I first started properly exploring the experimental and electroacoustic music scene in Milan back in 2011 when working on the Postcard from Italy series for Fluid Radio. What I found then was an impressive and varied, if somehow disjointed, network of musicians operating on the fringes of the sonic landscape…
Sonic Close-Ups: Milan – Part 1 featuring Alberto Boccardi, Nicola Ratti, Attila Faravelli, Matteo Uggeri, Massimiliano Viel.
Within the space of four years, the whole scene has developed exponentially thanks to new venues and labels opening up, and new promoters. Music festivals, experimental music programmes, record fairs, and theme nights have sprung up in different locations. This whole DIY ethos, born out of a sense of frustration from the lack of institutional investment in cultural initiatives within Milan, has finally paid off. There seems to be more focus and structure and a tighter collaborative spirit, which has helped build up a dedicated audience. It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. O’ the influential art space run by Sara Serighelli and hosting Fabio Carboni’s Soundohm distribution company would have closed in 2013 had it not been for a crowdfunding initiative that helped them straighten out their finances, while Giuseppe Ielasi’s brilliant label Senufo has gone on a permanent break and the intimate electro-acoustic gig series at Attila Faravelli’s ‘The Lift’ has been put on hold after nearing 50 dates.
Sonic Close-Ups: Milan – Part 2 featuring Macao, Sara Serighelli – O’, Fabio Carboni – Die Schachtel, Standards, Lino Capra Vaccina, Haunter Records.
It seemed to be a good time to document the current state of play. The resulting Sonic Close-Up, split in two parts, is not intended as a comprehensive mapping of the scene, nor does it aim to be a ‘who’s who’ of artists operating in Milan. Many voices are indeed missing. Some I wasn’t able to include for logistical reasons, such as those of Lorenzo Senni, Holiday Records, Maurizio Abate, etc. While others, most notably, Enrico Gilardi from S/V/N, and the collective Communion, regrettably ended up on the cutting room floor through a combination of technical issues, time constraints and lack of relevant visuals. Still, with the good people from URSSS filming virtually every noteworthy live set taking place in the city, one can get a broad overview of what is currently happening in this fascinating corner of Italy. – Gianmarco Del-Re