Upside Down Recordings
DISTRO // VV AA - Michelangelo Antonioni, Trilogy and Epilogue 2cd

DISTRO // VV AA - Michelangelo Antonioni, Trilogy and Epilogue 2cd



The third and perhaps final project in the film director series which began with Andrei Tarkovsky - Another Kind Of Language and Yasujiro Ozu - Hitokomakura. Michelangelo Antonioni - Trilogy And Epilogue focuses upon 

the Italian auteur's landmark "tetralogy" of films L'Avventura (1960), La Notte 

(1961), L'Eclisse (1962) and Il Deserto Rosso (1963).

Antonioni was known for not being very keen to use music in his films, partially because he wanted the films to tell their stories free from "additional gloss". Therefore music was sparsely used - if at all. Antonioni considered the natural sounds or "background noises" of a film to be of enormous importance, and considered them to be the "true music" of a film. Obviously Antonioni's view resonates with and/OAR since environmental sound has always been it's main focus, and is one of the reasons why he was chosen for this project over other film directors. Composer Giovanni Fusco, whose music is (more or less) featured in most of Antonioni's films from the late 1950s to the early '60s said, "the first rule for any musician who intends to collaborate with Antonioni, is to forget that he is a musician!"

Yet, there is another composer who Antonioni worked with, that this project seeks to acknowledge and pay subtle homage to in addition to the director himself; because if it were not for his inspirational and pioneering minimal electronic music featured in "Deserto Rosso", this project might not have come together at all: Vittorio Gelmetti. Gelmetti's electronic work consistently came to mind during the planning stages of this project, and his influence can indeed be heard throughout this release.

The Wire   (June 2011)

"I am personally very reluctant to use music in my films, for the simple reason that I prefer to work in a dry manner, to say things with the least means possible," said Michelangelo Antonioni in 1961, the same period in which he shot the films L'Avventura, La Notte, L'Eclisse and Il Deserto Rosso. So it's appropriate that this collection of 24 homages to those films, following two previous and/OAR collections dedicated to Ozu and Tarkovsky, contains few obviously 'musical' elements: Dale Lloyd and Marihiko Hara both feature tentative pianos, and Kyle Bruckmann plays cor anglais on EKG's fine track, but otherwise we're in a world of vast spaces, ambiguous soundscapes, changing weather and glowing noise.

Atmospheric works by Juan Jose Calarco and Richard Garet could easily be soundtracks in their own right. i8u (aka Montreal's France Jobin) is hyper-minimal, shifting curtains of colour just barely there. Asher has possibly buried a string orchestra in his back yard, while Tomas Phillips melds chiming bells with intakes of breath (lifted from an Antonioni soundtrack?). Also excellent are Olivia Block with Adam Sonderberg, and Pali Meursault's filmic concrète, a dream of trains with squeaky window hinges. All these tracks are consistent with one another, meaning the collection works surprisingly well as a straight-through listen.

and/OAR's Ozu homage came accompanied by an online booklet of photos and track info, but here the link between music and films is never discussed, which suits Antonioni fine. Stuck in our memories, his images become the music's context. Its ambiguity fits them like a glove: Monica Vitti's bleak couplings, those urban landscapes where something or someone is missing. (Clive Bell)

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