Gino Foti - Rumori: Homage To Luigi Russolo - Volume 1
- Mercurial Nature (4:44)
- Kinetic Dreams (3:13)
- Indomitable Will (4:16)
- Echoes Of The Invisible World (3:00)
- Con Pugno Di Ferro (3:40)
- Excitatio De Civitate (5:25)
- Hadopelagic Zone (3:40)
- Velocita Onnipresente (3:21)
- Along The Permanent Way (3:49)
- A Little Star-Dust Caught (1:10)
- Transient Manifestations (2:08)
- Penelopae Telam Retexens (3:32)
- Xhiamma Pura E Celesti (3:16)
- Linguis Loqui (4:22)
- Black Rainbow (4:14)
- Withering Innocence (2:54)
- Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes (4:10)
Gino Foti - MIDI Bass Guitar, Bass Guitar, MIDI Bass Pedals, Analog & Digital Keyboards, Synthesizers, Digital Samples of Luigi Russolo's Intonarumori (Noise Intoners), Hand Percussion, Vocal Effects
Luigi Russolo - Intonarumori: Arco Enarmonico (Enharmonic Bow), Crepitatore (Crackler), Gorgogliatore (Gurgler), Gracidatore (Croaker), Rombatore (Roarer), Ronzatore (Hummer), Scoppiatore (Burster), Sibilatore (Whistler), Stropicciatore (Rubber), and Ululatore (Howler)
"Today, music, as it becomes continually more complicated, strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound. [...] Every manifestation of our life is accompanied by noise. The noise, therefore, is familiar to our ear, and has the power to conjure up life itself." ~ Luigi Russolo
Inspired by Luigi Russolo's 1913 manifesto L'Arte dei Rumori, or The Art of Noises, this album merges digital samples of his original intonarumori (noise intoners) with traditional instruments and sounds, incorporating the conventional elements of rhythm, melody, and harmony, in structured and improvised settings, across several fusion music genres.
"I believe that the use of noise to make music will continue and increase until we reach a music produced through the aid of electrical instruments which will make available for musical purposes any and all sounds that can be heard." ~ John Cage, The Future of Music
The first track of the entire collection was actually the last to be produced, by design.
The preliminary mixdown was a rhapsody of over two hundred different noises, compiled from old sound effect CDs, public domain files, analog keyboards and synthesizers, and digital samples of all ten intonarumori outlined in the credits, as both one-shots and loops.
After the other fifty compositions were completed, I randomly chose individual sounds and noises from several of them, made new clips by speeding them up through pitch-shifting and/or time-stretching editing tools, and fused them to the prepared submix at random intervals, alluding to the title's description of something (or someone) that is subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood, but lively and quick-witted at the same time.
"Against the run-of-the-mill
Static as it seems
We break the surface tension
With our wild kinetic dreams" ~ Neil Peart, Grand Designs
The bulk of this arrangement is a leftover from the Xenosonic Journeys sessions - which incorporated ambient, electronica, techno, trance, and other EDM-related genres to my world fusion compositions, for the first time.
With several Indian-influenced tracks on that album already, I archived the remaining high-energy, Goa trance-inspired submixes. For this piece, I left most of the original tracks intact, and added fragments of Russolo's arco enarmonico, gracidatore, and ronzatore, altered through several effects.
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
This composition is a fusion of noise and modern classical, partially inspired by Russolo's quote from his L'Arte dei Rumori manifesto: "We Futurists have deeply loved and enjoyed the harmonies of the great masters."
Several modern classical composers were influenced by Futurism, and Russolo's intonarumori, including: George Antheil, Arthur Honegger, Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, and one of my personal favorites, Igor Stravinsky.
Starting with a leftover submix from the Obumbratio sessions influenced by Stravinsky, I merged fragments of several intonarumori, separating both tracks through a panning scheme during post-production.
Echoes Of The Invisible World
"Music is the harmonious voice of creation; an echo of the invisible world." ~ Giuseppe Mazzini
A solo piece performed on MIDI bass guitar triggering a blend of effected samples of Russolo's arco enarmonico and gorgogliatore, with an eclectic mix of conventional string instruments that together sound like an enigmatic fusion of electric violin, musical saw, and theremin.
Inspired by some of Jean-Luc Ponty's solo electric violin compositions.
Con Pugno Di Ferro
"Add the domination of the machine and the victorious reign of Electricity to the great central motive of a musical poem." ~ Francesco Balilla Pratella, Technical Manifesto of Futurist Music
The title translates to "With An Iron Fist", as this track features a bass guitar, played through overdrive and distortion pedals, over percussive, groove-oriented bed tracks made from intonarumori that sound like various industrial metal machinery: grinders, presses, stampers, etc., based around a tonal center of D minor.
Excitatio De Civitate
The Latin title translates to "Awakening Of A City", which is the English version of Risveglio Di Una Città - a featured piece during the first intonarumori music concert held at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milano, Italy, by Luigi Russolo and several of his Futurist friends, on April 21, 1914.
I used digital samples of all eight of the intonarumori performed on the original, as shown in Russolo's hand-written enharmonic notation: crepitatore, gorgogliatore, rombatore, ronzatore, sibilatore, scoppiatore, stropicciatore, and ululatore.
All the samples were heavily processed through effects, played on MIDI bass guitar and keyboard (the latter triggered via MIDI bass pedals) and performed in real-time, on separate tracks.
Both tracks were then mixed in ACID Pro software, with added volume and panning schemes, and the rendered file was mastered in Sound Forge.
Hopefully, I have captured some of the sounds of "the generous, solemn, white breathing of a nocturnal city" that Russolo envisioned.
The title refers to the deepest region of the ocean, lying within oceanic trenches, with the name referring to Hades - the ancient Greek god of the underworld.
Another solo piece, this time an improvisation on a "prepared" bass guitar, inspired by the works of John Cage and Fred Frith, who altered the timbre of their instruments by placing various objects on/near/in between the strings.
In addition to the preparations, I used my hands and an effects chain to generate noises that suggest the dark, deep, mysterious environment of the title.
One of the few tracks, across all three volumes, without any intonarumori.
"Il Tempo e lo Spazio morirono ieri. Noi viviamo già nell'assoluto, poiché abbiamo già creata l'eterna velocità onnipresente." ~ Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
This track was inspired by Russolo's Convegno d'aeroplani e d'automobili, or the "Conference of airplanes and automobiles", another piece performed at the 1914 Futurist music concert in Milano, Italy, which was also featured Marinetti.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti initiated the Futurismo movement in February 1909 by publishing his manifesto in a newspaper, in Bologna, Italy. It praised that century's machine age, including its mobility, speed, and power as virtues.
The arrangement features heavily processed samples of five of Russolo's intonarumori: the arco enarmonico, crepitatore, gracidatore, ronzatore, and ululatore, played on MIDI bass guitar and keyboards. The different sounds were blended and layered, "creating eternal, omnipresent speed", using similar post-production procedures to Excitatio De Civitate.
Along The Permanent Way
"And I have said nothing of the complex noises of a train in motion, which through their changes of rhythm and timbre reveal to an attentive ear not only the speed of the train (perceived by the ear through the more or less hurried beats of the wheels at each joint of track) but also whether the train is moving over a metal or a stone bridge, on an overpass, or on a rising or falling grade." ~ Luigi Russolo
Over the centuries, the sounds made by trains, especially locomotive engines, have been imitated by composers and musicians in several genres, ranging from classical to rhythm & blues.
Inspired by the above quote, that appears in the fourth chapter of his The Art of Noises manifesto, focusing on the noises of nature and life, this is a field recording that I made decades ago, at nearby railroad tracks.
As Russolo points out, several noises are created by both the train (engine, traction motors, brakes, wheels, axle bearings, etc.) and the rails/tracks (surface, joints, corrugation, etc.) that to an attentive ear can sound just as wonderful as a musical composition mimicking those noises.
A Little Star-Dust Caught
"The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched." ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
A miniature keyboard-based piece, featuring resonant pads and FM synthesis, including samples of Russolo's arco enarmonico and gorgogliatore.
"The conception of physical things and phenomena as transient manifestations of an underlying fundamental entity is not only a basic element of quantum field theory, but also a basic element of the Eastern world view [...]" ~ Frithjof Capra, The Tao of Physics
Another Indian-influenced composition leftover from the Xenosonic Journeys sessions.
Again, leaving the groove-centered bed tracks and accompanying synth-based sounds intact, I added lead parts - via MIDI bass guitar - using a blend of effected keyboard sounds, and fragments of Russolo's crepitatore and ronzatore, disguised through various effects.
Penelopae Telam Retexens
"Quid quod eadem illa ars quasi Penelopae telam retexens tollit ad extremum superiora: utrum ea vestra an nostra culpa est?" ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Lucullus
The title translates to "Unraveling The Web Of Penelope", referring to the clever tactics of the wife of Odysseus - from Homer's epic, The Odyssey.
Penelope, the Queen of Ithaca, has proclaimed to her court that she will choose a new husband (as Odysseus is thought to be dead) as soon as she completes a burial shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes.
In full view of the court, she slowly weaves by day, but after everyone has gone to sleep, she unravels almost all of that work, avoiding all potential suitors, and remaining loyal to her husband for years, until they are finally reunited.
This improvised solo bass guitar piece uses a split signal: a direct input, with effects patched via aux send/return; and a MIDI input, triggering digital samples of Russolo's crepitatore and ululatore, that together sound like something (or someone?) unraveling.
Xhiamma Pura E Celesti
"Non è xhiamma ordinaria, no, la mia
è xhiamma chi sul'iu tegnu e rizettu,
xhiamma pura e celesti, ch'ardi 'n mia;
per gran misteriu e cu stupendu effettu." ~ Antonio Veneziano, Celia, No. VII
The title is Sicilian for "A Pure Celestial Flame", from one of my favorite poets, Antonio (Antonello) Veneziano, who briefly studied in my birthplace, Messina.
A proud man, when asked why he preferred to write in Sicilian, as opposed to widely-recognized languages (which he had already done, in both Latin and Italian) his answers ranged from clever humor: "If a man wants to seduce a woman, he must use her mother tongue.", to unapologetic: "Did not Homer, who was Greek, write in Greek; or Horace, who was Roman, write in Latin? And if Petrarch, who is Tuscan, does not resile from writing in Tuscan, why should I be restrained, being a Sicilian, from writing in Sicilian? Must I parrot the languages of others?"
This companion piece to Indomitable Will, is another fusion of noise and modern classical, with the latter again a leftover track from the Obumbratio sessions, but this time a largely improvised soundscape, performed on MIDI bass guitar.
Various intonarumori fragments, via keyboards, and a MIDI bass pedal triggering a drone, centered around a sample of Russolo's ululatore, complete the instrumentation.
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;" ~ Mark 16:17, KJV
The title translates to "Speaking In Tongues", also known as glossolalia in religious/spiritual practices, which is defined as: people vocalizing speech-like sounds or words, lacking any readily comprehended meaning; or a divine language thought to be unknown to the speaker(s).
This arrangement was inspired by the sixth chapter of Luigi Russolo's manifesto L'Arte dei Rumori, that outlines the noises of language (consonants), where he wrote about "... all the noises made [...] by the mouth of man without resorting to speaking or singing."
Besides the vocal effects, I also incorporated a few fragments of Russolo's intonarumori, altered and edited through time-stretching and pitch-shifting software, to give them a similar vocal texture.
The original arrangement is a leftover from the Mystic Gleams sessions, featuring a MIDI bass guitar triggering samples of an effected electric guitar.
To various samples of Russolo's arco enarmonico and ululatore, I added a flanger effect, made a sound bank on my keyboard, and played along with the original MIDI arrangement.
As the title implies, the result is a mystical, transitory piece with its tonal colors hidden and difficult to see; something is being sought after, but impossible to attain - an alluring, ongoing search.
"Innocence is a flower which withers when touched, but blooms not again, though watered with tears." ~ Lucy Hooper
A companion to Indomitable Will, and Xhiamma Pura E Celesti, this composition is another fusion of noise and modern classical, with the latter's main ideas - performed on piano, classical strings, synthesizers, and atmospheric percussion - being leftovers from the Obumbratio sessions.
My preliminary mixdown contained a lot more intonarumori, but they did not sound "right" to me, so I ended up taking a minimalist approach, and remixed it with less noise elements.
Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes
"The newest noises of modern war should not be forgotten." ~ Luigi Russolo
"[...] 9. Noi vogliamo glorificare la guerra - sola igiene del mondo - il militarismo, il patriottismo, il gesto distruttore del libertari, le belle idee per cui si muore e il disprezzo de la donna." ~ Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Manifesto del Futurismo
The finale for this volume was influenced by Marinetti's manifesto, which in turn, inspired the fifth chapter of Russolo's L'Arte dei Rumori, that deals with the noises of war, with the Latin title translated as "the war of all against all".
Both Marinetti and Russolo, through their Futurist movement, idealized warfare as a liberating event, almost celebrating its brutality, with the former declaring that "war is the highest form of modern art", and "the world's only hygiene".
In May 1915, when Italy entered World War I, both men - as well as several of their Futurist friends - were already part of the Battaglione Lombardo Volontari Ciclisti Automobilisti, or the Lombard Battalion of Volunteer Cyclists & Motorists. Deployed near the Italian-Austrian front line, they provided advance reconnaissance, fighting alongside the Alpini - the Italian Army's elite mountain infantry.
Russolo was wounded in December 1917, and spent over a year in various hospitals. Marinetti finished the war inside of a tank, which he referred to as his "mistress", as a company commander. An enthusiastic combatant, he was wounded, decorated for bravery, and participated in the decisive victory at Vittorio Veneto, in October 2018.
After the war, while Marinetti embraced the Fascist movement - at least, in its early years, Russolo was able to see the potential long-term ramifications, and left for Paris, in part to his opposition to the fascist government of Mussolini.
This mosaic includes over a dozen submixes, encompassing re-enactments of American Civil War, Ancient Roman, Norse/Viking, and Scottish clan battles; audio from real war footage, as well as training drills from the US Armed Forces; and one shots and samples of various weapons - all arranged over a bed track of percussionists playing martial beats.
I did manage to include a few fragments of Russolo's intonarumori, altered through effects, as well as edited through time-stretching and pitch-shifting software, to make them sound like war noises.