333 Loops (Volume 1)
Emiliano Romanelli is well-known among the Italian ambient electronic scene as a founding member of multimedia collective Tu m’, with whom he worked from 1998 to 2011. Following on from this, and building on his interest in generative processes as a means of creation, he developed an artwork based on 333 sound loops, capable of generating 110889 (3332) discrete musical events. His new release “333 Loops (Volume 1)” is a snapshot of this autopoietic system in action, recorded live at the cloister of Ex Convento dei Cappuccini, Colli del Tronto, Italy.
The piece opens very quietly, gradually developing into a soft synthetic soundscape. So far, so ambient electronic. But then a hollow, wheezy sound is introduced, something like a mouth organ or harmonica, and it transforms the work. The micro-interactions between this timbre and other sounds within the soundscape are a delight to listen to: sometimes melding together, sometimes rubbing against one another with friction or bouncing off one another in syncopated rhythms or pulses. Towards the end a gentle hiss, resembling wind in the trees or waves running across sand, becomes a bath into which the other sounds dissolve.
While I could imagine others feeling that it takes a little while to get going, for me the structure and pacing of “333 Loops (Volume 1)” was just right. I couldn’t hear any evidence of a generative system in play — the rules of the game, so to speak, were not immediately audible, nor did I feel that the music’s aim was to make them so. Rather, this is the sound of an experienced master of ambient music at work: refined and well developed, meditative and enveloping, the piece nonetheless sounds fresh, inventive, even surprising. Those who have accuse ambient music of having run out of new ideas would do well to give “333 Loops” a listen.