Dragon’s Eye Recordings (de6018) | 51’56” | Digital | Unlimited Edition | November 18, 2016
Aqua Matrix is an investigation into the aesthetics of water, a research and artistic experiment about one of the most fundamental elements in nature for its acoustic and physical properties. A few short art residencies took place in Irpinia, a unique land of natural heritage that holds one of the most important reservoirs in Italy. Therefore, water as a thread, being Irpinia the power source and starting point of an extraordinary work of hydraulic engineering, the Apulian Aqueduct, the largest one in Europe, brings water from Irpinia to Apulia. Water as medium, physical matter and dynamic sound, magic and arcane element, spiritual entity, primary and essential source, full of symbolic and archetypical aspects.
Created by five alchemists of sound dealing with the living and vibrant matter of water, Aqua Matrix consists of five compositions: the majestic layerings of Enrico Coniglio which saturate the sonic space with an almost alien density, the powerful spasms of cinematic structures by SEC_ (Mimmo Napoletano), the intimacy and elegance of Fabio Perletta in a tense balance between stillness and break, the multi-form soundscape of Gamino which gives an amorphous sense of architectural space, and the hypnotic upward progression of Attilio Novellino with its magnetic and immersive drones.
Text by Gianni Papa (Flussi Media Arts Festival). Cover by Fabio Perletta. Mastering by SEC_.
Running water must be up there alongside birdsong, passing cars, and church bells as one of the most frequently heard sounds in contemporary field recording. Is there anything new that can be done with such a sound? A group of Italian musicians and sound artists think so, and offer “Aqua Matrix” as evidence: an album consisting of five tracks by five different artists using material recorded in Irpinia, site of one of the most important reservoirs in Italy. The water sounds used are of a more industrial nature than is usually the case, due to the site’s function as a major source of water for the region of Apulia (population approx. 4 million). Still, is there still new sonic territory to explore using these sounds?
To answer this question, the five participating artists use different contrasting techniques. Enrico Coniglio’s piece ‘Acque Lotiche Acque Lentiche’ comes the closest to ‘traditional’ unadorned field recording, but the sounds are still fairly unusual: a dirty spluttering and splattering proves that water can be acoustically rough as well as melodious, while other hissings and gurglings have a sort of metallic ring to them, suggesting a form of industrial architecture rather than mountain streams. SEC_ and Attilio Novellino choose to augment their water sounds with synthesised chords and pulses, while Gamino’s ‘Tuttintorno’ includes a meandering melody that seems aqueous in its very essence, as if composed from filtered recordings of pouring liquid.
The album leans towards more dramatic, energetic representations of water, perhaps reflecting the colossal volumes of the stuff shifted by the Apulian Aqueduct every day. The exception to this is Fabio Perletta’s ‘Moto ?’, but even this piece doesn’t reach the depths of meditative quiet that Perletta is often associated with. Small splashes and crackles, heard very close, are contrasted with distant, echoing clanking and tapping; simple rhythms are made out of scrapes and squeaks. The range of creative approaches heard on “Aqua Matrix” is very broad, but they consistently evoke an aural impression of a place both aqueous and heavily shaped by human intervention — in other words by the sort of industrial-scale water management that is heard much less frequently in phonographic sound art than babbling brooks or scenic lakes. I’m convinced: it turns out there are new ways to creatively investigate the sounds of water after all.
Yann Novak’s Dragon’s Eye Recordings treats us to five experimental, minimal, and sound design pieces by Enrico Coniglio, Gamino, Attilio Novellino, Fabio Perletta, and SEC_. “Aqua Matrix is an investigation into the aesthetics of water, a research and artistic experiment about one of the most fundamental elements in nature for its acoustic and physical properties.” The compilation’s concept is inspired by the artists’ residencies in Irpinia, Italy, where this defining element is used as a power source in Europe’s largest hydraulic aqueduct. The compositions explore various properties of water, “water as a medium, physical matter and dynamic sound, magic and arcane element, spiritual entity, primary and essential source, full of symbolic and archetypical aspects.” This particular release may be a bit more challenging to less trained ears, with field recordings nearly approaching sound art, with elements of micro-static drone and electro-acoustic ambiance. Fans of Chris Watson, BJ Nilsen, Tu M’ and Philip Jeck will nevertheless uncover the true beauty here…
Un’affascinante indagine sull’elemento naturale alla base di ogni forma di vita è il contenuto di “Aqua Matrix”. Pubblicato da Dragon’s Eye Recordings, il disco raccoglie le narrazioni di cinque diversi autori nate da altrettanti brevi residenze artistiche in Irpinia.
Il viaggio comincia dalle essenziali e materiche modulazioni di “Acque Lotiche Acque Lentiche” attraverso cui Enrico Coniglio ci conduce all’interno dell’elemento in un costante passaggio tra la componente dinamica e quella statica in cui esso si presenta. È un fiume che discende dalla fonte riversandosi in placide superfici piatte per riprendere la sua corsa verso la meta finale. Da qui si passa alle dense tessiture cariche di tensione di “A nightmare in Senerchia” di Mimmo Napoletano aka SEC_ che sfociando in convulse e minacciose frequenze colgono il lato più oscuro della preziosa sostanza. Minimale e all’insegna di un solenne mistero è il racconto modellato da Fabio Perletta in “Moto 元“ attraverso distillati suoni flebilmente riverberanti. Trame rarefatte aleggianti in ambientazioni algide costruiscono “Tuttintorno” di Gamino, che perfettamente introduce la conclusiva smaterializzazione del dinamico flusso dronico di “Aqua Matrix” di Attilio Novellino che ripercorre le sensazioni connesse all’oggetto del indagine senza citarlo palesemente.
Cinque differenti interpretazioni che strutturano un universo multiforme e sfaccettato tutto da svelare.