Under the alias of body/negative, Andy Schiaffino dreams up a fragile form of ambient, where a quiet vocal is splashed with reverb and haunts the air around it, and a blurred melody warbles in a lo-fi atmosphere. Enveloped in the textural honey of tape hiss, Fragments (Oct 23) comes from twenty-two-year-old Andy Schiaffino, a queer, nonbinary artist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer.
Schiaffino was raised in a Catholic, Spanish-speaking immigrant family, initially learning the piano before deviating from the confines and the claustrophobia of traditional classical piano music and taking a left turn into more ambient terrain, utilising field recordings and experimenting with this new, Heaven-sent sound. ‘Catholic Guilt’, in particular, records a personal trauma, inflicted by others or through dogma, and the personal aspect only makes Fragments a more intimate record. Schiaffino uses a negative experience in a positive way, seeming to exorcise pressures and prejudices, and the piano is light enough throughout the album to feel quite innocent, turning to the light over the dark.
Music is Schiaffino’s means of expression and release, the radio signals beaming outwards like field recording from the mind’s eye. The record is smooth sailing, but there are undercurrents of struggle and mental anguish, as the occasional musical interference signals itself through the distorted gaze of guilt and shame, when in reality there is nothing to be ashamed of. At the heart of it, Andy Schiaffino’s music is deeply humane and wonderfully open; an antidote to the modern prevalence of hatred, in whatever mask it chooses to wear.
The lo-fi sound only adds to its hazy appearance, and instead of feeling half-completed, the music is beautiful in its imperfections and slightly drunken pitch-shifts, reminding one of an old tape which has already been played to death, thanks to its attachment with the listener, its resonance, and a love for music. Like a human being, the imperfections make them close to perfect.