here’s a great interview made by Yusef Sayed on Insalata Statica, happy reading!
…..and here the first batch of reviews…..
The Wire (Lottie Brazier)
Borrowing from Loic Sturani’s 2003 film Vegetable Thriller the video teaser that accompanies Italian pianist and composer Giovanni Di Domenico’s new album displays a strange vision of brightly coloured vegetable matter that dissolves rapidly in and out of focus. Presented in this visually disorientating way, familiar textures are dissected and and skewed to the point where they are unrecognisable. Its musical counterpart Insalata Statica instead makes familiar chord progressions sound unfamiliar, yet strangely comforting. Although not divided by individual tracks, Insalata Statica (translating from the Italian as Static Salad) can be thought of as being comprised of sections not dissimilar to those found on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells or Hergest Ridge.
There isn’t much space on this lengthy recording – much of it is filled with layer upon layer of texture – but it never becomes a claustrophobic listen. The reverberating piano is played decisively and serves as a lead instrument. Gradually introducing more instrumentation to each section, Domenico sounds as if he is accompanied by a full band, though most of the recordings are his own. Simple melodies shift as contrasting but related scenes in a film, switching mood constantly but with ease. Insalata Statica’s introduction includes a rare moment of sampling – the chattering of birds – though overall the sources of these high pitched sounds are not distinguishable. At one point there is something like a pumping heart as heard through a stethoscope, but here the pitch of each contraction is much higher than it would naturally sound.
Insalata Statica homages influences such as Philip Glass’s piano études and Steve Reich’s phasing, but it does so with considerable charm and lack of contrivance; the structures that Di Domenico creates sound loose, as if they have been jammed out rather than considered, with a sensitivity and warmth to the manner in which they unfold.
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Touching Extremes (Massimo Ricci)
Once again, let me start a review from the analysis of the press release. A couple of striking notes emerge. One is a relative comparison of Insalata Statica with Jim O’Rourke’s The Visitor; indeed, scents of JO’R’s sonority are present which might be acceptable, especially in view of the recent cooperations between him and Giovanni Di Domenico.
The second is a reference to Franco Battiato’s oeuvre of the 70s, an out-and-out offense in spite of Di Domenico’s admitted liking of those overrated pastiches. The difference – at least for a detached observer trying to age with a degree of dignity – is that multi-instrumentalist Di Domenico can compose, orchestrate and play for real. Battiato’s so-called experimental era was the result of a smartly concealed fraud.
This album – constructed upon a 40-minute suite – is a small treat. Its compositional distillation – not devoid of barely perceivable details that may only be acknowledged by experts in combined resonances – translated into charming music of palpable profundity. In several circumstances its harmonic wealth gets pushed towards other climates, occasionally bordering on mild disorder. Nevertheless, an underlying feeling of suaveness persists in those moments, too.
Assembled over the course of five years after singularly recording its sections, the composition appears to this reviewer as a sincere homage to the truly progressive opuses of the aforementioned decade more than anything else.
This does not imply any attempt of shameless imitation. Di Domenico did throw a little of everything in there while managing to restrain himself quite a bit. To exemplify the concept: certain interlocking patterns could recall Steve Reich for a fleeting instant, but there’s no time to even pronounce that similarity as the scene changes to an altogether diverse mood, perhaps characterized by fuzzy electric guitars and gentle drumming in Canterbury-esque sauce.
The fluid alternance of freshness and strong coloring, of vivid pulse and serenity, was probably the decisive intuition for the successful realization of this piece.
I am not swearing to the gods when affirming that a “conceptual kinship” coming to mind was that with the best Mike Oldfield. Before you laugh, remember: Hergest Ridge is a hell of an undersung record (moreover, one can’t cover the role of sound engineer for Henry Cow by being a slouch).
Still, this is entirely Di Domenico’s soul. It smiles and nods to us, inviting to come in without apprehension. The efforts in the studio have definitely been repaid: I have savored the “static salad” four times already. A self-promise for the future is to return to it when possible.
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Onda Rock (Leonardo Di Maio, in Italian….)
Avevamo lasciato il pianista e compositore romano (benché ormai belga a tutti gli effetti)Giovanni Di Domenico con delle ottime prove discografiche, “Delivery Health” (Silent Water, 2015) e “Arco” (Die Schachtel, 2015) su tutte. Nota è la sua amicizia con il genialoide Jim O’Rourke, che spesso e volentieri ha suonato nei suoi dischi. Di Domenico ha sempre stupito per il suo gusto e il peculiarissimo stile che sa coniugare il free-jazz più avanzato con la musica d’avanguardia più colta, ma allo stesso tempo anche parecchio emozionante e comunicativa.
In questo scorcio di inizio autunno è uscito il suo nuovo disco (edito nel solo formato in vinile), “Insalata Statica”, che è, senza mezzi termini, un bellissimo disco di musica avantgarde come da tempo non ne sentivamo. Con “Insalata Statica”, Di Domenico ha inciso il suo personale “Tubular Bells” (Virgin, 1973), componendolo e registrandolo in completa solitudine con il solo ausilio di strumentisti esterni.
Esattamente come il capolavoro di Mike Oldfield, anche “Insalata Statica” è formato da un’unica suite dalla durata di quaranta minuti, suddivisa in nove tranci uniti tra loro come un unico flusso di coscienza, costituendo così un affascinante dedalo-mosaico sonoro. Dal suo amico O’Rourke, il pianista romano ha tratto sicuramente ispirazione dal capolavoro “The Visitor” (Drag City, 2009), specie per quanto riguarda tutte le varie orchestrazioni e arrangiamenti, che sono di gusto squisito.
La suite ha un inizio musicale assai pacato, con poche note reiterate dei fiati e di pianoforte (sia elettrico che acustico). Poi, il tutto si trasforma mediante un continuum di accordi prodotti da un harmonium che poggiano su varie distorsioni, che portano infine a una dolce melodia intonata dal piano e dal clarinetto. Man mano che si procede, entra a far parte anche una base ritmica e qui si viene trasportati nel più puro stile della scuola di Canterbury(gli Henry Cow di “Leg End” potrebbero essere un plausibile esempio).
Si procede poi con uno strano mix tra il primo Mike Oldfield e i Popol Vuh più elettrici (quelli di “Einsjager & Siebenjager”, per intenderci), per essere infine trasportati nella piena epoca d’oro della Ecm di Monaco, con Di Domenico che prende spunto addirittura da Keith Jarrett. La medesima melodia viene in seguito trattata elettronicamente, fino a diventare cadenzata e a riportarci nei territori cari a Fred Frith e a Tim Hodgkinson.
Il disco termina inaspettatamente con una fanfara dal gusto brasiliano e l’album volge al termine con una gioiosa melodia, che va sfaldandosi fino alla fine.
Ananta Roosens alla tromba, Joao Lobo alla batteria (altra vecchia conoscenza, essendo un componente del trio di Giovanni Guidi), Jordi Grogrard ai clarinetti, Niels Van Heertum all’eufonio e Vera Cavallin all’arpa hanno permesso a Giovanni Di Domenico di arrivare finalmente al suo capolavoro musicale.
A noi non resta altro che applaudire. Questa è sul serio musica d’avanguardia d’alta classe e il pianista-compositore romano possiede tutta la creatività di uno Steve Beresford meno cacofonico.
happy to announce the release of Insalata Statica, on Silent Water
With the great help of:
– Ananta Roosens: trumpet on part IIIa
– Joao Lobo: drum on parts II, IIIa, IV, V, VI
– Jordi Grognard: clarinets on parts Ia, II, IIIa, IIIc, IV
– Niles Van Heertum: euphonium on parts Ia, IIIa, IV, V – Vera Cavallin: harp on parts II, IIIa mastered and cut by Frédéric Alstadt
layout and design by Miquel Casaponsa
The new solo LP by Giovanni Di Domenico, Insalata Statica comprises a single album-length composition, initially a suite of six distinct parts that have been weaved together to form a kaleidoscopic whole.
Composed and performed almost in its entirety by Di Domenico himself, the music takes listeners from passages of melancholic introspection through to fuzz-laden melodic exuberance. The subtle, shifting harmonies, rhythms and textures are deftly arranged – often blurring lines between a wide variety of acoustic and electronic instrumentation – to form a coherent arc from beginning to end. Moving through delicate motifs for horns, woodwinds, percussions, harp, guitar and electronics into more stately piano-led choruses and even hectic, Hammond-led jazz sections, Insalata Statica will appeal to fans of O’Rourke’s The Visitor.
The material for the album originated in studio recordings composed for a separate band project five years previously.Through techniques of overdubbing and editing, Di Domenico searched to find a common musical frame in which the different ‘songs’ he had quickly laid down could exist – and by the same means, finding a way in which to fuse diverse influences. Although the result of meticulous editing, Insalata Statica nevertheless retains a sense of spontaneity and lightness that gives the music an organic quality.
Insalata Statica, which translates in English as ‘static salad’ derives from a joke – a friend’s playful description of Di Domenico’s music. As the pianist says: “I prepared the salad fairly quickly, then took five years to ‘dress’ it. I thought it was perfect to have this more static beginning that slowly unfolds into different twists and tricks, to reach a much less static end.”
While largely recorded in the studio in his current city of residence, Brussels, it seems only fitting that for a peripatetic musician such as Di Domenico the album should suggest the experience of travel throughout its ever shifting movements. Listening to Insalata Statica, one can easily imagine the character of different landscapes – and their effect on mood and energy. The music seems to convey the haze of early departure; the romance of new climates; sleepy intervals and the hectic rush of transit; the feeling of sudden inspiration and the lasting traces of memory.
In the album’s changing moods, colours and tempos there are evocations of the melancholy of Franco Battiato’s 70s albums, Brazilian folk flourishes, the spacious, harmonically rich jazz of ECM recordings and oddball pop. Ushering such influences into a vibrant whole, revealing a skilful ear and an ability to blend instrumental timbres and melodic lines in surprising ways, Insalata Statica has a compelling, melodic charm all its own. Yusef Sayed.
video teaser for Insalata Statica, first album under Giovanni Di Domenico’s name, out in november on Silent Water!
hte images are from Vegetable Thriller, by the great Loic Sturani
this one is a must have!!!
Bonjintan is: Akira Sakata, Giovanni Di Domenico, Jim O’Rourke and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto. Their debut CD was released in june 2017 on Dapnhia (Sakata’s own label), here’s the only place you can get it except in Japan……
get it while it lasts…..
very excited to announce a new project and release!!!
Thanks To Roge @ El Negocito Records and to everyone involved in this LP!!!
Giovanni Di Domenico & Abschattungen – The Ear Cannot Be Filled With Hearing
Abschattungen is the band Di Domenico formed to pay hommage to everything that goes under the name ‘funk‘. Strong grooves are laid under a forest of psychedelic textures and intense melodies, filling the auditory space with dense metaphysic dance movements.
Taking inspiration from albums as Sun Ra’s Lanquidity and Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza’s Feedback, black music inspired pulsations are fused with contemporary music’s sensibilities and the power of free jazz, resulting in a futuristic sound but still very indebited to the marvelous history of black musics.
Quentin Manfroy: flute, Jordi Grognard: clarinets/duduk/oboe, Laurent Blondiau: trumpet, Audrey Lauro: alt sax, Daniele Martini: tenor sax, Gregoire Tirtiaux: baritone sax, Marti Melia: bass sax, Giotis Damianidis: electric guitar, Axel Gilain: electric bass, Jakob Warmenbol: drums, Mathieu Calleja: drums, Giovanni Di Domennico: piano, fender rhodes, arp odissey, compositions & arrangements, producing engineering and mixing.
visit this bandcamp page to listen to 2 tracks of this record
very proud to announce the release of JOMON!!
Akira Sakata / Manuel Mota / Giovanni Di Domenico / Mathieu Calleja
Holidays Records, 2017
Japanese saxophone transgressor Akira Sakata meets with his long-time collaborator and Fender Rhodes virtuoso Giovanni Di Domenico, Portuguese guitarist Manuel Mota, and drummer Mathieu Calleja for a session recorded at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels.
Named after the Jomon period of the Japanese prehistory – when Japan was inhabited by a hunter-gatherer culture rich in tools, clay pottery, and jewelry made from bone and stone – the record features three tracks: Jomon (縄文), Kaen (火焔), and Dogu (土偶). The Dogu (literally: “clay figures”) were small humanoid and animal figurines made during the Jomon period for religious purpose: it may have been believed that illnesses could be transferred into the Dogu, then destroyed, clearing the illness, or any other misfortune. The record itself is a musical healing ritual invoking and unleashing a powerful demon with Sakata’s throat singing, then slowly hypnotizing it in the second half of the album, putting it back into its vault before it’s too late. Beautiful artwork made with Sakata’s hand-painted Kanji characters.