Spinning around Stefano Pilia’s “Spiralis Aurea” on #neuguitars #blog #StefanoPilia
Spiralis Aurea | Stefano Pilia | Die Schachtel (bandcamp.com)
I admit. I succumbed to my instinct as a collector, and I did well: Deluxe 2LP edition, limited edition of 250 copies, cover printed with letterpress quality, gold foil insert, elegant booklet. The record design product of the year, surpassing it will be really difficult: Stefano Pilia and the Italian independent record company Die Schachtel have really given their all. “Everything is music,” said John Cage one day. If this were true, this article, this blog would be devoid of purpose right from the start, because the relationships I try to grasp between music, the guitar as an instrument and a technological and cultural medium would then be relationships with everything, in other words. with whatever. John Cage was a skilled creator of aphorisms, but not all of his statements are to be taken too seriously, any more than his cheerful Zen laughs are to be taken seriously. It was Stefano Pilia’s last work, “Spiralis Aurea”, that made me reflect on these aspects, a work very different from his previous ones, if only for the fact that, this time, Pilia chose for himself the role of composer . I believe there is for every instrumentalist, for every musician the moment in which he perceives the physical, structural, cultural and social limits of his own “tool” of work. If you listen carefully to Pilia’s discography, I think you can see the desire of a man aimed at overcoming the physical limits of his instrument. Effects, pedals, electronics, everything becomes legitimate to make the guitar play in a different way, not only from the point of view of the sound, but also of its cultural and social coordinates.
If “everything is music”, then we are in the field of metaphor, which legitimizes a certain use of words, as old as the world, but which I will try to avoid because I don’t think there is any help in listening to this double LP. What does the word “music” in “Spiralis Aurea” mean to me? In this context I think I can call music, and also “Spiralis Aurea”, any sound phenomenon that cannot be directly reduced to everyday language and that presents a certain rhythmic and / or melodic organization.
I chose for “Spiralis Aurea” to adopt the term “music” in the most empirical and broadest possible sense of the term, that is, not as an art but as a practice with multiple aspects ranging from the simple delicate passage of a bow on the string of a violin, to the thundering chord of an organ, from the passage of the fingers on a keyboard of a piano to the plectrum on the strings of an electric guitar, from the interweaving of modulations produced by a quartet for chamber music to the electronic sounds of a sinth. As an art, however, music is perhaps the one that most directly addresses sensitivity and, more than any other, seems to allow the individual to immerse himself in a state of detachment which, at times can be defined ecstatic or to be seized by that transport that the philosophy of ancient Greece called “enthusiasm” and which, involving the whole person as a possession, can in certain cases give rise to forms of almost blind violence. Pilia seems to have carefully studied these hidden possibilities. Music, like poetry, which is not just a game of ideas and images, but also has its own rhythmic and melodic values, is articulated over time and here surely lies its power: it allows a detachment, induces the meditation, to mediation. Pilia plays with melodic cells, combining them, concatenating them in an ever-variable way, rejecting the sensation of repeated listening: very slow melodies, interspersed with carefully measured silences, a Zen painting trend, with scrolls that slowly disappear into the air as they form . These sounds are sometimes so light that they can move in space without any rhythmic support, creating an almost abstract architecture.
“Spiralis Aurea” is immaterial, seraphic music, suspended between heaven and earth, so different from what one usually hears, as to cause a sensation of total alienation and disorientation. But also of perfection, both in form and in execution. Perfection of art; perfection of the artificial, since nothing is less natural than these sounds obtained largely with the typical instruments of classical music which complete the beautiful impression of timelessness caused by this music. All this serves to arouse a sensation of the unusual, to create a world apart by means of music. An abstract, almost geometric character, given by the absence of words. “Spiralis Aurea is singularity, formal perfection, immateriality, non-temporality. It is the expression of being floating, in some way, between essence and existence. Beautiful.