[DSDM03] SANDRO MUSSIDA - RUEBEN [DIE SCHACHTEL]
Riding the razor’s edge between rigorous experimentation, innovation, and tradition, London based, Italian composer, cellist, and electronic performer, Sandro Mussida, joins the Die Schachtel family with Rueben, his third solo LP.
Active since the early 2000s, Sandro Mussida worked extensively with Mark Fell, Curl Collective, Lorenzo Senni, Oren Ambarchi, and Alessandra Novaga, among others, as well as a founding member of the interdisciplinary artists' group TQS Collective, before releasing his solo debut, Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibili, on Metrica in 2017, followed by Eeeooosss, released by Soave in 2019. Rueben, like its predecessor, deploys a microtonal vocabulary within a three-instrument sound palette and builds upon Mussida’s long-standing investigations of active listening, augmented by a developing practice that challenges aural perceptions of historical, non-equal-tempered tuning systems.
The third installment of Die Schachtel’s Decay Music series - launched to highlight inspired contemporary experimental efforts in the ambient, ethereal, and emotively abstract music - Rueben was recorded during 2018 in the church of St.Giusto in Volterra, Italy.
Deeply inspired by Italian Renaissance paintings encountered by Mussida during the work’s composition, and conceived at the intersection of acoustic and electronic aural fields, in careful response to space itself, the sounds of electric guitar, bass clarinet and cello - treated as minuscule sound atoms, rapidly projected to form structures of evolving densities - harmoniously enter into dialogue, forming a multi-layered, contemplative sonic landscape, within the interwoven complexity of their own reflections.
Central to Mussida’s work is the role of the performer, the experience of sound in a given space, and the relation of those sounds to memory and observation. Across the length of Rueben, bound to the work’s inspiration in the visual realm, the interplay between the senses blurs, presenting the act of listening as a mirror for the experience and legacies of seeing. In Mussida’s hands, sound emerges as a trace or memory suspended in a non-linear conception of time, where imprint, movement, and event, as they relate to place and happening, are perceived by the ear, recalling the Russian theologian Pavel Florenskij’s idea of ‘reverse time’, that likens temporal condition activated by interactions with art, as similar to that of dreams.
Vast in scope and intricate detail, the 9 discrete compositions that form Rueben unfold in a series of interconnected, shimmering landscapes of tone and texture, each, through the interplay of their elements, configuring a radically dense rendering of minimalist, ambient music that challenge the perceived boundaries of those historical definitions. The identity of individual sound sources fades against their collective whole, sculpting an inward-looking aural image of the church of St.Giusto, that echoes the radiance of the paintings that lay at the heart of the album’s inspiration. An inspired and radically forward-thinking realization of electro-acoustic music, Mussida pushes toward innumerable possible futures of experimental practice, imbued with ghosts and histories of the past.
© Henerico Rossi
“This is not music to listen to with your eyes closed, but rather, the opposite. It is music composed to magnify the action of the eyes, the sense of active observation in the present moment and of the space around us.”
- Sandro Mussida
Rueben is issued by Die Schachtel on vinyl in a one-time edition of 250 copies, pressed to 180g marble vinyl and housed in a pro-printed inner sleeve and jacket, featuring an original Sumi-e painting by Japanese artist and noise rock drummer Akihide Monna (Bo Ningen), contained in a silk-screen PVC sleeve.
Rueben | Music On Three Tuning Systems, For Electric Guitar, Bass Clarinet And Cello Samples
Composed and produced by Sandro Mussida between June and July 2018
Acoustic response recorded in the S.Giusto Church, Volterra, by Mirco Mencacci and Luca Ciarfella on August 12, 201
Edited and mixed in Perth, Western Australia, between March and April 2020
Mastering: Giuseppe Ielasi
Artwork and Type Design: Bruno Stucchi, dinamomilano.com
Cover ink painting: Akihide Monna (Bo Ningen)