Fukinsei – mAtter_16
Not only Luigi Turra belongs to the restricted circle of Italian artists deserving my respect, he’s also one of the rare persons who can pronounce the word “Zen” without eliciting the urge of throwing up in yours truly. Not a negligible quality, in the age of superficial quotes from books that aren’t authentically understood, in turn becoming cheap Facebook posts. Furthermore, omniscient hominids in search of attention conveniently forget that Zen is an inborn condition; it is not readable or teachable. Basically, it’s a classic case of “some folks got it, some folks don’t”.Let’s not digress, though. Fukinsei comprises nine tracks conveying a sense of naked completeness. Turra’s heterogeneous creations revolve around an unambiguous compositional axis; sounds, noises, voices from unknown places are masterfully collected and systematized. Each piece thrives on a commendable balance between the transitoriness of true silence (another endangered species in the current history of humanity) and the disguised educational features of most everything that is not.The passage of time is still acknowledged in these environments, justified by implicit rules that defy the asinine “explanations” typical of Western philostophers. Turra appears to be in total control of the unfolding events, showing a profound knowledge of the harmonic richness of emissions that uneducated people would describe as mere disturbances. This music treats a shakuhachi, a humming quietness, amplified subsonics and objects bouncing on the strings of a guitar exactly in the same way.The reason behind the continuing incomprehension of life’s essentials resides in the inability of listening, an act that should be deprived of the impulse of superimposing ourselves upon what is happening, or being told by someone else. Not everybody stops in muteness to mentally absorb a bell tower’s wavering reverberations perceived at remote distance; many unfortunates consider the barking of a dog, or blackbirds singing at sunrise, as disruptions of a so-called tranquillity. Turra attempts to develop a few seeds of authentic consciousness via brief sightings retaining a necessary degree of physicality. They need to be stored in that area of memory that refuses the narcissistic exposure of a nescience dressed in wisdom clothes.
(Massimo Ricci – Touching Extremes)
Two years after his “Alea” release on the LINE imprint, Luigi Turra returns with a collection of new explorations in microsound on the Tokyo-based mAtter label.  Fukinsei finds the Italian sound artist continuing his investigations into abstract structures of lowercase sound, silence and the delicate balance between the two.
This is a highly stylized approach to electroacoustic composition, with single sounds placed very deliberately into the musical narrative.  Great care has been taken to counterbalance tiny sine waves, electrical pulses and subtle synth drones with acoustic sounds such as guitar, field recordings and shakuhachi.  The shakuhachi is a traditional Japanese bamboo flute, and the sounds sourced from this instrument are the most compelling on this record.  Not only the notes produced from the flute, but the breaths of the player have been captured, processed and infused into these pieces.  The bright sine-like tones of tuning forks have also been employed to add resonance to these recordings, the decay of which leaves metallic vapour trails among the micro-edits and cut-ups.
The other sound source that needs to be addressed is the human voice, as the album begins with a whisper on “[Imperfection] I”.  Reminiscent of the work of ambient experimentalist Felicia Atkinson, these soft voices travel around the listener’s ears like exercises in ASMR.  Barely audible, the words are just out of reach, their meaning always elusive.  But the textures they generate are otherworldly, like communications from another dimension.  Second track, “[Imperfection] II”, blend sine tones, guitar, rattling found sounds and flute into a haunting whole bringing to mind images of the vibrancy of Japanese summer festivals.
The album is split into three themes:  Imperfection, Asymmetry and Abrasion, although the track titles use the French spelling, as mentioned in regard to the first two pieces.  The next two tracks, “[Asymetrie] I” and “[Asymetrie] II”, make use of the shakuhachi’s wobbliness in output.  This produces weird melodic phrases, all bathed in the instrument’s woody tone that sound very unconventional by Western standards, placing the music in a uniquely Japanese context.  There is a fascination in Japanese aesthetics by western sound artists, that connects to Zen-like notions of space, patience and minimalism. The sonic interpretations of these ideas make for interesting listening. 
The next suite of tracks represents a slightly harsher approach, but still restrained and controlled.  [Abrasivité] I – V” finds Turra letting the drones escalate in volume and density, and the breaths of the shakuhachi player more prominent.  But despite these elements, these pieces fit perfectly into the overall flow of the album, and I think the titles refer to the processing more than the resulting audio.  Final track “[Abrasivité] V” begins with a loud guitar twang, probably the most intense musical event on the album, and additional flute warbles interact with the guitar strums in ever so slightly jarring ways.  This last piece feels like a jolt, a playful nudge to rouse the listener from the meditative state the preceding music had applied.
(Darren McLure – ToneShift)
Alea – LINE_078
The innermost beingness is nourished by cryptic signals. Indications appearing on the spur of the moment, perhaps as one is driving or traveling, or even focusing on some unremarkable activity. They shine of a strange light for a few fugitive seconds, then return inside their nucleus of nihility. That core will remain unassailable by any form of analysis attempted in the vain hope of “knowing more”. That something is “knowable” only for the trademark overconfidence of humans affected by inferiority complexes.
In between those indiscernible messages, silence can either alleviate headaches or endanger securities. The emblematic attitude of the aforementioned specimens coincides with its systematic rupture, notwithstanding hordes of people reportedly “searching for silence” yet utterly incapable of giving up their collective eat-and-laugh-and-make-noise rituals and other miscellaneous actions obeying to the lowest common denominator of “belonging”.
Alea is a 41-minute piece that in a way could typify the irrational background of an individual looking into him/herself during the fight against uncertainty. In essence, this is a series of abbreviated sonic glimpses of varying extraction – instrumental shards, electronic incumbencies, field recordings, snippets of vocal narrative – significantly integrated with a heavy muteness. The divergence from what we have repeatedly been yawning to – courtesy of the numerous nonentities operating in the same ambit – and Luigi Turra’s work is summarized by a single word: symmetry. No event is born from accident; waiting times and actual acoustic manifestations are perfectly proportional; there is no time to get used to anything, no chance to encapsulate the encephalon in the “OK, I already know this” pattern. The overall balance is flawless, the anxiety/relaxation ratio resulting in a perfect zero.
Don’t be scared by real silence, unless your wish is remaining faithful to a timeless puerility.
(Massimo Ricci – Touching Extremes)
When silence is revealed as a translucent, almost imperceptible and delicate vibratory fabric, any sonic phenomenon, even the dimmest murmur, can be felt as a yell of reality. Realities, perhaps, since they get expressed as multiplicities, ownerless storytelling; aimless, at the pace of time scales, where frequencies interweave to generate a faceless sound, thin, suitable for careful though no weak interlacing of both subtleties and surprises. Sounds that appear to challenge the linear timing of the sequence, rather making a nest within the variations of memory, responsible of animating worlds from dreams and compositions resulting from ways of stretching and collapsing the voices of Marguerite Duras between micro and meso realms, suggesting the macro not in the complexity of rhythm and structure, but in the detail, sometimes of the tiniest sound, sometimes of an infinite possible set of them. Luigi Turra  seems to sculpt sound with a magnifying glass in order to reveal internal universes of what seems tiny. It is faithful to a n idea of the cosmos as a multiple and vast web not only for its macro eternity, but for housing in the tiniest grain, any possible sonic universe and significance of listening. Among sudden oscillations, subatomic noises, dissected voices and faint tonal apparitions, the composer seems to find a model different than the traditional morpohological or spatial intentions. It is like finding the essence of sound right inside the impossibility of having an essence as such, and be, forever between listenings, between aural pinches, between events like those of Alea, which one can not truly say if are past or future, if are there or not there, but still doesn’t stop to speak beauty.
Luigi Turra, nato nel 1975, è compositore e graphic designer. Arriva, nello stesso anno di Fabio Perletta, su un’etichetta prestigiosa e ben distinguibile esteticamente: Line. Con Alea anzitutto prende come riferimento “L’amante della Cina del Nord” di Marguerite Duras, di conseguenza non è difficile immaginare quel tessuto rosso in copertina come un richiamo alla stanza dove il cinese figlio di papà s’incontrava con l’autrice, all’epoca dei fatti adolescente e mezza in disgrazia (esiste un libro-audio francese di questo romanzo e Turra qui ne utilizza spesso campioni). Lo stile della Duras era ben lontano dalla prosa iperdescrittiva della precedente letteratura francese e allo stesso modo Luigi pare ridurre al minimo gli elementi in gioco. Come Duras, inoltre, non deve amare le regole grammaticali: il titolo stesso del suo disco lo suggerisce, al pari di un mix a sua firma che ha diffuso in Rete tramite Farmacia 901 di Perletta, nel quale trovano dimora il Sylvian sperimentale di questi ultimi anni, una serie di “improvvisatori” giapponesi con in testa Toshimaru Nakamura, col quale certo però non sembra condividere strumentazione e abrasività, e – last but not least – l’accoppiata Henry/Schaeffer, a rivelare l’influenza della musique concrète sul suo lavoro. Spesso chi si muove lungo territori noise satura prima la nostra capacità uditiva, per poi interrompersi e gettarci in un improvviso silenzio, il che, essendo l’udito collegato all’equilibrio, ci dà sempre un senso di vertigine. Turra ribalta quasi questo modus operandi e ci immerge nel silenzio, che taglia di colpo con brevi accenni dissonanti di piano, parole sottovoce, fruscii e basse frequenze assortite. Una specie di dialettica tensione-rilascio, che contiene la richiesta di concentrarci e soppesare ogni singolo frammento che porge alle nostre orecchie. Complice Duras, Alea finisce per porre l’ascoltatore in un contesto intimo e adatto alla riflessione, con qualche sussulto che sembra quasi messo lì per deviare il corso dei nostri pensieri verso una conclusione inattesa.
Al netto dei soliti discorsi su quanto sia necessario mettersi di buzzo buono per affrontare un disco a suo modo estremo, Alea pare ben architettato.
Ki and/OAR_37
When silence is revealed as a translucent, almost imperceptible and delicate vibratory fabric, any sonic phenomenon, even the dimmest murmur, can be felt as a yell of reality.
Triple CD Luigi Turra, composer active in the musique concrete, and on file with a series of albums for labels like Trente Oiseaux, Dragon’s Eye Recordings and Koyuki. The monumental “Ki” collects in fact, for two-thirds work already published earlier in some way incomplete: “Enso” published in 2007 by Small Voices in a year is not completely mastered, “Ancient Silence” self-released the same year in a limited edition and small distance (EP), which on this occasion is presented in extended version. Following the thread of his Free Sample, Turra moves in the neighborhood of the stagnation sound, patiently working environment and except instrumental sounds to create a complex and bombastic piece divided into three acts. In “Enso” is perceived the slow movement was transitional between music and landscape environment: it is in dichotomy (alternation, empty sovraposizione) between these two elements that show the dramatic tension that is built on the disc, the soundscape is dominated by eastern coloring, marked by the use of tools such as pipe and shakuhachi.
In “Ancient Silence” Turra plunges deep into an investigation through the inertia acoustic Limina: Long and dark periods of silence are just ruffled by small metallic resonances, reflections from water, from distant and intermittent echoes of an imaginary world underground. It ‘a mood that sealed the new “Shasekishu” perpetual, stir in the dichotomous jumble of sounds and silences of the two previous episodes: soft sound objects first as refracted in a prism flint, then Franti in muted voices singing far, finally drowned in the vacuum of the gloss finish.
(Leandro Pisano – BlowUp)
Luigi Turra presents three CDs in a single release for and/OAR, including an equal number of extended and distinct compositions – Enso, Ancient Silence and Shasekishu respectively.
From the beginning the trilogy by the Italian sound artist imprints itself in guise of a full-bodied electroacoustic continuum but with hints of minimalism. “Enso“, had already been published in Small Voices in 2007 and the current version corrects the mistakes that
were made in mastering that seminal version. “Ancient Silence“, too, had already seen the light in a self-produced edition and now appears in a more dilated version, wrapping us in the spires of a surgically articulated and essential sound, fascinating and deep. Only “Shasekishu” – then – embodies the new course of manipulations for the maestro based in Schio. The composer has already published for labels such as Non Visual Objects, Dragon’s Eye, Trente Oiseaux, Koyuki and Unfathomless, to cite just a few.
The approach is still typical Turra, with sounds permeated with oriental influences, aesthetics and philosophy leaking out from every groove, all-involving matter-energy that permeates every molecule of our ecosystem.
In the forty-five minutes of the recording the envelopes are thinner and imbued with rhythmic jumps, synthetic drones and digital eddies before becoming gentler, more melodic, even more tactile, deeply mysterious and immersive, emotional and elliptical. A flawless result that consecrates this musician as one of the most interesting of the Italian school.
(Aurelio Cianciotta – Neural)
Luigi Turra’s second appearance in the and/OAR catalogue (not long ago a piece included in a magnificent compilation, tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni).
Active for years in the experimental music movement, highly esteemed by people devoted to musique concrète, Turra is an Italian sound artist and graphic designer who stood out for his personal, refined, minimalist style, conveyed in works for labels such as Trente Oiseaux, Non Visual Objects, Dragon’s Eye Recordings, Koyuki, Unfathomless, just to mention some.
“Ki”, a trilogy, over two hours of audio contents, a three-disc set, finely packaged, two-thirds consisting of old material, reissued to correct mastering errors occurred in the original release on Small Voices, dated 2007 (the first disc, “Enso”) or now in full-length version (the second one, “Ancient Silence”, self-released the same year). “Shasekishu” represents a
new chapter and brings the project to completion.
“Enso” is split into three parts, the initial segment featuring a weave of sounds produced by traditional instruments (shakuhachi, pipa, percussion), sometimes untreated, sometimes reprocessed or arranged with other artificial intrusions. Heavy incidence of echoes on the whole, to give sonic expansion and intense deepness, concretely perceptible. The use of
environmental recordings, wisely managed, becomes evident further on: it’s a subtle, inconspicuous presence (string touches, repeated tinklings and woodwind effects have the lead role). Only in the second part they achieve consistency, sharing the scene with both instrumental and vocal performance. Slightly different, even softer approach in the last section, without giving up the main framework.
“Ancient Silence”, the second CD, reveals, explicitly, a definite compositional tendency. It’s structured on several distinct instances (carefully joined together), primarily based on sombre tones originated from field recordings, with the add of other sound particles extracted from instruments (a delightful metallic reverberation, bamboo flute whispers) or captured somewhere (a periodic knocking, odd, confused noises, a constant drip of water).
“Shasekishu”, the last episode, seems to be a further processing stage in the saga. Articulated on different levels, it starts with an amalgam of concrete sounds embedded in a minimalist module and large recourse to electronics, then a gradual transition into more melodic, almost meditative phases made of resounding bells, flute insertions, a few percussive touches, a solemn chant. Lastly a compound of all these elements.
Haunting, enchanting work: Turra at his best, so far…
(Giuseppe Angelucci – Spiritual Archive)
Yu – Non Visual Object nvo 016
Interessante capire a questo punto della traiettoria artistica di Luigi Turra e Shinkei, quello che succede intorno a un percorso certo fatto d’affinità stilistica e d’intesa – il linguaggio minimale, le fonti sonore al limite dell’udibile, l’attenzione ai silenzi e agli spazi – ma pure costantemente in bilico tra ricerca sonora e naturale devozione al suono e, proprio perciò, libero di accadere e mutare.
Ciò che avviene nella recente collaborazione dei due artisti per la label NVO: Yu, termine zen che significa quiete, affianca alla tecnica in field recordings, strumenti acusici, per una fonetica che prende ancora una volta spunto dalla cultura giapponese, intrappolandone i dettagli in primi piani, assenze, rumori di fondo, di spazio o di paesaggio.Scorci di vita, quelli ambientali rasenti l’armonia (Wa), tra sfumature e mutate forme di un giardino zen (Karesansu), condotti al silenzio, ad uso di cerimonie (Roji), meditazione (Kin-hin), distribuiti nello spazio tra frammenti di un blues anni ’30 o istanti di quotidianità (Nagoya Koen).Arte del dettaglio e scelte incolore che sembrano andare oltre la naturale tonalità del reale, distruggere la figurazione per abbracciare in pieno l’astratto.
(Sentire Ascoltare)
Yu is the joint album of David Sani (aka Shinkei) and Luigi Turra, the coordinators of Italian label Koyuki. I got acquainted with the releasing activity of these guys about two weeks ago through the review for Kinetix – Absolute Grey. Evidently, itos high time to get know about them as the creative units. Release of collaboration that’s examined took place this January on Non Visual Objects – label from the Austrian capital, its central theme is interpretation of minimalism in sound. Somebody, having read these words would think something of this kind: ‘These boring cracklings, squeaks and drones mixed with silence portions again…’. In some way they would be right, nowadays there is a pretty large number of musicians creating abstract sound pictures of tiny sound pieces with different origin. The thing is that, WHAT we become in the result – less elements in composition means more responsibility for each of them. That’s why rather often I see musicians as some surgeons of audioworld. Non Viual Objects is right one of those small labels which always release complicated, extremely interesting and hardly boring works. Though unacceptable for wide audience’s understanding and that’s why even more pleasant for music lovers fond of the mentioned theme.
As soon as the disc starts to play, the intimate and minimalistic sound atmosphere created by it instigates to protect yourself from the outer sound sources. If such sources are close they can prevent you from hearing anything. Musicians weave field records with thin threads of synthetic microsound making hardly visible paths dodging on the surface of the devastated planet. Let’s imagine that about 200 years ago people brought themselves to the critical point, they stopped the violent act over the planet through killing civilization which is now experiencing new revival stage. If Yu must become a soundtrack for some plot, I think my description will do for it in the best way. There are few signs of life, and at the same time much enough. The thing is that they are represented very subtly, minimalistic and punctually – human voices, birds’ singing, the noise of rain, sounds of an old radio or human treads… This ambient changes all the time from natural landscapes and city streets to terrible, dark corridors of basements depicted by the imagination. The atmosphere reminds of the episodes from the film ‘Stalker’ by Andrei Tarkovsky shot by the motifs of Strugatskie Brothers’ story. Endless emptiness of quasireality muddles up any thinking object into the net of irrational… Sometimes you feel like to proceed movement and research other corners of new spaces, sometimes just to stand still and imagine what’s coming up next. Maybe this very moment will be the time of the absolute freedom? Or absolute silence?..
(Pi Micron)
Field recordings, field recordings, field recordings. Chiunque fosse allergico a questa parola stia lontano mille miglia da questo lavoro a firma Shinkei e Luigi Turra. I nostri, infatti, hanno realizzato un LP che è interamente giocato su queste registrazioni, calate, per giunta, in un contesto sonoro che definire minimalista è un grazioso eufemismo. Più che per il suono vero e proprio, l’attenzione sembra talvolta concentrarsi sul silenzio o su tutto ciò che è ai limiti dell’udibile (non a caso “Yu” è un termine zen che significa “quiete”). Rumore d’acqua che scorre, crepitii, cinguettii, vociare di strada e persino registrazioni di frammenti di vecchi blues (Gravier Street Blues di Laura Smith del 1924 e I Hate A Man Like You cantata da Lizzie Miles del 1929) compongono le sei tracce di questo lavoro.
Un disco per appassionati, insomma, per il quale, più che l’espressione “ricerca musicale” bisogna spendere quella di “ricerca sonora”. Affascinante, sebbene non imprescindibile.
(Marco Loprete – Kathodik)
Enso – Small Voices
Enso è un termine nipponico che significa cerchio e calligraficamente è il simbolo più diffuso in Giappone. Può assumere diversi significati, ma presumibilmente è nell’accezione di “Universo”
che lo intende Luigi Turra, celebrato sound artist italiano, qui al suo debutto su Small Voices.
La copertina è un’altra chiave per entrare in questo lavoro. Un sasso adagiato sulla sabbia e i cerchi concentrici che si diramano come onde. Probabile che Enso sia la naturale evoluzione (o filiazione) del progetto “alfabeti_linguaggi” installazione condivisa con Gianluca Becuzzi e incentrata sull’intercultura, sulle scritture e sui linguaggi del mondo. E proprio Becuzzi qui siede in cabina di regia per produrre ed esaltare le qualità sonore di un lavoro che si basa proprio sulla trascendenza nel suono. Il suono di uno Shakuhachi che apre l’orizzonte e che è “sottile come la lama di una katana e delicato come un fiore di loto” o ancora i cinguettii di chissà quali uccelli, origliati in chissà quale occasione.
Enso è un lavoro che si allinea con alcune recenti produzioni della Room40, in special modo il doppio antologico dedicato ad Ozu, ma che risente molto anche di certa estetica ECM. Il disegno delle tre lunghe composizioni fa pensare ad uno Stephan Micus ancora più astratto ed isolazionista. La suggestione in questo caso è parente allo scopo che Turra si prefigge. Affrescare una grandiosa idea di Universo con il minor impiego di enfasi. Da leggersi anche come esperienza psico-sensoriale vera e propria. La qualità del suono in questo caso si integra con i riferimenti alla cultura nipponica.
Turra usa lo Shakuhachi e certi accenti di gagaku, immergendoli in un vacuum onirico e ottundente. Un canto trattato sul finire del secondo brano potrebbe sonorizzare qualche terrifico kaidan. Il procedimento non è poi così dissimile da quello usato da Fabio Orsi in Osci. In questo caso come in quello l’idea, gli elementi e i suoni di un luogo (il meridione per Orsi, il Giappone per Turra) concorrono a disegnare un’idea di Universo, che è prima di tutto mentale e poi sonora.
(Sentire Ascoltare)
Se non si chiamasse Luigi Turra e se non sapessi che è italiano, ascoltando il disco avrei pensato che si trattasse di un autore orientale. Per questo disco i primissimi riferimenti mi riportavano alla mente molta musica giapponese o a quella di alcuni autori che, vuoi per origine vuoi per cultura, da essa ha succhiato linfa vitale per alcuni lavori; in particolare parlo di Ikue Mori, Toru Takemitsu e Koji Asano. Propenderei per la soluzione più semplice, almeno per me che scrivo, e quindi posizionerei Turra al centro del triangolo dei miei Bermuda situato in una confluenza fra questi tre “prodi kamikaze” (come li appellava l’eroico Adolfo Celi in Amici Miei). Minimalismo zen del secondo millennio e quindi paratie ultrasottili di carta di riso, da cui l’unica forma a prende corpo sono strumenti più o meno tradizionali suonati a poche note e con una gran disciplina. Un gioco di ombre cinesi (alla faccia dell’Urlo Di Chen che ormai non fa più paura ai nostri futuri padroni) fatto con una pazienza certosina, in un’epoca in cui molti lavorano in addizione, Turra fa parte di quella corrente di musicisti che invece sottrae lasciando venire a galla solo il minimo indispensabile. Quand’anche si colori di field recording o di rumori elettroacustici, il disco rimane rigorosamente sobrio, formale ma per fortuna non impettito tanto da diventare tronfio; questo direi che è ciò che rende patitici molti lavori di questo ambito, per non parlare delle citazioni forzatamente colte di alcuni autori, ma qui sto divagando. Visto che si potrebbe pensare che si tratti di un disco la cui cifra stilistica sia puramente etnica, in realtà è musica più che mai contemporanea e se dovete inserirlo in una rastrelliera del negozio impilatelo fra contemporanea ed elettroacustica (per quanto ce ne sia poca) ed oltretutto credo che molti dei suoni siano campionati. E’ importante che ciò che state sentendo sia risuonato o ricollocato grazie all’ausilio di un laptop invece che suonato? E’ importante che si tratti di un compositore invece che di uno che magari si è avvicinato al genere grazie ad Aphex Twin o non in un conservatorio? Ma ciò che conta realmente è il suono ed il disco suona molto bene. Atmosfere rarefatte, alle volte dense senza essere sature e spettrali, sull’ultimo aggettivo metterei l’enfasi maggiore visto che l’essere spettrale è una delle caratteristiche portanti del lavoro di Turra. Sulla copertina di Enso compare la foto di quello che credo sia un angolo di un giardino zen, un’immagine più che mai appropriata per un disco del genere e quindi per l’ennesima volta tutti a seguire le parole di Lydon/Rotten: “this is what you want, this is what you get”.