Review of LA CHAMBRE DES JEUX SONORES by Alessandra Novaga, SETOLA DI MAIALE SM2690, 2014
First record for a “new artistic life” by Alessandra Novaga. Why I wrote about a “new life”? Because by some years Alessandra has begun a new exploration around in electrical / improvised / contemporary areas opening her artistic career to new instruments, new sounds and collaborations. After the previous cd made with Spring Duo, always dedicated to contemporary music, but still played with her classical guitar, this ” CHAMBRE DES JEUX SONORES “ opens not only to new sounds, but also to new musical philosophies.
I try, in this review, to point out some possible ways of listening and meditations about these musics.
First meditation: the title of the cd. “La Chambre Des Jeux Sonores” suggests a dimension of play and space exploration, construction of a non-rigid but more free and expressive.
Second meditation: the choice of the music label. Those who follow my blog know my “affection” towards Setola di Maiale, italian independent label whom, thanks to the consistent efforts his founder Stefano Giust, from over twenty-years is devoted to improvisation and the more free and independent musical thoughts. So the choice of Alessandra to produce this work with this label denotes, in my opinion, even the desire to move into areas other than those usually used for the contemporary music of academic excellence, and moving on land over charged by the free edge. Third meditation: listening to the 5 tracks that “built” this record, International Hash Ring by the New Yorker Travis Just, In Memoria by Sandro Mussida, Collaborating Objects by American Paula Matthusen, Erosive Raindrops by Vittorio Zago, Untitled, January by Francesco Gagliardi, denotes not only the use of open structures with the possibility of improvisation by the interpreter but also a more … “material” component in her sound. The sound of the electric guitar is often treated with the use of effects and used in a very different manner from what we are used to listen to in other contexts (rock, jazz, blues) in which the electric guitar has accustomed us. The result is a “transfiguration” of electric sound in an extremely innovative and interesting way. On this record, it goes beyond a “simple” use of the guitar as we are accustomed to, a job that transcends a possible melodic structure with the (musical) instrument used as a (sonic) tool generating sound in a similar manner to what people like Keth Rowe, Fred Frith and Eugene Chaudborne have worked over the last 30 years of free improvisation. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the scores used herein are outside the “normal framework” to move towards visual elements such as images and video aimed at stimulating a different musical gesture on the part of the interpreter, in a “set” swaying more and more towards pure performance.
Maybe all of this is no so “new” as it seems to me to synthesize and build upon the causal randomness of Cage, the irony of Fluxus, the free-thinking improvisational European ‘70s, the New York intelligentsia, the physicality of sound and electrical industry by Milan city (where Alessandra lives), I feel the lack of a new “Opera Aperta” like the one by Umberto Eco who knows how to synthesize and better delineate these new forms … maybe we should ask Giuliana Bruno to focus its semiotic look for a new Atlas of (musical and sound) Emotions.