Alessio Ballerini

“…My way is in the sand flowing between the shingle and the dune the summer rain rains on my life on me my life harrying fleeing to its beginning to its end”. – (My way is in the sand flowing – Samuel Beckett)

Hi Alessio, you’ve just released a new album on the Italian netlabel Laverna. Judging by the title, I thought this was going to be a circular loop based album. It’s not as simple as that though, is it?

That’s correct. The work is a concept album, and circular loop based. The music in the downloadable files is the soundtrack from an exhibition “to its beginning to its end” held last year with Chiara Forti, at the gallery Adiacenze, in Bologna. The exhibition was divided into 4 environments, with the music split in 4, one track per room. It represented the cycle of life, from birth to death.

Also, the album has a mathematical construction, in a way, as the four tracks all have precise durations, 10 mins (part I) and 6 mins (part II, III, IV). There are a number of albums structured in a similar way, I’m thinking of Stephan Mathieu’s ‘In a Static Place’, for instance (10:00 – 10:00 – 10:00 – 20:00 – 10:00). Is that a way of setting yourself parameters in order to determine the unfolding of loops and patterns independently from any preplanned idea?

Exactly, the music is designed to co-exist in time and space with the different tracks complementing each other. Since the loops are of different durations, though, a continuously evolving melody can be experienced throughout the gallery space. There was a single leitmotiv, but mathematics dictated the changing nature of the piece. Also, the installation is different from the download version since the sound for the installation was quadraphonic for each room, whereas the download is obviously stereo. Furthermore, in the first room there was an extra sound conceived to be inserted into the trunk of a tree. This sound, though, does not appear on the album.

Once again, field recordings feature heavily in this release, which has a very seasonal feel. Where is ‘To Its Beginning To Its End’ located?

I composed the music thinking that there wasn’t a beginning and an end, but a continuous cycle, a continuous evolution, just as it happens in nature. The music was inspired by a series of photographs by Chiara Forti. The images were taken in the locations where the materials used in the exhibition were found.

The album also makes me think of your collaborative project with Francesco Giannico, ‘Sleephonia’, in terms of texture and mood, which to me feels quite nocturnal but also to Loud Listening with its hissy drones. Are there any points of convergence with these works or is this just coincidental?

I think it’s pure coincidence. It’s the kind of atmosphere I probably search for and which I am most comfortable with. As you say, this atmosphere is nocturnal and melancholic in times of hope. Still, my next album will be different. I guess I am at a defining moment, at a kind of breaking point, I would say. In fact, even if this is my most recent release, the album was actually completed more than a year ago.

You are not new to the world of netlabels. Back in 2010 you released Blanc on Zymogen and last year there was the collaborative project Loud Listening, which came as a free download on Crónica. Is this still a preferable option to Bandcamp?

I think it depends on several factors. For instance, on whether the label is well established and on whether the musician is known. I think that labels that put out physical releases are still perceived to be of a higher quality.

Since the last time we spoke, you have now left Rome and moved to Bologna. How do the two cities compare in terms of their arts and music scene?

I’m still new to the city and I am not in a position to compare the two cities as yet. I would say that Bologna seems less dispersive, though, and there seems to be a more direct relationship with contemporary art. Here in Bologna I have been working with the gallery Adiacenze. After a solo show in January, I have now started collaborating with other artists from the gallery and producing several works of videoart.

‘To Its Beginning To Its End’ is out as a free download on Laverna.

– Gianmarco Del Re for Fluid Radio

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