Monday, March 28, 2005


The return of Luigi Nono: mp3 blog coincidences

With all the mp3 blogs around these days, it's easy to run into situations where two people post the same track on the same day, or where you just found a CD that had fallen under your bed and someone else writes about it, or where it turns out that someone else loves and appreciates Fountains of Wayne in exactly the same way that you do, and it's like the two of you were separated at birth or something. I write most of these little surprises off, 'cause it's a big world.

The only one that really sticks with me is the day that Suburbs Are Killing Us decided, apparently at random, to write about Italian Communist Serialist composer Luigi Nono something like the day after I first picked up a stack of his CDs at the urging of my father the classical music guy. I'm sorry, that was just bizarre.

It takes me a long time to process music like Nono's, but I've been listening to him a lot lately and feel fairly confident that Guai Ai Gelidi Mostri II, from a CD called Luigi Nono 3, is worth sharing with the general public. Flute, clarinet, tuba, 2 contraltos, viola, cello, double bass & live electronics combine into a really foreboding hum that goes on for five or six minutes before a demonstration of the meaning of "dynamic range" bursts onto the scene (fans of Sonic Youth's Freezer Burn/I Wanna Be Your Dog may experience a fond feeling of deja vu).

I listen to this a lot on the Church Ave. subway platform while waiting for my train to the city at 4:30am, and it works really well in that context.

I think you'll like this even if you don't usually dabble in modern classical stuff, though it'll probably help if you're into noisy experimental music, at least slightly. I'll share more Nono as I find things that seem like they might have (relatively speaking) a broad appeal. One wonders how he would have reacted to following a post about Mod Fuck Explosion, but sadly we'll never learn the answer to that.

(I'm using the same photo that Suburbs used for his piece, but really, what else would you do? It's kind of perfect.)

If you think your band had a tough time at that show where the sound guy sucked, consider this:

Nono’s opera, Intolleranza 1960, was performed in La Fenice in 1961 but this time the neo-fascists used a different and more subtle stratagem of opposition. The performance was well under way when a shower of stink bombs rained down on the orchestra. There was a mad scramble to get out, including we critics on the front seats and there was mayhem for the next ten minutes. The stink was incredible. Eventually, the performance was resumed, but in a rather subdued fashion. This time, I don’t think Nono was pleased. -- Reginald Smith Brindle

Guai Ai Gelidi Mostri II by Luigi Nono

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