Stories of a fantastic bestiary. The musical cryptozoology of Francesco Massaro & Bestiario on #neuguitars #blog

I confess that I have never heard the term “cryptozoology” before listening to this record. The concept itself is truly fascinating: “cryptozoology” the study of animals whose existence is hypothesized on circumstantial grounds. The hypotheses may concern animals not known by science or the current existence of animals already described, but considered extinct or the presence of known species in an area far from the places where they are attested. If the concept seems arcane to you, just think about the Lochness monster and perhaps things will be clearer to you. I think it can be defined as a pseudoscience whose boundary goes far into literature, myth and the collective imagination. The border becomes even more blurred, as in the case of Francesco Massaro & Bestiario’s CD “Quaderni di zoologia imperfetta”, if music is the medium used as a new possibility.

The title itself refers to Borgesian connections and to a whole literature centered on the “fantastic” genre. A literature that lays its foundations in myth, in particular in the literary one, but not music. I recommend that you do an experiment. Try listening to this album with headphones. You will be surprised several times to raise your eyes and turn around: does that faint sound you just heard come from the CD or has someone just entered your room? Are we sure it was Francesco Massaro’s sax or Mariasole De Pascali’s flute? And how does Adolfo La Volpe’s guitar sound? I don’t recognize him. Michele Ciccimarra’s cupaphon? The references therefore do not seem to be those of Borges, if anything, those of Mark Fischer and his book “The weird and the Eerie” or even more those of David Toop and his “Sinister resonance”.

This music seems to evoke an obsession with the strange. Strange, but not scary. This musical cryptozoology has rather to do with the attraction to the outside, to what is outside our senses, perception, knowledge and common experience. At the same time it’s almost familiar. The familiar seen from a different, external, out of place, usually hidden perspective.

It’s a quiet, quiet music that gives an impression of apparent calm, but in which it’s difficult to understand who is playing what. Yet everything has an order, its own logic, there is a sense of structure where these strange sensations are not produced by the collision with something threatening, but rather by the passage through a fracture between two worlds, from that of “reality” to that of possible, inhabited by unknown species, hitherto unlikely considered. The desire for an improbable musical mimicry. A perfect example of musical philosophy.

Francesco Massaro: baritone sax, electronics, toy piano
Mariasole De Pascali: flute, piccolo, flute in G
Adolfo La Volpe: electric guitar, electronic
Michele Ciccimarra: cupaphon, percussion

Valerio Daniele: electronics in Cor Hydrae

The text and the voice are by Nazim Comunale