EMPTY SET is a new project that involves Italian musicians Alessandro Vagnoni (Bologna Violenta, Bushi) and Enrico Tiberi aka NREC. Self-titled debut album is out on June 20th via Tuna Records. It features Daniele Galassi (track “III”) and Valeria Scarlato (Track “I”) and is associated with a book of Italian illustrator and artist Francesco Farneselli.
We have the pleasure to premiere the full streaming of the album. They define their sound as a personal interpretation of 70’s progressive-rock connected to the modern era. Listen below and check it our interview about the origin of the project, influences and more.
What are the ideas and inspirations which shaped the project EMPTY SET?
(A.V.). The genesis of the album is characteristic. The first recorded notes would have had to add sound a digital comic strip. Then everything went badly and I continued to write material on the guidelines that I had set up, although it was a quite chaotic writing, which represents me 100%. I do not follow preparatory drawings, I let myself be guided by what I’m writing and recording at the moment. Everything is linked to another, as in an association of ideas. The difficult thing is to understand when to stop and give a complete sense and a unity to the whole.
The lyrical system is loosely inspired on the first episode of the tv show “The Twilight Zone”. It is a story that can be explained in different ways and the comic strip, which will be sold together with the digital copy of the album, is a sort of listening guide.
How is born the collaboration with Enrico Tiberi?
(A.V.). Enrico and I have known each other for a very long time, we shared different musical experiences together. He has been living and working as a producer in Berlin for a few years. We started working on the disk before he left and we continued remotely through file exchange. I trust his musical vision blindly and now I’m bound by his voice. I do not see myself making other records without his vocals (except Bologna Violenta and Bushi, of course).
The record is associated with a illustrations book created by Francesco Farneselli. A fusion of arts that enriches your work. This kind of “union” between the arts can be considered the true path for modern experimentation?. What is the meaning do you give to innovation and experimentation connected to the music?
(A.V.). As already mentioned, the book is a kind of listening guide, if you want. Obviously it has value in itself, even dissociating it from the album. The idea of the book was by Francesco Farneselli; an excellent idea, considering that the album will only be released digitally, and therefore intangible. Today music is not necessarily linked to a “container object”, we have to stick it in our heads.
The illustrated book is not a container, it is a complement. Like the insert in vinyls. Album printing has a cost, those who have no money to invest must necessarily turn to the web, a real godsend. People buy the vinyls to keep them packed on a shelf, and then listen to the mp3s in the car. However, if you give people the chance to have a comic tied to the album, as in this case, maybe push them to overcome the laziness and superficiality with which they usuallyapproach the music. But of course I’m wrong …
(E.T.). I think it’s fundamental to experiment in all the arts, to have at least that courage that is enough to avoid any attempt to standardise your way to do things to the trends and try to go in search of your own expressive universe. You can experiment with sound, with content, with the medium, with the process itself, anything as long as the impulse is free and true. An experimentation that becomes necessary and not enough even to innovate.
You claim the project as 100% Independent, another term heavily abused in the modern era. What meaning do you give to this aspect compared to what you propose?
(A.V.). Every process of the record was made by me and Enrico: recording, mixing, mastering, artwork. The illustrated book that will accompany the release of the album (the only physical part that will be sold) was created by our friend Francesco Farneselli; Indeed the upcoming video, which will be out on the release date of the album, has been entrusted to Marco Di Battista, an appreciated videomaker who we know and who is helping us. There are no management, agencies, press offices: these things we do it ourselves. So in this case I would say that the project is 100% DIY.
Will there be a live presentation of the album?
(A.V.). Unfortunately no, there are no economic resources to set up a band (at least 4 elements) and deal with DIY tours. The expenses would be very considerable and the revenues, given the general situation, almost non-existent. There are no resources for press offices or booking agencies. There is also to say that I play in different projects and so I should be rich to be able to invest on any front. The physical media printing of the album is also not covered. Everything will be available on digital platforms, you can no longer risk investing money in albums that will surely remain inside your home. This is the situation, but let’s go ahead anyway, what matters is having ideas and transmitting them in some way.
What are the recent listenings which influenced your work or you simply appreciated?
(A.V.). The music that influenced the writing of this album is part of my music DNA (from the English prog of the seventies to the alternative metal of the ’90s, also including grunge and psychedelic music). I am currently listening to bands that I loved and that I am discovering I do not like anymore.
(E.T.). I recently listened to Fever Ray, Ben Frost, Kamasi Washington, Jon Hopkins, Shobaleader One, Calibro 35, Jviews. They released really fresh and innovative album in their own ways. Then I never stop listening to the great classics such as Lucio Battisti’s “Anima Latina”, Franco Battiato’s “La Voce Del Padrone” and “L’Arca di Noe”, “I Care Because You Do” by Aphex Twin, “Map of What Is Effortless” of Telefon Tel Aviv, Converge’s “Jane Doe” and “Miss Machine” by The Dillinger Escape Plan.