Claudio Rocchi - Suoni Di Frontiera LP
Label: Die Schachtel
2017 doesn't give up! So far, the year has yielded an unparalleled stream of reissues and archival releases - stunning artifacts, emerging one after the next, from the shadowy depths of avant-garde music's remarkable, but far too neglected history. Following closely on the heals of their overwhelmingly ambitious five LP Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza box set, and paired with Echi Armonici da Antico, their LP of previously unheard recordings by Lino Capra Vaccina, the Milan based imprint Die Schachtel returns, raising the stakes with yet another shimmering work from Italy's incredible movement of musical Minimalism - a reissue of Claudio Rocchi's seminal Suoni Di Frontiera.
An unavoidable and formative element of Italy's long history of avant-garde music, is its resistance to category and definition. Even in the face of this, Claudio Rocchi's stunning Suoni Di Frontiera, originally released in 1976, is an anomaly - a body of introspective synthesizer works, stretching out to the world beyond. Italian experimental and avant-garde music from this period is distinct, in part, unlike other contexts in Europe and America, because many artists begin within the realms of popular music, slowly pushing toward more ambitious creative territories as time wore on. Rocchi is no exception. He entered the public eye during the late 1960's and early 70's, working within the idioms of psychedelic rock, folk, and prog. While some of Suoni Di Frontiera's elements are present in earlier and later works, nothing reaches the crystalline totality of its being. It is an anomaly - the lone, pure avant-garde gesture, in Rocchi's long and noted career.
Suoni Di Frontiera's ambition and breadth is overwhelming. It achieves what few have - realizing the dream set forth by the pioneers of early electronic music, creating a new democratic architecture of sound, as creatively ambitious, as it is accessible. It is a gesture of the avant-garde, which could have only emerged from the realms of pop - sixteen discrete works of acoustics instrumentation, electronics, processing, and synthesis - freestanding, and intertwined as a towering whole. An album which, despite the relentless pace of its challenges, is so seductive and inviting, that it offers an open door to an entire world beyond. Like so much of the Italian avant-garde's output, Suoni Di Frontiera is nearly impossible to locate - to constrain with simple definition. A restless constellation, delving from one possibly to the next - pulsing, rhythmic tones, sheets of pure abstraction, fragments of voice and environmental sound, captured and spun wild by tape loops, beautiful ambiences and space age sounds. The scope of what it approaches is so great, attempts to describe, let alone fully understand what it is, can only fall short.