C(h)orde, suoni tra cielo e terra (sounds between earth and sky) is a season of experimental music produced by Lanificio 159 and Snob Production taking place in the highly atmospheric Methodist Church in Rome. Now in its second year, it attracts a number of high profile artists such as Ben Frost, Pan American, Nils Frahm and Tim Hecker. On the 8th of November, it saw the unusual pairing of the Archive of Italian Soundscapes (AIPS) and Vinegar Socks taking to the stage. Highly impressed by Alessio Ballerini and Francesco Giannico live set presented under the AIPS umbrella, which saw them perform their collaborative project Sleephonia, I decided to find out more. Francesco Giannico kindly agreed to answer a few questions...
This was the first time you played your project Sleephonia live. Can you explain the concept behind it?
Sleephonia is an audiovisual alienating work in crescendo, which takes us on a journey through the city of Rome from darkness to daybreak. We recorded both the audio and the video at night while the city was “asleep”. We wanted to give a different point of view of Rome, with no people and no traffic and above all the encompassing deafening silence of concrete.
How do you organise the field recordings and integrate them into the live performance?
During the recording, I concentrated on the audio material while Alessio took care of the film. Then we mixed both elements together adding piano, synth, pad and drone and guitar.
You both play keyboards live, with Alessio adding electric guitar. What is the margin of improvisation during the set?
The live set was prepared in detail, but we allowed for a wide margin of freedom within the different sections we’d planned.
The images depicting Rome from dusk till dawn were mostly taken in and around the Monti district and included shots of the Altare della patria and the Colosseum together with more mundane images of early morning buses and traffic. Aside from the fact that Alessio lives in the area, are there any other specific reasons why you chose to concentrate on this particular neighbourhood?
To begin with, we were going to do a site-specific piece focusing on a location close to the Church of “Chorde.” We soon decided, though, to extend it to the most picturesque areas of the city, in order to include the Vatican, Piazza Venezia, the Gianicolo, Trastevere, the Tiber riverfront, the Roman Forum and Termini Station. All these locations can be seen in the video.
What place does Sleephonia occupy in the activity of the Archivio Italiano Paesaggi Sonori?
Sleephonia is the project that will inaugurate the Oak Music label under the “AIPS” collective. It won’t be just another label, though, rather Oak Music aims to be an “Art-Label”. We will offer not only music but also artistic multimedia releases, both physical and digital. We’ll make available for download digital editions and physical ultra limited editions with hand-drawn artwork and associated works relating to soundscape and contemporary art. High resolution mp3, books, films, videoart, sculptures and more. Sleephonia will be broadcast during performances, gallery installations and will be published via digital download (mp3 releases and videoart). We would like to make it available in better quality than the dvd and then in HD quality via digital download.
C(H)ORDE Live 5 with Vladislav Delay 24.11.2012 | Live 6 with Tim Hecker 30.11.2012 at Chiesa Metodista Rome.