Enrico Coniglio: I
Silentes Tapestry

Enrico Coniglio I Under the Snow: Dialogue One

Italian composer Enrico Coniglio enhances his reputation considerably with two outstanding new releases, one a solo cassette-based affair and the other a split work with Under The Snow. Out and About, the Hypnos-released work Coniglio recently produced in collaboration with Emanuele Errante and Elisa Marzorati under the Herion name indicated that the music Coniglio was creating had advanced to a higher level of refinement, and these latest releases provide additional confirmation of same.

He's a natural fit for Silentes Tapestry's Collezione Del Silenzio project, which involves allocating the twenty-six alphabet letters to a corresponding number of Italian experimental acts (Fabio Orsi & Flushing Device, Under The Snow, Maurizio Bianchi, and others). The music, issued in cassette tape format (hand-numbered and limited to 100 copies), is designed to capture the artist's vision of silence, and Coniglio's impressive two-track result shows him to have elevated his sound-generating abilities to a new level of sophistication and sensitivity. I have no details about sound sources in this case but presumably guitar, electronics, and digital treatments form at least part of the originating materials. Regardless, the two long-form pieces—seventeen and nineteen minutes, respectively—find Coniglio creating elegant swathes of deeply textural ambient-drones that develop with assurance and deliberation. Coated in soft layers of hiss, wave-like masses drift in slow-motion, sometimes with subtle hints of industrial noise creeping in to expand the drones' dimensional character. Though the material is primarily concerned with textural depth as opposed to melodic development or narrative trajectory, it's immersive nonetheless, the second piece especially, which brings its textural elements—crackle, smears, rumbles—into even sharper relief than the first. Muffled horn tones billow on the distant horizon as near-phantom presences, while metallic shapes surge insistently amidst a thick stream of crackle and hiss. The piece as a whole exudes a nebulous and ghostly quality that only makes it all the more satisfying as listening material.

Coniglio's four tracks on Dialogue One don't differ radically in style from those on I, though the former are in spots perhaps louder and more texturally wide-ranging. Next to no details are provided about sound sources (save for a thanks to Rachele for lending her voice to “Calls of the White”) so once again impressions must be based on listening, pure and simple. One of the recording's most attractive aspects is the contrast between Coniglio's four tracks (all of which are in the seven-minute vicinity) and the twenty-eight-minute opus by Under The Snow duo Stefano Gentile and Gianluca Favaron. Coniglio's “Long Distance” largely presents itself as a monotone stream of electrical sputter and fuzz that might very well have started out as an outdoors field recording, though a modest array of musical pitches do penetrate the track's rippling fog during its final minutes. Rachele's aforementioned voice is transformed into ethereal exhalations of angelic character during the comparatively soothing “Calls of the White,” while the gaseous “Century Dome” inhabits an equally celestial sphere before plunging into a prickly bath of seasqualls and electrified smears. The generous running time of “Resonant Cuts” gives Under the Snow ample opportunity to play with its lab equipment and to do so unhurriedly. As a result the piece grows ever more hypnotic as its myriad sounds accumulate, and the listener quickly surrenders to the music's organic flow of lo-fi electroacoustic sounds and extreme juxtapositions. Burbling voices, echoing bell tones, wheezing harmonicas, and grinding motor engines swim in a seething and always dense mix that experiences multiple twists and turns during its abstract journey. In short, Dialogue One shows Coniglio and Under the Snow to be kindred spirits of the first order.

June 2011