Interview of Santi Costanzo (March 2019)
Dear Santi, welcome back to the blog neuguitars.com. In 2016 your amazing “Deeprint” was released for Improvvisatore Improvvisario. In the last year, you have relaesed this “Autocracy Of Deception Vol. 1” the Italian indipendent label Setola di Maiale. Tell us what happened …
Hi Andrea, I’m happy to be back here on neuguitars.com. Autocracy was already in my mind for a long time. In the last period I simply started to realize what I had begun to conceive with Deeprint: a different and related research compared to my first work, as you described in the review of Autocracy, a linguistic and stylistic research first of all. The attempt is always to create and search for new solutions by putting oneself in the game as much as possible, especially without reservations.
Why did you choose Setola di Maiale? Perfect choice, if I shall say…..
I agree with your opinion: Setola is certainly one of the best Italian labels for this record, plus I have been following it for many years. In addition to the choice of productions, therefore the ability of the founder Stefano Giust to apply a policy of openness towards transversal and unconventional music, Setola’s further merit was also to place maximum availability to the musician in phase of publication: I was really followed with a lot of reliability and professionalism, which is not an easy thing.
We had already talked about the distinction between extemporary improvisation and composition, with this record you returned to these issues, but the title “Autocracy Of Deception” also indicates other items…
Without reiterating concepts already expressed in the previous interview, on this record I simply put aside some elements used in Deeprint to be able to use new ones. Perhaps the matrix is similar, surely a more radical approach like that of Autocracy has made everything very different. I prefer to have a somewhat more versatile approach to music: try to draw on new elements for me, maybe unknown until recently, rework them, mix them and bring out something unique.
What do you mean with the words: “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 sounds like a twentieth century’s political-artistic manifesto…
My intent was not to stir up this kind of image, somethinglinked to a political manifesto. In my case, the notes contained in the record that you have reported, simply indicate how much labile is for the listener the process of identifying the improvisational elements used in Autocracy and how the musician intentionally leaves the problem unresolved. For this last reason, in fact, I refer to what was written in your review, specifically when you write: “was that sound born now or is it the result of an elaboration of something that started even before the guitarist embraced his instrument? “. With this question you have succeeded in identifying the central nucleus on which the whole theme of the first volume of Autocracy revolves: no process takes place before I embrace the instrument. All the live electronics come from the guitar anyway, no previous signal procession to hold this instrument is present. There is therefore an imposition (hence the autocracy that is mentioned in the record) of a deliberate displacement to the listening: it’s not important to ask where those certain sounds come from but why they were conceived in that particular way.
What is the function of a moment of crisis? I ask for you, thinking about the times in which we are living …
In my opinion, art in itself, musical and not, needs to return to the function of guiding the sensitization of those who enjoy the “opera” in itself. Listening to banality is demeaning, it doesn’t help the younger to understand the importance of this magnificent art of sounds. We should give music the right value by returning to the taste for listening. This is not an easy thing, which implies a forced replay and listening back. What allows you to get excited, not in a futile and immediate way, but in an elaborated and matured over time. This should be, or at least for me is, the main function of music: educating and raising awareness.
I try to take advantage of your patience and I ask for you about aesthetic themes: Luigi Nono said “Other thoughts, other noises, other sounds, other ideas. When we listen, we often try to find ourselves in others. Finding one’s own mechanisms, system, rationalism, in the other. And this is a completely conservative violence. “… now .. could experimentation free ourselves from the burden of having to remember?
I agree with Nono’s words. Personally I don’t look for myself in what I listen to, I don’t like this kind of process. I prefer to look for myself in what I create, and this last aspect is not always created or influenced by what I have previously heard. Free experimentation should remember how much there is to explore in music. How interesting is research in itself. How objectively it is important, albeit minimally, to contribute so that new foundations can be laid for something else that, over time, others will develop in order to find something new. Free improvisation always reveals infinite horizons, for this reason it has the honor of having to remember how high is the creative process inherent in those who practice it.
I swear this is the last question … I’m fascinated by these words by Cioran: “In life, everything is desire or absence of desire”, I always thought that artists deal with desire and that this is their fervent aspiration to raise their work to the status of a work of art. Do you recognize yourself in these words?
More than desire, in my case, I would talk about necessity. Necessity is not always created by desire in me. In fact, I have never matured the need to elevate my work to a work of art. This last definition would imply a high consideration of my work. Surely I cannot give myself a definition of this kind to my records, but rather those who listen to them. I am a simple craftsman. A person who can’t live without doing what he does.
After Volume 1, can we expect Volume 2?
Absolutely, I can’t wait to start ordering all the material to be able to organize a further dialogue with the listener. I don’t want to anticipate anything, but maybe I could work on a third volume too… Honestly, this type of path alone has totally involved me. Although I have other projects active with excellent musicians, I can’t get away from the idea of being able and having to work alone because it involves mental processes that fascinate me. The additional difficulty arising from the impossibility of relying on the other, is the main reason for the challenge that led me to the creation of the first volume of Autocracy of Deception.