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Il segno del posto. CARLO GIORDANI
(Green Field Recordings 2011)

Over the past years the sound recording equipment has become more accesible just like it happened in the past with video and photography equipment and with software licensing.

On a sound workshop where I participated last semester in Bogotá I noticed the amusement and fun people had while capturing and editing audio. A few months later some people who weren’t interested on this method of work now are using it as part of their creative processes. They seemed happy to be able to make music without formal musical knowledge and without synthesizers, guitars or drum machines but most important they discovered “the hearing”, they discover the pleasure behind the most simple sounds in their everyday’s life and how those sounds are powerful material for creative and compositional purposes.

The language of visual images has been appropriated by the marketing and design industry. The utilitarian sense and purpose is behind every image we see: We fell exposed to sales and commerce when in front of visual images.

The previous paragraphs try to find why today more people are finding their voice when capturing and editing audio, a subject of current interest addressed by Simon Whetham on this blog on a recent essay.

The practice of composing using sound captures requires for the artist to have a capacity for abstraction, a capacity to differ the casual hearing from the reduced hearing and create in their imagination sound images apart from the actual causality of those sounds.

Il segno del posto (the sign of the place) is a work made with field recordings with little post production. I couldn’t find liner notes for the work and instead found some text on Carlo Giordani’s blog where, after a poor Google translation, I realize he says he is not interested in talking about his capturing / editing process. This statement puzzles me as a reviewer but make a lot of sense as a listener and artist: Sound is so powerful and specific as medium that anything you put to its side, whether text or images, could potentially diminish its perceptual value. This is a subject that I am sure many sound artists have dealt with and Carlo Giordani did it in a very effective way through this statement.

On another regard to Simon Whetham’s essay he also addresses the unsatisfying need  among critics and reviewers of “new material” in the field of field recording based music and sound works. I guess mainstream-like media is being drawn to this kind of works but not all the critics and reviewers are being able to make an reduction and to hear beyond the sounds they listen. Seemingly when this unimaginative reviewers listen to a bird on a composition they listen to all the birds and to one bird simultaneously but they might not be listening to “this” bird and most important they might not be capable to listen to the bird away from the bird himself.

In Il segno del posto the listener moves between familiar and unfamiliar sonorities making him to constantly deal with certainty and uncertainty and this is where this work is the most strong at, depicting a series of perceptual moments linked and differenced through the casual and reduced hearing establishing a tension between them through the timeline. Although Il segno del posto is an eleven-piece work I still conceive it as a single experience that goes across different sites but that somehow creates a narrative line which I depict as one subjective perspective perceiving different objectual moments: when the listener listens to a bird on this release he listens to this bird and he also listens to “the bird” in Carlo Giordani perception; this is another strong achievement of the artist on this release.

Regarding his work  Carlo Giordani writes on his blog:

“I look to extract from everyday life, unexpected and quaint sounds, to produce emotions from the construction of a sonorous landscape that is behind the everyday hidden sounds which we are conditioned to ignore.”

This short paragraph addresses the job of the sound artists when dealing with field recordings based composition. Seems like Carlo Giordani is trying to to make the unheard to be heard but mainly he is trying to generate new perceptions from the everyday experience; his purpose is to subtract the sound object and its perceptual meaning and through acousmatic means potentiate the sensible experience when away from the sound causalities. He clearly succeeded on Il segno del posto where the sound and its perceptual phenomena is effectively addressed and dealt with by the artist and
his artistic means.

-Alan Smithee

Carlo Giordani website
Green Field Recordings website