded by the composer at the height of his political activity, in collaboration with Marino Zuccheri at RAI Studio di Fonologia during 1973 and 1975 respectively. In addition to the LP - pressed on transparent red vinyl - the box includes a special text insert, a 30x30 cm set reproducing seven mid to late seventies posters connected to the social and political concerns held by Gentilucci during this period, and a brand new English edition of the book Armando Gentilucci, The Moment Between Two Sounds, edited by Maria Maddalena Novati, Laura Pronestì, and Marina Vaccarini, that contains extensive texts, rarely seen photographs, scores, letters, and documentary material, as well as CD of the album, Selva di Pensieri Sonanti, originally released by Ricordi in 1995. With its release timed within a period of renewed social and political upheaval and change, not only does Musica Elettronica act as a long overdue illumination of Gentilucci and his work, it represents a possible path forward, harnessing the actions and accomplishments of the past.
Born into a family of musicians in Lecce in 1939, Armando Gentilucci studied under Franco Donatoni and Bruno Bettinelli at the Conservatory of Milan, before beginning a singular career as a composer, teacher, musicologist, critic, and theorist. Imbued with a deep sense of social consciousness, during the 1960s and '70s Gentilucci became an active member of the Italian arm of the Communist Party (PCI), embracing a politically charged vision of the role of the composer and their music - particularly electronic music - as an agent of progressive change within society. While he later softened his position, this theme forms the guiding principles of both his musical compositions, as well as his theoretical texts - notably An Introduction to Electronic Music, published by Feltrinelli in 1972 - produced during this period, placing him at the nexus of a group of composers - including Cornelius Cardew, Hans Werner Henze, Frederic Rzewski, Luigi Nono, and numerous others - who pushed against the political apathy that had permeated avant-garde and experimental music under the dominant influences of figures like Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage.
Until now, the works that Gentilucci composed during this rich and charged period have been almost impossible to encounter in recorded form. Thankfully, due to the recent discovery of master tapes that encounter the composer at work with Marino Zuccheri at RAI Studio di Fonologia, a window into this incredible world has begun to open, rendering alive the ideas that are known to so many through his texts. The two primary works of Musica Elettronica - each taking up a single side of the set’s vinyl LP - are Come Qualcosa Palpita nel Fondo and Che Voi Pensiate, recorded in 1973 and 1975 respectively. Both are remarkably striking, channeling industrial distances and ambience threaded by sparse instrumentation in ways that intervene with the dominant aesthetic perceptions of post-war electronic music with a deeply organic sensibility and profound humanity.
In the first, Come Qualcosa Palpita nel Fondo (How Something Throbs in the Background), a vast and diverse pallet of sonorous material is deployed in swells of ordered chaos, momentarily conceding to interspersed passages of male and female actors reciting short socially-charged speeches pertaining to themes of Labour, Workers’ conditions, Women’s liberation, Mental health, etc., with the work amounting to remarkable alternate vision of the topical and socially real.
Che Voi Pensiate (What You Think), taking up the second side of the LP, is swept by the gravity of the low, ambient rumble of an industrial drone, while the chatter of faint voices enters into battle with the sounds of a frenetic violin, each fighting to keep their head above the tide. Operating on numerous levels, not the least of which are metaphorical - the human struggle to be heard and acknowledged against the gravity of capital - the work carves a rarely imagined middle-ground between territories being explored Frederic Rzewski and Luigi Nono during the same period, furthered by a singular take on electronic process and tone.
Issued by Die Schachtel in a deluxe box edition, beautifully designed by Dinamomilano - featuring a laser-cut steel sickle and hammer icon - in an homage to the graphic design of the period and its close alignment with the ideals of democracy and social concern, Musica Elettronica contains a transparent red vinyl LP, a special text insert, six 30x30 cm posters, a brand-new English edition of the book Armando Gentilucci, The Moment Between Two Sounds and the CD Selva di Pensieri Sonanti.