We wrote different times about Junkfood, the project that involves Paolo Raineri , Michelangelo Vanni, Simone Calderoni, Simone Cavina. Two years later excellent second album The Cold Summer of Dead, they return with a collaborative album with Enrico Gabrielli. Italian Masters will be out on October 27th via Cinedelic. Three volumes dedicated to Piero Umiliani, Armando Trovajoli and Ennio Morricone. Check the first excerpt “Masquerade“and read our interview with the band.
How “Italian Masters” and the collaboration with Enrico Gabrielli are born?
We both were asked to play at a Festival near Florence dedicated to the figure of Piero Umiliani called “HalloBigallo” in the summer of 2014. The direction of the Festival requested us to include some music from Umiliani during the gig, so since Enrico was in town we decided to arrange them for a quintet featuring him and perform them together. We’ve been friends with Enrico and collaborated with him separately on other projects (Calibro 35, Incident on South Street, UPM, Der Maurer, etc.) for quite some time now, so ithe time felt right to do something all together. Unfortunately Enrico had to forfait at the last minute due to personal reasons and we performed the songs without him. The next fall we met at a Calibro 35 gig at TPO in Bologna and decided to record the music anyway and see how it turned out. We were amazed by the results and chose to publish it online and to do more with other italian composers whenever we had time in the near future. The initiative had excellent feedbacks, along with the interest of Cinedelic Records, a label specialized in italian vintage film music and its modern developments, who was willing to publish the work as a vinyl LP. Therefore we focused on arranging and recording two more chapters to reach the lenght of a full LP.
“Italian Masters” is a sort of dedication to Piero Umiliani, Armando Trovajoli and Ennio Morricone. What are the role of these three “Figures” for your artistic paths?
We all have always been huge fans of italian cinema, so that kind of sound kind of grew into us over the years and, playing mainly instrumental music, it’s really easy to assimilate some of that sound which people refers to as “cinematic” nowadays, I guess it has become an influence in a lot of recent instrumental music as well. So it seemed pretty natural for us to revisit some of that music, and worked perfectly as a common ground to work with Enrico, who also is in love with it.
There are three different episodes. Concerning music and concept, what is the connection between them and what is the point of discord?
The most interesting thing in this whole operation has been finding out that the work sounded really cohesive and coherent throughout the entire tracklist and it wasn’t ascribable neither to a Junkfood album nor to the original recordings, although showing elements of both. This was probably due to the presence of Enrico, who enriched our expression palette with the bunch of instruments he plays, the world famous soprano Edda Dall’Orso who honoured us with an appearence on “C’eravamo Tanto Amati” and the fact that we had others’ music given as a starting point. Nonetheless there definitely are differences between the three authors’ poetics. Let’s say Umiliani is probably the jazzier, Morricone is generally the darker and Trovajoli the closer to the italian melodic heritage of the three, so we decided to arranged the tracklist keeping the chapter separated and it turned out it produced a very nice moodswing throughout the record.
Is this an isolated episode or this is the start of “dedication” cycle? Is there someone else you would like to honour?
As said, it’s more a conclusion than a beginning, since Morricone’s chapter will be the third release of Italian Masters. Anyway, picking those three composers out of the italian pantheon hasn’t been easy and other favourites have been left out, like Piccioni, Cipriani, Bacalov and others. So yes, we’d like to do more but we don’t know what or when at the moment, as combining everyone’s schedule for this project has been quite an effort.
It was all recorded in one take. The role of improvisation and experimentation in music is very important for your sound. What is your concept of “research” in music?
Certainly experimentation and improvisation are crucial in a project like this. Playing instrumental music, we don’t deliver the audience any (verbal) message they can relate to, so the focus is mainly on the musical process and the possible effects it may produce on the listener. You’re pretty much forced to go adventurous and experimental if you want to run the risk of striking someone who is a non-musician. The process itself becomes the narration, but in doing that you don’t want to bother people or become excessively unintelligible. We try to achieve that through arranging and experimenting with machines and effects, as well as with improvisation. Even though this record is more about arrangement and composition than our previous records, there is of course some, which is eventually another way to address some sort of personal statement to the audience, although not verbal.
What are the best releases that you have appreciated this year?
Too hard to answer this in a concise sentence, everybody has his in the band and we’re not sure we’re even that up-to-date on 2016 releases. Let’s just say we all liked Iosonouncane’s album “Die” in which Simone (Cavina) is involved, that we’re looking forward for Ottone Pesante (Paolo’s heavy metal brass trio) debut album this fall (always produced by Tommaso Colliva, who also produced our previous record). And that Italian Master is already one of our favourite 2016 albums: too masturbatory