January 08, 2018

Francesco Paolo Paladino, sound architect of the Elements.

Italian musician and composer (and film maker) Francesco Paolo Paladino, apart being a friend of mine for many years (and collaborated on the last Third Ear Band's live CD "Spirits"), is an architect of sounds and concepts.
His last two works, investigating the nature and the power of air and water, are a clear connection to the pagan ideal world of the Third Ear Band, just actualized in these crazy days.
I've asked him some questions about his research, his ideas about the music today and his ideal bond to the TEB's experience.

Luca Chino Ferrari: How do you have moved from a traditional way of composing/recording music to the present research of sounds?

Francesco Paolo Paladino: In June 2016, just the day of my birthday (June 9th), I lived a particular state of reflection, depression, instinct, transgression, that particular feeling of one who becomes "more adult", one who makes a balance with the "outcomes" of his being and acting.

While I was beating around the bush, I felt this incredible creative energy for the making of music and suddenly I had clear the work I wanted to do for the next few years. Actually not a general work but a triptyque. I had clear in my mind the titles of the works I wanted to realise: "Ariae", "Siren" and "Icereport".
Basically, first of all I wanted to consider the element of air, then the element of water. Thus, at the end of this process I wish to work on the modification of both, the dimension of ice.
The transition from the  avant-rock to another musical level (but  I can't define it) was a kind of unconscious but lucid ones. I'm still guessing why it happened, and why just last year... 

Maybe it was all written in my fate, I might work at this particular state of musical knowledge. From there my work started and I'm going to complete the tryptique. I've already published two parts of it - "Ariae", a contribute to the evolution of the so called ambient music, and "Siren", a complex kind of opera or marine cantata, a drama that sounds  as an elegy to our sad world destroyed by pollution.
"Siren" encapsulates the female side of my being and my need of protection beyond the life, the desire of a "great mother" who heartens me. But we are alone in the ocean, I know it well...

LF: Can you describe us in detail how is born the idea of this kind of 'collective work'? Apart the beautiful artwork designed by the very talented artist Maria Assunta Karini, in "Siren"  among the others 'play' also Judy Dyble, Paolo Tofani, Sean Breadin, Alison O'Donnel, Riccardo Sinigaglia...

FPP: For doing this three-parts project I recycled the concept of "doubling music" I used for years with the Doubling Riders, the band with which I played years ago. During the Eighties, just before Internet and the MP3, I had the idea to make 'sound exchanges' (reels, tapes...) with other musicians, having a 'at a  distance collaboration'. 

Thanks the melt and the bind of different artistic experiences I produced brand new sonic objects. Well, I ask some friends to send me everything they wanted, suggesting tonalities and explaing the sense of my projects. Maybe this method of work can recall that sort of randomness introduced by Brian Eno in the '70's... but anyway at the end the final results was better that I could imagine.

LCF: So you don't consider yourself a proper typical musician/composer...

FPP: I can consider myself a film-maker, but also a sound artist, a composer, but together with many other musicians, a creative person because I make sound entities, starting from the awareness that all is existing out there...
La Monte Young explained it in a very easy and genial way: when he made a full LP with a sound that can be listened to from different perspectives and it become 'different' because different is our perception. Making sounds with already-made stuff is a charming experience. It means to be cauterized for warping and cutting, being concentrated on very pure parts; it means you can realise hidden or only rough architectures, writing a unique personal language that you can play in the same time.
I'm very satisfied with my new direction and I hope I can ride it for a long time.

LCF: Most of all I have been very impressed by "Ariae", because I think here the listener is not simply in an unheard soundscape dimension but also in a real experimental work of physics... For the ears these are very amazing and disconcerting sounds!

FPP:  Few people noted this and I'm very glad that just you do it because "Ariae" surely is a CD very inspired by Ambient music  but also it's an attempt to go 'beyond' it for revolutioning this kind of sounds. The phisycs of sound you referred to with your questions is an identification (I have to admit very cultured) about my achievement of this new way.

I have created (most of all on the second track) some phisic paths for my recorder and michrophone from a room to another, opening (partially or fully) opening windows for transforming the phisic path in a ritual one, with localized sources and lappings of air that one could find in a predetermined moment.
Then, in other sessions I have dealed with masses of air through improvised gestures that forced microphones and recorder to become a method for translating air movements in something that could have a meaning for human senses.
There is a moment in "Ariae" where, after few minutes when the wind talks its unique vocabulary, the sound restarts and who have listened to this sequence says that it's very appease. The sound becomes a reassuring element because it can be recognised.
Well, this is the part of my album I prefer because just there two different sound languages meet, creating into the listener a condition of disorientation before, then a calmness dimension.

Also the repetition of a theme, its being mutant, is the clear statement of the existence of sound as a container of silence, in other words a silence that is never the same, therefore sound.
Also my decision to record the album with a very low sound level, suggesting to the listener to listen to it "playin' loud" (as it happens for the metal) is a strategy to create infinite opportunities of choice for the listener who can decide what to listen to, if prefering "sonic silences" or getting the dynamic of music. Many listeners said that turning up the volume they listened better to the silences and that was exactly what I wanted to obtain!

LCF: In "Ariae" I've found some references to the Third Ear Band music dedicated to the elements. Apart the project itself, and the title of it, some effects of your experiment sound to me as "Water" beacuse your recorded air sometimes surprisingly seems to have this suggesting nature... What do you think about? Was the Third Ear Band a landmark for you through the years? 

FPP: Third Ear Band is one of the band that goes with my life. I knew the TEB through "Music For Macbeth", and precisely "Fleance" strake me like a thunder; it was 1972. Suddenly that track reminded me "Le petit Chevalier" from Nico's  "Desertshore" (1970). I was looking that terrific music as a kind of phoenix, for listening to, for realising, for eating it...

From that precise moment I'd been dreaming of a record played by the Third Ear Band with Nico: it would have been wonderful to listen to "Abschied" fading in "The Banquet".... And I used to record on my C45 cassettes tracks from "Macbeth" pasted with "Desertshore"'s tracks, listening them all alone in my little room. From those days that cellos are remained in my heart. "Ariae" is just that "air" I breathed in my little room, a place totally inaccessible to my sister and my parents. Just the friends who "understood" could go in. And I'm sure some notes from that records are still there, in my little room... some sequences of my favourite music...  

Of course, just after "Music for Macbeth" I bought also "Alchemy" and "Third Ear Band" (the second album). It was an emotional earthquake. That records became a magic trio that I listened to just in some particular occasions. I had music for many kind of situations: that very important for me was signed by the TEB, Nico, Tim Buckley, the first King Crimson's record and some tunes from  Don Cherry's "Relativity Suite".  

If I had a girlfriend, I had to decide what soundtrack to use: I played the  Third Ear Band just in some rare occasions, because it was my personal "magic cult" that warmed my heart. "Ariae" is a work that can be interpretate as a spiral of sounds remained in that my little room and thus in the deep of my heart.

LCF: What do you think about the music today?

FPP: I think today there's no a "dominant" kind of music around even if music magazines try to force us to believe it, creating new fashions that vanish in few months... 
We're living very peculiar times... I remember that on a 70's Italian music magazine named "Gong" someone wrote that the music had to be listenend to without knowing who was the musician or the singer etc., thus not being influenced by the album cover or something else. Well, I think we are here now. 
The listening of MP3's and of iTunes by the teens is a sort of buig minestrone where everything is mixed up in a grey anonymity. I think this is not acceptable! Also because some deeped opinions about historical discographies have been challenged. Just an example: Tangerine Dream's "Phaedra" was considered the best album the band recorded before its 'commercial' phase; today this album is valued as the album that launched techno music. 

Francesco with a "myth" of our generation, Joe Boyd.

Can I tell you very diplomatically that we are just in a period of "evolution" towards something we don't understand at the moment? Sure, this is an irrelevance, because this is happened in every historical period of music, but we can admit that today music is quite less important for teens than it was for our generation. So, now it's more a question of music market than the music itself, the music as a commercial product. Our myths have been transformed in fetishes by the music market. The only important thing is to sell, and because the market is selling generally the same records, now we have this "box syndrome" where an old album, became an old CD, is now republished in various different editions - blue-ray, mono, stereo, enhanced, with bonus tracks... maybe with boring studio sessions, but with a wonderful, catching packaging... This is the Age of Form that triumphs on the substance, where a pretty and correct "didactis of sounds" is preferred to a "magmatic alphabet"... But a "fog effect" still exists.

LCF: What do you mean with this?

FPP: In this vaste mare magnum of sounds and musicians, with lot of music magazines reviewing more than 300 records in a month, inside this bland soup with too much flavours, we have to activate the "fog effect". 

If you drive with the fog, you don't know where you are, you don't realize if you have passed one or two roundabouts, you are alone with your intuition only. This is the magic word, today one says "the password", this is intuition. Inside the fog you meet lot of people, you don't know many of them, you don't see them, but your intuition brings you to some of them, the best ones, as you might reorganise your own microcosm of friends and your musical perspectives. But you have to use your intuition instead the "intellectual factor". We have to reconstruct our lives on an intuition basis, on that intelligence conceived by John Cage where randomness becomes the will to live new experiences. Intuition brings you to your soul mates, people who has your sensibility.

LCF: How can you conciliate this with technologies evolution?
FPP: For myself one has to live technology evolution in this way: I buy a camera, I don't read instructions, I work on it with the same passion of a child who cannot read. It's that intuitive passion that brings me to the "not compliant solution"... (even if soon or late I have to endure one hour or more of reading instructions...).

LCF: What kind of music are you listening to? What do you suggest to a young listener
to listen to?

FPP: I use to buy CDs at Amazon or Discogs, selecting the cheapest albums. The offer is so wide that I don't follow the logics of a collector but that of a music lover with no limits. What I like, I listen to. Just recently I've discovered a group (I don't know if they are existing or not), they called AU. Simply outstanding! Again, I listen to poetic ballads by Martyn Bates, Judy Dyble and Alison O'Donnell

My 'protective deities' are Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno (even if in these last years the latter is fully deluding me), Don Cherry and Alice Coltrane, of course 'our' Third Ear Band. About new things, I'm now oriented to buying "new classical music" at New Amsterdam Records, a label that none knows but in these last few years has published incredible masterpieces. I don't intend to suggest any records or musicians to young listeners, I suggest only to listen to everything with the "third ear": I'm sure they don't be sorry of it!

A.T.R.O.X. - "The Night's Remains"
(LP - Trinciato Forte Records T.F.L.P. 001, 1982 - reissued by Spittle Records in 2015)
A.T.R.O.X. - "Water Tales"
(Contempo Records L.P.001, 1984 - reissued by Spittle Records in 2015)
F.P. & The Doubling Riders - "Doublings & Silences vol. 1"
(LP - Auf Dem Nil DMM 001R, 1985)
The Doubling Riders - "Doublings and Silences vol. II"
(2LPs Box - Reccomended Records Italia 003, 1988)
Pier Luigi Andreoni - Francesco Paladino - "Aeolyca"
(cassette - Violet Glass Oracle Tapes VGO 005, 1989)
Francesco Paladino - "Eoi a Rio"
(CD - Il Museo Immaginario MIMM CD051, 1991)
Francesco Paladino & Alio Die - "Angel's Fly Souvenir"
(CD - Hic Sunt Leones HSL027, 2004)
Francesco Paladino - Sean Breadin - "Musica Fiuto"
(CD - Hic Sunt Leones HSL033, 2006)
Nosesoul - "Angel Ghosts & Human Shades"
(CD-LP - Hic Sunt Leones HSL032, 2006)
Nosesoul - "Ethik Blues/Winterbirds Helped The Passengers"
(CD-LP-DVD - Silentes 200719, 2007)
Nosesoul - "N" (limited edition cassette, Silentes Tapestry, 2011)
Nichelodeon/Insonar-Ukiyoe (Mondi Fluttuanti)-Francesco Paolo Paladino -"Quickworks & Deadworks" (CD - Snowdonia SWO77, 2014)
Francesco Paolo Paladino & many friends - "The Son of Unknown Fish" (2CDs - Silentes PALA01, 2014)
Francesco Paolo Paladino - "Ariae" (CD - Silentes pala02, 2017)
Francesco Paolo Paladino - "Siren" (CD - Silentes pala03, 2017)

For details about groups and records go at:
From '90's Francesco Paolo Paladino is also filming videoclips, documentaries, movies. 


no©2018 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

1 comment:

  1. un grazie enorme a Luca Ferrari per questa intervista