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Friday, November 3, 2017

Lino Capra Vaccina – Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio (2017)

For fans of the Italian avant-garde, few names inspire the loyalty and devotion offered to the percussionist and composer Lino Capra Vaccina – a perfect emblem of the country’s extraordinary movement of musical Minimalism.

He first gained note as a member of Aktuala, a project which laid the groundwork for a entire generation of practitioners following in their wake – creating a hybrid of rock, avant-garde, and ancient musics, while incorporating a diverse number of sonic traditions from across the globe – African, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc, before venturing out on his own.

Vaccina’s career as composer has been marked by two distinct features, an incredibly high bar of quality and ambition, and a tragically slim amount of recorded output. Following his departure from Aktuala, he worked extensively with others – Juri Camisasca, Franco Battiato, etc, and within the short lived super group Telaio Magnetico, but his astounding solo efforts have been slow to emerge. In 1978 he released the legendary LP Antico Adagio, and wouldn’t be heard from again until 1992’s equally extraordinary L’Attesa. Fortunately, over the last few years, Die Schachtel has embarked on a multifaceted project – reissuing Vaccina’s hard to find LPs for a new generation, as well as offering a range of stunning archival recording which had never before seen the light of day. Their latest release – Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio, falls into the later category. It’s nothing short of a momentous event.

Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio draws on the same body of recordings which gifted us Vaccina’s masterpiece Antico Adagio. Like their predecessors, these works rise as lost, towering artifacts of the Italian avant-garde. It’s confounding how they could have remained unheard for so long.

The LP features two sidelong works of pulsing, hypnotic, ritualistic drone – Vaccina’s percussion – gongs, bells, and cymbals, threaded by sustained tones, generated by the voices of Juri Camisasca and Dana Matus. Flirting with the outer-reaches charted by Buddhist and African music, it is a trance-inducing, meditative, cosmic world of sonic interplay – the world beyond, joined with that which lays within. At once Minimalism, and so much more – sheets of resonance, stunning harmonic interplay, and intricate rhythms, rising as one.

Effortless and challenging, Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio demarcates the territory where art meets a higher plane – the body and mind becoming one with sound. Both performances, deeply moving, rewarding, and intellectually rigorous, reveal themselves slowly at every return. Nearly forty years after its rhythms, tones, and ambiences imprinted themselves onto tape, we are encountering one great lost works of musical Minimalism, and unquestionably one of the most important albums to appear this year. Not to be missed on any count, these are the heights of the Italian avant-garde, at their very best. You can check it out below and pick it up via SoundOhm, or from a record shop near you.

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