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Alessandro Perini

Alessandro Perini was born in 1983 in Italy. At Nordic Music Days in Bodø, he is presented with the piece “Three studies for two voices”. It’s a Norwegian premiere.

Alessandro Perini studied Composition with Luca Francesconi and Ivan Fedele among others, Electronic Music and Science of Musical Communication in Italy and Sweden.

His very broad artistic production ranges from instrumental and electronic music to audiovisual and lightbased works, net-art, land-art, vibration-based works and custom-built machines.

He has participated to festivals such as Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Festival Futura (France), BTzM Bludenz (Austria), Open Spaces Dresden (Germany), New Directions (Sweden), Procesas (Lithuania), UNM (Iceland, Sweden), Moscow Forum and ReMusik (Russia), Tempus Fugit and Distat Terra (Argentina), MATA (New York), also being in residence at Fondazione Spinola Banna per L’Arte (Italy) in 2014 for the music program.

To see and hear more of Alessandro Perini:

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In 2014 he started a research about vibration and tactile sound, called touchmysound , including projects at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse and residencies at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto (Italy) and Park In Progress (Belgium).

Among the most significant residencies for visual arts, in 2016 he’s been in Chiaravalle (Milano, Italy) for Imagonirmia Prize, realizing a series of projects about site-specific sound art; in 2017 he was in residence at IPark Foundation in Connecticut (May-June 2017); in 2018 at Fondazione Spinola Banna per L’arte (Italy), where he designed three machines to modify the clay found on-site; and again in 2018 at the BIOART Society in the Finnish Lapland.

He has been teaching courses in audiovisual production for the arts at the Conservatory of Como (Italy) and in the Composition department (electronic music course) at the Music Academy of Malmö, as well as in workshops of sound art and multimedia in Italy, Argentina and Bolivia.

The festival theme is «truth?». Can music be “true”? Is this something you are struggling with in your compositions?

We don’t even agree on what music is, can we even think about truth in music? Music is meant to be a representation, a staged rendering, it can speak about a certain truth, but I think it becomes interesting as much as it shows something impossible, or something that goes beyond an objective reality.

 

In «three studies for two voices» you are actually going inside the singers’ mouths, and no physical voice of the performers is used at all. Is this piece primary about expectations or sounds?

All music, and all forms of art, I dare say, inescapably play with what people expect to see, hear, taste, read… In particular, expectation in music is as old as the deceptive cadence. At least. If you always give people what they want, or what they already know, you are making entertainment, not art. It’s true that in my studies this game of expectations is brought to the extreme, in the frame of the relationship between sound source and emitted sound, but there’s another aspect of the piece which is recurrent in my production: hybridization. This occurs in different ways throughout my work; in my studies it’s a mix of human and robot, resulting in a futurible creature with a replaced voice organ. In some other works of mine, hybridization operates between musical instruments and machines, between nature and technology, between real and fake.

You seem to have an almost tactile closeness to sounds. Can you say something about the way you think as a composer?

In 2014 I started exploring tactility in sound and vibration, both in the realms of music and sound art. Mine was mostly an interdisciplinary curiosity about the possibility to translate the grammar of music into the tactile domain. This research got quickly out of hand and made me realize that, to really be myself as a composer and get rid of a certain academic cage I was cloistered in, I should have brought into music the same approach I used for sound art. Not having received an academic education in the field of sound art installations, for many years I kind of felt more free to reflect on the ways of listening, trying to focus more on the magic of the listening situation than on the sound itself; when I realized that, it was then natural, while composing, to apply this method also to the concert situation, to the listening venue, to the performers involved, but being well aware, at the same time, of how strong music can be when its grammar is organizing the sonic matter. Funnily enough, “composing” doesn’t mean much more than “putting together”, if we want to look at the etymology; but the truth is quite different, when you want a piece of music to work well with, or against, the expectations of the audience’s ears and brains, if any.

Three studies for two voices

Written for the concert series “Matter, Virtuality and the Expanded Body” (Malmö, March/April 2017), this work transforms two singers into hybrid beings, by inserting two small speakers in their mouth. The “voice” (electronic tones, noise and clicks) is then provided by the body expansion. The physical voice of the performers is not used at all in these three short studies. Premiered on April 11th, 2017 at Inter Arts Center, Malmö (Sweden) by Sara Wilén and Agnes Wästfelt (Ars Nova Ensemble).