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Friday, November 3, 2017

Claudio Rocchi - Suoni di Frontiera (1976/2017)

Claudio Rocchi – Suoni Di Frontiera (1976 / 2017)

An unavoidable and formative element of Italy’s long history of avant-garde music, is its resistance to category and definition. Even in the face of this, Claudio Rocchi’s Suoni Di Frontiera, originally released in 1976, is an anomaly – a body of introspective synthesizer works, stretching out to the world beyond. Italian experimental and avant-garde music from this period is distinct, in part, unlike other contexts in Europe and America, because many artists begin within the realms of popular music, slowly pushing toward more ambitious creative territories as time wore on. Rocchi is no exception. He entered the public eye during the late 1960’s and early 70’s, working within the idioms of psychedelic rock, folk, and prog. While some of Suoni Di Frontiera’s elements are present in his earlier and later works, nothing reaches the crystalline totality of its being. It is the lone, explicitly avant-garde effort in Rocchi’s long and noted career.

The ambition and breadth of Suoni Di Frontiera is overwhelming. It achieves what few have – realizing the dream set forth by the pioneers of early electronic music, creating a new democratic architecture of sound, as creatively ambitious, as it is accessible. It is a realization of the avant-garde, which could have only emerged from the realms of pop – sixteen discrete works of acoustics instrumentation, electronics, processing, and synthesis – freestanding, while intertwined as a towering whole. An album which, despite the relentless pace of its challenges, is so seductive and inviting, that it offers an open door to an entire world beyond.

Like so much of the Italian avant-garde’s output, Suoni Di Frontiera is nearly impossible to locate – to constrain with simple definition. A restless constellation, delving from one possibly to the next – pulsing, rhythmic tones, sheets of pure abstraction, fragments of voice and environmental sound, each captured and spun wild by tape loops, beautiful ambiences and space age sounds. The scope of what it approaches is so great, attempts to describe can only fall short.

Before us is one of the great unsung works of 20th Century electronics. An album of astounding beauty and ambition – its reemergence holding the potential to reform the standing perception of electronic music as a whole. You can check it out below and pick it up via SoundOhm, or from a record shop near you.

A truly remarkable disc.

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