Giulio Aldinucci – Spazio Sacro
Available as CD TRS053 in Digipak (150 copies) and a deluxe limited version (75 copies) Time: 40:37
Tracks: 1) The Hermit, 2) Ricordo, 3) Sator, 4) Come Un Immenso Specchio D’inverno, 5) The Liquid Room, 6) Mountain, 7) Camino
Memories get tucked away in our minds and emerge at unexpected moments; their return prompted by any of the senses, especially sound. Spazio Sacro (translation: Sacred Space) is a personal journey of Giulio Aldinucci’s time and recollections in and near his native village in the Tuscany region of Italy, where observances and sacred rites have occurred for centuries. It also appears there could be differing perspectives in this album, perhaps not just those of Aldinucci.
Giulio Aldinucci initially released three albums under the moniker of Obsil, and two albums since 2012 using his own name (Tarsia in 2012 on Nomadic Kids Republic label and the recent Aer on the Dronarivm label), as well as other side projects like his Postcards from Italy collaboration with Attilio Novellino (an album, live event and special gallery installation in London). His work travels fluidly between silence, edge of consciousness and crystalline lucidity.
I can speculate on whether a composition is a first or third person experience (as in The Hermit, which seems to start as an outdoor morning awakening, as a village returns to life), but it is clear when the memory is more personal and intimate, as in Ricordo. Initially, an observer in motion, traveling and then arriving. Eventually, there is slow movement through spaces, made apparent by different sounds passing by, entering and departing. Some sound images are clear and seem more recent, whereas those more distant in time are fleeting, layered and translucent (perhaps the memories less tangible and accessible with time). Yet, there is a sense of comfort in tradition and the sacred, heightened with choral voices.
Quiet moments are sometimes interrupted, from the initial reverie. Distractions enter and overpower the quietude of the moment in Sator. The chill of a season is evoked in Come Un Immenso Specchio D’inverno, while at the seaside with people nearby, where the winds and cold water can be heard. Liquid Room is the most ethereal, drifting in and out of choral passages and reverberant organ. There is also a peregrinating motion in this piece, as if wandering to seek a sonic focus which emerges at a little over three minutes in, before gently releasing its energy to silence.
Giulio Aldinucci at the Museo dell Antica Grancia in 2012 – Photo by Marco Masti
Mountain, while being from an experience of Aldinucci’s, instantly brought back a personal memory of a train trip that I took from Milan to Lausanne in the late 1980s, a rather bizarre experience passing from the northern Italian landscape by rail, then disappearing into a mountain, only to emerge on the other side in a completely altered countryside with buildings looking so different. It is in Mountain where the field recordings are absolutely vivid (some of the best I’ve ever heard in how they blend with the music). I actually found myself turning my head in my listening space to look for the source of some of the sounds, and to check if the birds that I was hearing was due to a window that I had left open—effectively deceptive in the transparency, recording and mastering of the album. The most curious and somewhat perplexing is the last track, Camino—I’m not sure if the title is a location (as in near Venice?). The title also translates to different things, depending on the language—and so, we have a mystery…sometimes music needs a conundrum. There is a strange rhythmically liquid sound mixed with periodic buzzing and a distant ship’s whistle, as well as cascading voices.
A common and most pleasant thread in Spazio Sacro is the recurrent appearance of gentle choruses and distant peaceful tones resembling a church organ, something that I have always found comforting, with or without a liturgical connection. Giulio Aldinucci’s work evokes a strong and clear sense of the places and times that occupy the memory chambers in his life, and the traditions at the heart of those recollections are timeless.
Photo of the Deluxe Edition
This is a solicited review.