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Best of 2023

Maurizio Nannucci

Sound Anthology (LP, clear vinyl)

Label: Recorthings & Zona Archives

Format: LP, clear vinyl

Genre: Sound Art

In stock

From the celebrated imprint, Recorthings & Zona Archives, comes “Sound Anthology”, the first ever full length dedicated to the output of Maurizio Nannucci. Gathering sixteen pieces created between 1966 and 2013, the collection is an absolute revelation, blurring the boundaries between musique concrète and noise and unveiling one of Italy’s great journeymen of experimental sound practice lingering in our midst.

** Limited edition of 500 copies, clear vinyl ** Born in Florence, Italy, in 1939, since the early 1960s the artist, Maurizio Nannucci, has stood at the vanguard of radical creativity, producing a body of work that spans the fields of photography, video, neon installations, sound installation, artist's books / editions, and Concrete Poetry. Arguably best known outside of Italy among experimental music fans for his efforts as an archivist and radical disseminator of media via his imprints Exit & Exempla (or Exempla & Exit), Recorthings, Recorthings & Zona Archives, Exit & Zona Archives, compiling and issuing seminal works by Robert Lax, Ben Porter & Bob Holman, Dick Higgins, Philip Corner & Carles Santos, as well as the widely celebrated “Poesia Sonora” and “Fluxus Anthology” compilations, Nannucci’s longstanding practice of sound work has remained considerably more elusive. Thankfully, Recorthings & Zona Archives’ latest LP, “Sound Anthology”, takes great strides to bringing roughly half a century of the artist’s work to our ears. Ranging from vocal / text-based works and radical gestures of musique concrète at the forefront of noise, it’s a truly astounding collection that brings much needed attention to one of the most interesting Italian artists of his generation.

Following his training in visual media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and Berlin, Maurizio Nannucci made an unexpected shift, during the 1960s, toward sound practice, attended electronic music courses, and eventually joining the team at Studio di Fonologia Musicale S2FM in Florence, producing electronic and computer music based on random algorithms of the probability, that often incorporated the human voice as part of their investigations. During the 1970s, Nannucci’s sound practice moved toward large scale, site specific sound installations and events, presented in museums, galleries, and public spaces, which ran concurrently with his efforts via various publishing outlets - most often serving as a vehicle for the work of other artists - and Zona Radio, a radio station dedicated to artists' sound work and experimental music, as well as a broader expanded practice that explores the relationship between art, language and image, and between light-colour and space, across the media of neon, photography, video, sound, editions and artist's books.

Sound Anthology”, the first ever full-length collection to focus on Nannucci’s work in sound, comprises sixteen pieces created between 1966 and 2013, and thus giving the broadest possible overview of his output from his earliest gestures, to those created a decade ago. Curated by a fittingly deft and interventionist hand, none are presented chronologically, serving as a subtle means to display how ahead of his time Nannucci has always been. This is immediately apparent via the dialog between the album’s first two works, “Found Sound One”, from 1995, and “Music Number Nine”, created in 1969. Not only do they each feel entirely timeless - both being remarkably abstract concrete works that incorporate disparate noise and the human voice - but they work in perfect harmony with each other.

As the collection progresses, we are treated to no less than nine of Nannucci’s works from the 1960s - drawing heavily from the work incorporating the human voice at Studio di Fonologia Musicale S2FM in Florence - one from the '70s, created just prior to his shift toward larger scale working methods of presentation, one each from the '80s and '90s, and a handful created during the 2000s and 2010s. Ranging from thrilling cut-up collages that blend the lines between sound poetry and concrete music, imbued with humor and rigor alike, to more explicit gestures of abstract noise, wrought from found sound material of often unreachable original source, every step of the way the artist cuts a path that’s ahead of the curve and leaves the listener on the edge of their seat.

Once experienced in its totality, Maurizio Nannucci’s “Sound Anthology" can’t help but leave you wondering how this work has remained out of view and undercelebrated for as long as it has. It’s an absolute revelation, unveiling one of Italy’s great journeymen of experimental sound practice lingering in our midst. Issued by Recorthings & Zona Archives’ on vinyl in a beautiful edition on clear vinyl, this one is as highly recommended as they come.