Review of Autocracy Of Deception Vol. 1 by Santi Costanzo, Setola di Maiale, 2018
The Italian guitarist Santi Costanzo had already caught my attention with the excellent “Deeprint” released in 2016 for Improvvisatore Involontario. If Deeprint had been a team work, a record made through a quartet, this new “Autocracy Of Deception Vol. 1” released in 2018 by the always excellent Italian label Setola di Maiale is instead a solo work, the result of an elaborate combination of guitars and effects aimed at multiplying the guitarist’s presence.
I’ have always been got surprised by the so integrated use of effects and electronics, there is a sort of multiplication, of splitting the musician that always leaves me a bit perplexed. There is a sleight of hand, a succession of mirrors, a multiplication of surfaces, a complex Victorian mechanism that is never fully revealed even at its end. Was that sound born now or is it the result of an elaboration of something that started even before the guitarist embraced his instrument?
If Deeprint maintained, despite the wide freedom of expression that the quartet took, a matrix and a jazz structure, this Autocracy Of Deception Vol. 1 moves in completely new territories. I was struck, I admit. It was a surprise, but also that the confirmation of how Santi Costanzo is an innovative musician with a great desire to … not so much to amaze as to create something interesting, again, to work on complex and articulated structures, to generate and try new languages. This feeling is also confirmed by the notes accompanying the CD and by the same title: “The improvisations offered in this very first volume can, thus, be reckoned as a recollection of thoughts of which the production of extemporaneous sound items leads to real compositions. The title stems from the sound illusion that improvised elements and modules can generate in the listeners, but also in those who are personally involved in their own production.”Autocracy”, in terms of imposition brought on by a misleading, yet tangible illusion.”. It almost seems like an excerpt from a political manifesto of the last century. Can Improvisation be used as a tool for political thought? It’is a position that goes beyond the aesthetic basis to enter into the idea that art is not a delegated tool to give answers but to generate questions. Perhaps in the form of an imposition, as Costanzo suggests.
These are not simple solutions, especially in contemporary society where every sense of active participation seems to have been lost, whether it’s about listening to or watching. But I’m sure of one thing: “Autocracy Of Deception Vol. 1” is a great record. We just have to listen, elaborate and try, each of us, our own personal analysis, respecting the intentions expressed by the author. Meanwhile we also wait for Vol. 2.