REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
The plunderphonic use of classical materials in “K491KV421” remarks what Meyer wrote in 1967: “The change is possible. But it will tend to take the shape of a floating stasis.”
The Titanic has sunk. Music has drowned. Everything is rotting grace. This opening allows Dal Monte to present his “de natura sonorum”, navigating through the sounds of the planet, the history and the cosmos in a time of liquid modernity. “Le Caire en Avril” could be enough: a solar electronic excursion realized with recordings of Cairo traffic, vibrantly rhythmic and colorful in the key of Matmos – Mouse On Mars. However, the look on the shipwreck of music (or “in Music”) is even wider. “Boris On Broadway” rebuilds and breaks down a mosaic of fragments of Mussorgsky and sounds of metropolis arranged with a Bernsteinian excitement.
And then, there is the cosmic “Ionosfera”, perhaps with a timbre that reveals too much the bidimensional aspect of the synthetic orchestration. A tribute to Strauss, “Unser Abendrot”, micro-digital ballad of vivid spatiality. The conceptual and emotional circle of this work ends with three compositions (“Dgvnn-A”, “Zbrglt-B” and “Fdl-A”) in which samples of Don Giovanni, the Magic Flute and Fidelio are used, worked up to become sensorial vortexes. A personal and original approach; Different from the recomposed Deutsche Grammophone or the scenarios by James Ferraro. Less structuralist and sociological, more open to the amazement and the Mozartian sense of tragedy and amusement.
Dionisio Capuano- Blow up Jan. 2017
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
Reforming the Substance Is a work of reconstruction of our classical music heritage in an electronic way. A myriad of nanosamples from Mozart, Mussorgsky, Messiaen, etc are recompiled to give new form, hence new content, to classical music. Among the many possible ways to “reform the substance,” in this work electronic music is not perceived, and the result is a new classical music, free from rules and prejudices; Conceptual and emotional at the same time, far from classical or contemporary academicism. The video of UNSER ABENDROT, taken from the album, is inspired by Richard Strauss’ lieder, and it is the only track without samples, where everything is played with synthesizers. Strauss’ sentiment is rather present in the mood of the song, which reminds us of how, every sunset leads to a rebirth, a new dawn. This conscience brings hope in the dark and underwater, where the video takes place, a man is reborn as in a amniotic fluid. He resumes his journey, like the first amphibians on Earth, re-emerging in unknown lands. ”
Fabrizio Zampighi – sentireascoltare Jan. 2017
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
Giovanni Dal Monte has recently remastered his previous album of 2013, “Refoming the Substance”, adding three new tracks. As always, music for connoisseurs with pleasant, stimulating and surprising results.
In this reboot, the track “Pathosformel” was eliminated (a marvellous “cosmic” journey focused on compositions by British composers such as Frederick Delius and Gustav Holst), but three new tracks have been added: “Dgvnn-A”, “Zbrflt-B” and “Fdl-A”. These songs, 4-5 minutes long, represent the innovation of the album. The female mellow voices from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute meet/collide with electronic and sound distortions, with extramusical cuts and inserts. The result is suggestively distancing, disturbing, always unexpected.
The first of the other five tracks, already included in the previous edition of Refoming the Substance, opens the work majestically. Pleasant to listen to, “K491KV421” is almost fifteen minutes long. Starring again Mozart’s melodies, including a phantasmagoric passage accelerated by Laudate Dominum; and we are transported towards unknown celestial spheres. The next “Le Caire en Avril” begins cacophonically, as a mimesis of the well-known chaos of traffic in the Egyptian capital, to reach dreamy and serene harmonies, which may remind of a experimental Franco Battiato, who was fascinated by exoticism.
In the third track of the album, “Ionosfera”, some Nasa recordings mix with radio-signals and creepy noises, transporting us to unknown exoplanets with dark, mysterious boiling surfaces.
The following “Boris on Broadway” opens with Gershwin’s-like sparklings, juxtaposing samples of Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky to the noises of New York streets.
The fifth track, “Unser abendrot”, a tribute to Richard Strauss, is entirely composed by synthesizers: a slow exciting movement, like a sensual erotic dance, which fades out perhaps because the senses and the bodies are now exhausted by pleasure.
An important value of Dal Monte’s art is that, through his talented reinterpretation, “classical” music becomes “contemporary”, indeed experimental avant-garde. It’s as if the wonderful sounds of the past immerse themselves, with their immaterial and immortal life, in the dark ocean of today.
The evoked memory is renewed and we remain suspended between the ancient aesthetic and the present. An electronic, technological present, maybe hopeless for the future, and yet with the awareness that harmonies and confidence of the past centuries dissolved, when mankind believed in the beautiful, possible and radiant progress.
Hopes that have been destroyed forever by the transformation of the human world into a convulsive, chaotic, violent inhuman planet. And now, lost any illusion, it’s possible to relive those dreams only in a fragmentary and disarmonious way, with a residue of melancholy, harrowing nostalgia.
The most effective icon of the album is the cover image, with the floating naked musician, almost in utter darkness, completely relaxed in a water that we imagine to be warm and welcoming. Mysticism, memory, evasion, liberation from body limits… is what Dal Monte is able to induce in the listeners, if they freely and confidently surrender to the artist’s multi-sensorial music flow.
Rino Tripodi Lucidamente n. 133 january 2017
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
Best of 2016 music for Sound36 Magazine
An electronic music album that confirms the extraordinary ability of Giovanni Dal Monte to manipulate the sounds in order to recall images and memories from our deepest memory.
He is an artist who deserves the right consideration.
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
It’s with great pleasure that we propose again a work by Giovanni Dal Monte, a musician we have proposed and interviewed for the release of “Visible Music For Unheard Visions”. A multifaceted artist, one of the most appreciated of our avant-garde; he has given his musical impressions to cinema, theater and Art, always attracting enthusiastic reviews and great crowds.
A prominent artist, perhaps not completely understood by the Italian public yet, who is releasing today “Reforming The Substance”.
“Reforming The Substance,” like all of his works, has as characteristics the unique manipulation of sound matter.
Electronic and sampling are the tools Giovanni Dal Monte uses to manipulate sounds. Sounds that, in this case, come mainly from classical tradition, but also from everyday life and from nature. What comes out of it is a fascinating sound with clearly introspective and psychological connotations.
The cover photo put you back in time and in the subconscious looking for pictures, sounds, and buried sensations. This highly evocative value and strong psychological connotations represent the evolution from the stereotypes of electronic art of Giovanni Dal Monte’s music. From this long and fascinating journey of sound, for obvious reasons, we can not tell you everything, which is impossible, but I want to mention three precise moments. “Ionosfera” brings us back to the uneasy cosmic solitude. In fact, NASA recordings of the Earth’s ionosphere are sampled and transformed into music.
An idea that relates Dal Monte to Mickey Hart, drummer of the Grateful Dead, and to his project “Rhythms of the Universe”.
“Le Caire En Avril”, twelve minutes in which chaos and serenity, hope and uncertainty coexist.
A track in which Cairo’s traffic sounds is sampled and transformed into music.
What I like to highlight is how, during listening, my historical, social and political assessments have found a natural match with the rhythms imposed by Music.
We consider “K491KV421” as the symbol of this album, meaning that the regeneration of the traditional classical element prevails. Fragmentation, references and samples regenerate and revolutionize the sound matter by creating something completely new. I would say that “Reforming The Substance” project is to be considered very successful for at least two reasons: first of all, it gives a chance to revalue a (new) work that had always been difficult to find; secondly, its peculiar sound accessibility can be an excellent approach to the sound of this great artist.
Fortunato Mannino. SOund36 – 2016
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
Classical inspirations for Giovanni Dal Monte in “Reforming the substance”
After the release of “Visible music for unheard visions” in 2015, the musician and composer Giovanni Dal Monte, who has just accompanied the release of the monography in limited edition by graphic artist Nedo Merendi, now remasters his 2013 masterpiece “Reforming the substance”.
In this last project so far, Giovanni Dal Monte devoted himself to the “revision” of classical tunes with an electronic music approach.
Dal Monte gets inspired mainly from Mozart and Mussorgsky, taking samples from them to reassemble the material as in a jigsaw puzzle of contemporary notes that mimics the original language to make it more elastic in order to attract a transversal audience.
In this reboot, Dal Monte has added three fragments, “Dgvnn-A”, “Zbrflt-B” and “Fdl-A”, which serve to interpret the composer’s creative path in this album.
The three tracks, apparently more experimental, are in fact studies of the redefinition of form of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the Magic Flute, and Beethoven’s Fidelio.
(PRIMAPRESS) – ROMA – October 20th- 2016-Giovanni Scanu
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE 2016 RE-RELEASE
He has been in the most experimental musical scenes for at least30 years, known with different stage names, and he also realized soundtracks of independent films. “Reforming The Substance” starts from classical western music samplings, mainly Mozart and Mussorsky’s, to reprocess and rebuild a musical material that has much to do either with classical music and with the boldest experiments, without forgetting fast passages in Progressive.
The basic idea of ”Reforming The Substance” is therefore to start from known materials to give them a new form and new meaning. The attempt to rebuild the musical tradition to give it a twist of modernity works perfectly, and even the short passages in oriental music work very well. At a merely cerebral level, the challenge is won, but Giovanni Dal Monte has made an album that is more for the mind than for the soul, an operation that can gratify the brain but struggles to find the way to the “Pure emotion”, unless you are a long-time fan of experimental music.
In that case, “Reforming The Substance” will be a real joy, while others will find it interesting and maybe difficult at the same time.
Massimo Garofalo, september 28th -2016
Hello Giovanni, and welcome to the pages of Sound36. When I first heard “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” all my preconceptions of a work of that title were overturned. The first question I need to ask you, therefore, is how you would define your art?
Perhaps simply as the manifestation of the flow of my thoughts, of how I organise them and how I express them. The aesthetic position I have chosen to take reflects how I feel, how I am and how I choose to be, in the way that one gradually develops and attempts to improve one’s personality over time.
I have created a world in which I find hidden meanings and harmonies, within which I can play a game with the balance of sonic and aesthetic design. It is a very serious game, however, and very important to me. Its is a game in which ideas, desires, experiences and limitations – but also the objective world – all contribute to its development. I cannot restrict the imaginative impulse to a solid and crystallised form, for we constantly change and develop throughout life.
I listened to “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” several times before this interview and I find it brilliant. Could you explain, briefly, its genesis?
Initially I thought of calling it “Music For The Blind And Deaf”, but that title could possibly have given offence to the deaf and blind communities, which was the last thing i would have wanted. I also wanted to express the idea of a musical form which could be felt and touched, physically, both as an external stimulus, but also deep within.
The Pomo Da DaMo Gallery asked me to present an exhibition of my videos and they called asked the well-known critic Luca Beatrice to curate it. I wanted to demonstrate the possibility of music – in this case my own – to stimulate the flow and coalescence of ideas, of thoughts, of consciousness itself..
And so we have “exhibited” the music.
The album accompanies the exhibition, as if it were the exhibition catalogue. The various tracks date from different periods, some old, some brand new.
If I were to define “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” as a kind of sonic Rorschach Test, would I be at all close to your original vision, as the auteur?
Yes, why not? The Rorschach inkblots suggest different images to each person, and one of my personal goals is to evoke images, dialogues and metamorphoses in the mind of the music’s listener or, rather, since the music already contains these elements, to project them.
Your albums are charmingly individualistic. If there is one, what would you say is the common thread which unites them?
They are all very different. Each one is evocative of a particular time, a particular person, a particular memory. The thread that runs through them is that they are all signposts to emotional pathways I have explored through my life. My music actively resists the sacrifice of compromise and stylistic pigeonholing. No two projects are exactly alike and that is how i like it. I do not deal in stylistic or linguistic orthodoxies. If there is coherence, then is exists purely in method and approach.
In summary, in the first two (“Sulla Natura Delle Cose” and “Lo-Fi Apocripha”) I wanted to introduce a wash of electronics, – at that the time one of my new and abiding passions – as a musical backdrop on the sonic canvas. Next up, there was a dive into “Glitch” with the third (“Birds Make Love With Electric Ladybugs”, a work composed entirely from the sounds of birds and insects) and then an electronic immersion in Jazz with the fourth album (“The Opposite Of Orange”). The fifth, (Superanima) had a difficult gestation and four long years of labour until its birth at a time of great personal change. The sixth, (“Perverse Or Polymorphous”) marks the end of that period, with a deliberately ironic twist, in that it is almost entirely composed of samples of Big Band records with stuck needles, vocal ghosts of classic crooners, lyrical parodies of Cole Porter, etc. The seventh, (“Reforming the Substance”) is a study in orchestral music but in an electronic key, and then finally we have a kind of repurposing of the creative vision in the eighth and final piece..
Are you working on a new project?
I’m constantly working on new ideas, creating new projects. In the immediate future, I’m doing some music that will be published in tandem with a book on the paintings of Nedo Merendi, by the publisher Cesare Reggiani. After that, a concert is being planned at the San Leonardo Theatre in Bologna, for the Angelica Festival, a renowned experimental music festival, and which will feature Simone Cavina on percussion.
But perhaps, more than planned projects, I have desires…
I would love to remix some of my old work; I’d like to contact some of the artists with whom I have worked in the past to create something new; I’d also like to find the time and the resources to realise new ideas for videos which have been in my head for a while. I’d love then to be able to organise an ensemble of musicians to play my music, to transform the sound from a computerised work to an organic manifestation on different instruments, though not necessarily traditional.
My last question in interviews is always to ask the give the interviewee carte blanche to decide his or her own ideal question. What have I not asked you that you would have liked me to ask?
If anything, I’d like you to invite me to come and play in your area, in a beautiful theater.
Kathodik, March 2016
For an artist like Giovanni Dal Monte (aka La Jovenc) one could easily write a whole chapter simply of biographical history. I don’t want to become mired in purple prose when discussing the artist, so I’ll just drop a few names and then attempt a concise introduction. Think Barry Adamson, and his links to David Lynch, Billie Holiday, music to accompany readings / poetry / short films / Silent Movies / film scores (the director Bruce La Bruce chose his song “Going Home” for the soundtrack of the film “Otto, Up With Dead People” alongside other artists such as CocoRosie and Antony and the Johnsons).
It is difficult to describe such a varied album. One is consistently inclined to respond more in images rather than with simple technical description. I envisage this album as the perfect soundtrack for a Kubrick film. An intricate Persian carpet of complex emotions, vibrations and hallucinations is interwoven seamlessly with a scenario of classical, electronic and ambient sounds… and spectral visions… ghosts. The first ghost is deeply sensual yet disturbing (in “Cafe Richmond”) and the second almost elegantly classical and nineteenth century (in “Waves That Never Will Be Heard”). “Tremor 1” comes on all 1990 and shoves you bodily under a speaker!… and then, quite suddenly, you find yourself locked in a cage, alone and melancholy, (“From The Cage”) but you are busted out again to dance with a euphoric soul – at least in terms of the vocals – in the exquisite conclusion “Let’s Go Minimal”.
This is a startling album, its songs self-contained worlds, seemingly unrelated but connected by vibrant, flashing synapses. There is energy, motion and the crackle of nervous tension. Giovanni has revealed very little about this record, which is all to the good. Some say it can be difficult listen. That is purely a surface veneer of illusion, for me; one just has to give oneself, to surrender to the rhythm, to feel and experience and to await the manifestation of the images. We, the listeners, become the directors of this film. Its genre? Minimal voltage and a short circuit. Hats off to you, Giovanni!
BLOW UP, No. 211, December, 2015
PAI prizewinner in 2006, co-author of the Bruce La Bruce soundtracks, Dal Monte has graced the pages of Blow Up several times in the past (Numbers 64-76-92).
A sonic interpretation of the homonymous video exhibition (see on YouTube, “Le Caire en Avril”), his new CD compiles a variety of compositions with contrasting structures and textures, which still approach a distinct cohesion of an almost but not quite palpable vibrancy, more of a mood than a style.
Perhaps the title itself induces the delusion: images of psychic projection and visions of sound as colour and image, illuminating the dark corridors of the mind.
There is an infusion of electronics, from Matmos-style rhythmic constructs (“Tremor 1”), intelligent dance music (“Tremor 2”) and Elevator Muzak (“Let’s Go Minimal”).
Suddenly, there is a crawling chaos of insane loops and unhinged rhythms (“Café Richmond”) and (in “From the Cage”) a Saharan caravan with the Muezzin wail of a Honsinger cello on the horizon, accompanied by a swell of operatic voices.
The most visionary moments, wherein the orchestral music samples create a wailing wall of Remembrance, panning from memory to memory (recalling Antonioni, Hitchcock ..), are “Waves That Never Will Be Heard” and “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen”. The spectacle of a drunken elliptical waltz, becoming more disquieting with every successive hearing, as when one looks at a familiar painting, and is suddenly aware – and mesmerised – by details hitherto unseen, mysterious presences, strange shadows that were not there before. The composer describes our captivation: “the keys to this work, I think, are the memories, the emotions, the relationship between living beings.. and even those who are no longer alive.”
E20 ROMAGNA ASCOLTA, Oct, 2015
There are always highly-regarded “unknown” artists – “best-kept secrets” – whose music is known and loved just by those in the know, and one often wonders why certain performers seem to remain far less well-known than others. The new work by Giovanni Dal Monte took this writer somewhat by surprise, even though the composer has been active since the early nineties within the experimental electronic music scene, having released some eight albums during his career. His new work is entitled “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” and certainly fits within the genre of contemporary electronic music. It is a trip that mixes urgent noise with a darkly compelling sensuality as both digital and acoustic sounds intertwine and mate, climaxing in a fascinating organic soundscape. The debut song may be a brief, petulant and strangely skewed stumble entitled “Cafe Richmond,” it is immediately succeeded by “Waves That Never Will Be Heard” propels the listener aloft on a dazzling symphonic flight, which reveals its true nature in amazing digital deadlifts.This work is an original and brilliant journey deep inside a soundworld made flesh, where a new classical sensibility emerges phoenix-like from the ashes of modernity. The two movements entitled “Tremor” are the pieces most obviously close to Electronica while the closing track is completely divorced from the previous atmospheric pieces having a more conventional approach and even a hint of Techno. It si no coincidence that the song is entitled “Let’s Go Minimal”. I think it is high time we stopped applying the phrase “best-kept secret” to Dal Monte’s music and began to appreciate that, within Italian experimental music, he is very definitely here to stay!
ITHINK MAGAZINE, Oct, 2015
What we have here is a work that demands to be handled with care, and to be listened to with rapt attention and a very open mind. Giovanni Dal Monte offers up a work which is, to say the least, distinctively bold and dripping with musicality. “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” transmutes the base metal of sound into three-dimensional sensory alchemy. . This is full-on Synaesthesia and exactly the masterplan of this eclectic composer within the seven tracks of the album.
It begins with “Cafe Richmond”, the darkly ambient whirlpool which is only the prologue to “Waves That Never Will Be Heard,” evocative and magnificent – how amazingly he reshapes Fin de Siècle samples, transforming harmonies into epic chorales – powerfully cinematic, a soundtrack to an imaginary film, freeze-framing time itself with heartstopping dramatic power.
“Tremor 1” and “Tremor 2” (separated by “From The Cage”) are bright, fun-loving and more conventionally Electro, but the more academic pieces lose neither bite nor character from such an association. There is tremendous sonic gravitas, with impacts and oscillations which leave the listener subdued by sheer power but never by boredom. The grand finale, “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen”, is an evocative climax: seven minutes wherein lies the essence of the artist’s musical manifesto: a sonic silver screen upon which he projects his darkly romantic, decadent Film Noir soundscapes. This is not simply sound and vision; this is sound as vision!
In total contrast, “Let’s Go Minimal” is an electro-funk bonus track which is metabolised by the body into a slightly alien but believably hedonistic romp!
“Visible Music For Unheard Visions” requires repeated listening to appreciate all its fascinating nuances and experimental depths. This is far more than just a pleasant, mildly diverting Pop confection. Giovanni Dal Monte has created a work of considerable power and maturity, full of deeply stimulating and satisfying digital textures, beautifully, skilfully realised, interesting and full of ideas. We want more.
GIOVANNI DAL MONTE – VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
The Art of Giovanni Dal Monte cannot be explained in mere words , one can only try to live it! This is true for his music , as well as his visual installations . In this case “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” is not simply an album of Electronica , Nu-Soul , Dark Ambient or Classical music . It becomes something more: a new codex, an entirely new language created to express the disarming beauty of his work. The key is attention, born of curiosity. From Mussorgsky to Mouse on Mars, emotions fluctuate and flicker away like dying insects, seismic shifts shatter, Summer sounds freeze to subzero, memories pulsate in organic noise. Imagine the sound, feel it rushing orgasmically to fill you, then coolly toss it in the trash!
Beatrice Pagni, Shiver Webzine, Sept, 2015
Rockerilla No. 421, Sept, 2015
From the video art installation that Giovanni Dal Monte has created for the Pomo Da DaMo Gallery, here we have the soundtrack album, demonstrating his omnivorous curiosity and eclecticism, expressed electronically without the slightest concession to lazy categorisation. From a machine glitch where orchestral loops form a sonic spanner in the works, the echoes of Eno and Byrne’s “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” to Battiato’s “M. Elle Le Gladiator,“ from shamanistic invocations to evocations of Italian opera, and strong doses of minimal Techno, all the raw materials are melted down and recycled to create a visual manifestation of the music. Baffling and fascinating .
Rumore. No. 284, Sept, 2015
One may can deduce from the title, “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” that, in the world of Giovanni Dal Monte, the boundaries between the visual and the acoustic are rather blurred. In their sound version (the visual manifestation was an exhibition held at the Il Pomo Da DaMo Gallery, curated by the renowned critic Luca Beatrice) these seven compositions use a diverse sonic pallette and have a Plunderphonic dimension. On progressive tides of orchestral sound, “Waves That Never Will Be Heard” and “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen” , the music is channelled through a space-time loop in “Cafe Richmond,” while the only concession to deliberately contrived sound is heard in the drum machine rhythms of “Tremor 1” and “Tremor 2” and the sexy flirtation with Dance music which is “Let’s Go Minimal.” A fine essay in sound sculpture.
Alessandro Besselva Averame
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS – INTERVIEW
How should music be played in order to be seen? Beginning with this conundrum, simultaneously very simple and tremendously complex, Giovanni Dal Monte, an experimental electronic music composer, released his latest album, “Visible Music For Unheard Visions,” on the Sonica Botanica label on 14th July. We are presented with a difficult work, perfectly in line with the evolution of an artist who, since the second half of the eighties, has always created his own musical language, and to what degree Giovanni Dal Monte is passionate about “Visible Music” is confirmed by his biography: in addition to having won the prestigious award PAI (Italian Avant Garde Award) in 2006, his music is also figures prominently in the films of on Bruce La Bruce, the Canadian cult director. A certain absurdist quality, ultramodern but also nostalgic, emerges from the tracks on this album. “Waves That Never Will Be Heard”, for example, seems to drift out of a dark, smoky apartment in a Belle Époque novel. There is a hint of the sordid world of the waterfront, but viewed romantically through rose-tinted spectacles. Often, the pieces writhe and contort like snakes swallowing their own tails or rush and retreat like wild currents beating against the dock, in a hypnotic, changeless pattern. Each repetition, as consistent and powerful as the last, never diminishing, feels as fresh, exciting and invigorating as the first. These qualities made it essential to call Giovanni Dal Monte. Without his authoritative voice, how could we possibly hope to understand the animus which motivates one to create such work?
The music can be seen? How so?
You “see” the music with your ears, with your senses. The meaning of the music is revealed in many sensory ways, but it is the mind, or the spirit, which makes the sound visible to the eyes.
Do you see “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” as a concept album or a collection of distinct episodes from your life experience?
They are indeed separate episodes, quite distinct. My previous album “Reforming The Substance” was a concept album, purely in the sense that it developed around an initial concept. It was much more a conceptual work than this one. My last work I think is much more heterogeneous, evoking very varied emotional responses.
I was very impressed by “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen” because it has an imperious swagger, dark of course, but terribly imperious, almost as if you were inspired, perhaps subconsciously, by some Science Fiction soundtracks from the eighties.
This track was composed for a Lebanese film. Circumstances changed and the film was never completed, yet the track remained and I loved it. Certainly, “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen” like many of my compositions, has a definite cinematic dimension… which goes full circle back to “Visible Music”, music which evokes a strong visual image. I create music like a painter, layering samples like brushstrokes. If one uses the voice of Marlene Dietrich against an Industrial background, one creates something new: a change from Industrial to Archaeological to an echo of the thirties, and by doing that, it’s like painting a scene. My music is also based on synaesthesia, the manifestation of sound as colour.
In “Let’s Go Minimal” you joke about your inability to be satisfied by present day minimalism and the aesthetic restrictions of political correctness and homogeneity”. So the question must be asked: how do you think Electronic Music in general and, in particular, experimental Electronic Music, have evolved since from your first involvement until the present day?
Honestly, I fell in love with Electronic Music quite late. I come from a background of other genres, such as Jazz, and Classical. However I do not tend to like “Next Big Thing.” Looking around me, there is a lot of perfectly literate, yet safe and ultimately formulaic music. Respectable, perhaps, but lacking authenticity or sincerity. It is, at least in my personal view, never challenging or confrontational and remains always synthetically pretty, emptily elegant and perfectly, blandly poised. Of course I do like the concepts of stripping away layers and paying meticulous attention to detail, but when this becomes a convention, an industry standard subject to homologation by upper middle class, upper middle income, bon chic bon genre arbiters of taste (in design, in fashion, in music…for example the futuristic muzak one might hear in an ultra-minimalist apartment, muzak as non-intrusive, dispassionate and featureless as the furnishings), then it becomes populist, conformist and superficial. Even in architecture, minimalism has corrupted the imagination: the organic, vital and alive, has been replaced by the static, characterless and stillborn. For me, Art is something that pounds like a hammer, not something which can be beaten and nailed into dull stereotypes. Of course my hipster friends make me listen to a lot of bands, some of them very good, but precious few capture my imagination. Electronic music is a constantly evolving thing, and I tend to respond to those parts of it not geared towards the dancefloor.
“Visible Music For Unheard Visions” orbits the memory, like a planet orbits a star . How important is it to you to recall the past when creating something new?
I think that is a fundamental part of the creative process. One can use all the technology one likes but, in the end, one will always have to utilise human creativity. Art is really a constantly-changing entity, which acknowledges and reflects its time. If I were to paint a fifteenth century Madonna now, I would be out of time. Having said that, one can, of course, create art which is timeless, universal, but that art will still always recall the time in which one creates it, and therein lies the difference between creating a piece of art which recalls memories of past glories, and simply creating a copy of a fifteenth century original. There are a thousand things to discover.
Mattia Nesto– OUTSIDERS MUSICA.IT
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
Artist with a capital A, Giovanni Dal Monte has always dealt not simply with music but also with images, sadly to the general disinterest of the Italian public, but with curiosity from beyong the Alps.
“Visible Music For Unheard Visions” is an album that “plays” with electronics in all its guises facets taking on Nu-Soul as well as Dark-Ambient and Classical samples (Mussorgsky primarily) and Cyberpunk.
More cerebral than emotional, “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” is a successful experimentation in the study of the language of music, with very clear ideas.
Sophisticated, intelligent, sometimes startling, “Visible Music for Unheard Visions” is not for the casual ear, but is a defiant, confident album that will prove inordinately satisfying to the curious listener.
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
To define Giovanni Dal Monte simply as a musician is a tremendous understatement . Get ready to listen, read and, indeed, watch his latest album “Visible Music For Unheard Visions”.
The album begins with a violent birth:
‘The title came to me thinking of an encounter (in a cafe in Richmond, London) with Barry Adamson and his young manager. The label, Trepok, for which the song was to be published, called it “a dragon swallowing its own tail.” In fact the samples are developed in orbits of different amplitudes, like planets, so that an alignment occurs only once in a certain number of planetary orbits; thus, the chaos in the macrocosm, is realigned and harmony is attained. The tempo here follows the cycles of orbits greater than our vision. From our all-too-close viewpoint, it is impossible to discern the bigger picture.’
The piece contains a sample from Kaffe Matthews.
Waves That Never Will Be Heard
‘I recorded this track (along with the track “SHADOWS THAT NEVER WILL BE SEEN”) for a film, an Italian – Lebanese co-production, which remains unfinished.
The waves (sound waves, sea waves) that will never be heard. This song is all about regret, loss and memory.’
It contains samples M.P.Mussorgsky.
Electronic rhythms (think Mouse on Mars or Matmos)… malfunctions. Here the melody disappears, and only the rhythmic harmonies are left to transform slowly, over time, in a diachronic manner which suggests a story unwinding.
‘Along with “Tremor 2,” this is the only piece on the album which utilises drum machines and deliberately avoids samplers, which is my own personal preference, actually.’
From The Cage
‘This is one of the first tracks I recorded when I upgraded from using a four-track recorder to a computer. I think it dates from 1998, but I included it in the album because I have always wanted to release it.’
It is a memory soundtrack in which samples of the cellist Tristan Honsinger blend with ultra-dimensional choirs. Very lyrical.
‘The second chapter of Tremor 1 (see above).Electronic rhythms (think Mouse on Mars or Matmos)… malfunctions. Here the melody disappears, and only the rhythmic harmonies are left to transform slowly, over time, in a diachronic manner which suggests a story unwinding’
Shadows That Never Will Be Seen
‘I recorded this track for the same unfinished Italian-Lebanese film as “Waves That Never Will Be Heard”
Once again, the music moves like waves, ebbing and flowing in the endless cycle of tides, endlessly repeating like a mantra which gently caresses the ear.’
Let’s Go Minimal ( Bonus track )
“Really, this track was intended to be truly minimal… One evening I wanted to relax and compose something that would work well as airport music, as Brian Eno had so memorably done. Instead, it developed into something else entirely, anything but minimal , an engaging slab of progressive funk, a joking musical comment on the impossibility I find in ever being truly satisfied with a minimal aesthetic, due to its being synonymous today with “respectablility” and the way in which it has become standardised, superficial and deliberately commercial.’
A voice screams “Be elegant… do not exaggerate … be minimal!” while a vortex of rhythms draws us in to a wild chorus: “Please say it ; say that you need something more … if you are not comfortable with minimal … you can have conceptual! ” … Which all smacks rather of a sarcastic threat . This track contains traces of Marlene Dietrich!
Gianluigi Peccerillo DLSO (Dance Like Shaquille O’Neill) 29th July, 2015
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
Let’s begin by saying that this album is neither easy listening nor for music for the masses. Far removed from the traditional concept of song, orientated towards an alien hybrid of Classical music and all manner of electronic manipulation, the album attempts to evoke in the mind of the listener memories, images buried in the subconscious.
The title, not surprisingly, is “Visible Music For Unheard Visions” and bears the signature of Giovanni Dal Monte, no stranger to this kind of sonic art, and whose presence here is definitely most welcome.
A conceptual work? Hermetic? Minimal? The answer to all these questions is partly yes, an immediate response provoked by the album, particularly after the first disorienting listen. Disorientation that stimulates playback or, if you prefer, intense listening. Only later, in fact, does the real essence of this work – the psychologically evocative element – emerge.
In the silence of my nocturnal room, beneath the pale, silver glow of the full moon, this work brough to life images of the past, long dormant in my subconscious, evoked faces and events which hitherto seemed to have been erased by the passage of time. An intense experience that I hope everyone can share, in their own way, in their own quiet, solitary corner.
This is a journey which will resonate with those who wish to unlock the long-dormant secrets of past memories.
Fortunato Mannino (Sound 36)
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
Thought-provoking ideas influence the new album by Giovanni Dal Monte – alias La Jovenc – electronic investigator and video artist since the late 80s : the music becomes visible because it triggers the imagination, while the visions are to be heard by being (re)connected with a corresponding sound . In these seven instrumental pieces you will surf a wave of synaesthetic effects to a tidal high where conceptualism and emotion collide.
There are the noisy and chaotic beats of “Cafe Richmond,” the undulating melancholia of “Waves That Never Will Be Heard” and “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen”, the deliberately seismic, rhythmic disturbance of “Tremor 1” and “Tremor 2” , and the elegant lyricism of “From The Cage”.
Elena Raugei, Mucchio Selvaggio, No.732/733 – 2015
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
A sonic experience far from easy or commercial, which suggests ambient, mantra-like sounds, Classical motifs, strange chimaeras, emotive melodies, ethereal song, gentle diminuendoes, Proustian memories but also the shock of violent noise, machine malfunctions, sudden shifts, a chaos of cacophony, surges of organic sound, harmonies and disharmonies, pulsing rhythms … In short, this is electronica in the service of the most nuanced and subtle emotion.
And all of this lies within just one album: “Visible Music for Unheard Visions” (produced by SonicaBotanica and out July 14th), an experiment in the achieving of a double synesthesia; music that we can see and visions that we can hear. We are talking about the new work of the musician, performer, video artist – he is rather beyond definition! – Giovanni Dal Monte (also known as La Jovenc). Operating since the eighties, he is best known abroad (thanks to his numerous collaborations with international electronic music artists, festival appearances, soundtrack composition) than in Italy, where he has, nevertheless, received many awards in the experimental and avant garde fields.
The listener/viewer is advised simply to surrender, without imposing conscious or rational restrictions, to the audio-visual experience of the seven tracks on “Visible Music For Unheard Visions.” One should simply lose oneself within the luminescent walls of this magical, elusive labyrinth. Yes, some songs may appear harsh and disorientating, but one cannot help but be mesmerised by the web of enchantment Dal Monte weaves in “Waves That Never Will Be Heard” and “Shadows That Will Never Be Seen”. In “From The Cage” lyrical voices pursue each other through multidimensional mazes of mysterious dissonance, while “Pop” and easier electronic rhythms appear in the diverting “Let’s Go Minimal”, a seemingly contradictory, and in fact sarcastic, comment on dissatisfaction with “respectable” music. This is an evocative trip, following cryptic, enigmatic dances through shadow and light, between past and future.
Rino Tripodi – LucidaMente, no. 115, July, 2015
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS
Among the many groups that make up the musical universe, Giovanni Dal Monte definitely belongs to that of the “overlooked” (or ” criminally ignored”, if you prefer). He is a musician, a composer, an artist, a filmmaker and an important presence on the electronic music scene.
When discussing “Visible Music For Unheard Visions”, his new album, the first impression is of the dazzling array of styles and influences contained within. Everything is here, absolutely everything!
“Cafe Richmond ” kicks off the dance (although there is little sense of danceability in this piece) with a Dark Ambient atmosphere redolent of tension and insecurity. The piece follows a cyclical pattern, with its central motif repeated at irregular intervals. A mathematical equation without a solution.
“Waves That Never Will Be Heard”, stands is in stark contrast to its predecessor. Nostalgic, “Retro,” and consisting of samples of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, nineteenth century composer of Tsarist Russia.
“Tremor 1” and “Tremor 2” represent perhaps the most conventional (or the least unconventional) tracks on the album. The bpm is back and the percussion and bassline are more similar to other contemporary “laptop” artists.
The pearl in the oyster, the piece that justifies the entire album, is “Shadows That Never Will Be Seen”, a perfect “soundtrack”. I immediately thought of John Williams (and Star Wars), at least until the arrival of the lyrical voice (which becomes distorted during the progression of the piece, moving along unpredictable pathways).
With the bonus track, “Let’s Go Minimal” we reach the climax of an album which is particularly atypical and unique in the electronic music scene, no simply in terms of Italian music. Past and present collide against a Cyberpunk backdrop, but there is still a playfully romantic conclusion. Giovanni Dal Monte reveals himself be an eclectic artist, able to play with music with intelligence and good taste. Recommended for everyone.
Jacopo Misiti LOUDVISION, July, 2015
VISIBLE MUSIC FOR UNHEARD VISIONS (Review from the eponymous exhibition , curated by critic Luca Beatrice , at Pomo Da DaMo Gallery)
To speak today of contamination may seem a cliché , given the trend in the arts to create a fusion of disciplines: painters become film makers, musicians become artists, performers become auteurs, and vice versa, of course.
If there is an aesthetic breakthrough in our generation, especially among those who emerged in the 90s , it is precisely the desire to overcome the barriers of language and to wish to operate in different artistic areas with equal facility and inspiration. Today an artist is no longer solely a painter, a sculptor, a filmmaker, but has recourse to all these disciplines, according to which is appropriate on a given occasion . Sometimes one may find oneself unable to develop a cohesive identity or a credible concept of style, but by taking such significant risks, one may succeed in demonstrating the vitality and complexity of a project .
Giovanni Dal Monte belongs to this increasingly growing groups of artists which expresses itself in 360 degrees: it is very difficult to define his work, and any attempt to limit pigeonhole him is doomed to fail. If one seeks to find a nexus of connection between his different experiences, one can say that his work strives to translate sound into image, and to use music as an additional dimension to video. Assuming that the sound is the most disposable art form, Dal Monte turns this the assumption on its head and literally tries to sculpt the notes to determine their final form: the sound has, in effect a depth, an essence, and, indeed, a burden, especially if accessed via different media beyond the simple listening that one can do.
We were talking of the ’90s at the beginning of this feature. Well, it must be said that that decade ushered in an entirely different way of making music. It was generally understood that the most experimental and avant-garde form of music was Electronica, able to most eloquently articulate the “Do It Yourself” Punk ethic, which Andy Warhol had already originated in the creation of his paintings. In the past, in fact, there was far more of a clear distinction between “entertainment” and “serious” music, while in the last two decades or so, all that is needed to investigate any kind of sound is a laptop, thereby slashing production and distribution costs. It stands to reason that Electronica has developed exponentially alongside the Internet, thanks to different sites and a lack of filters, which has largely made redundant the old system imposed by the record labels.
In the music of Dal Monte, the influences are varied. Some have spoken of a spectrum ranging from John Zorn to Matmos for instance, not to mention ethnic music and avant-garde Minimalism. Contemporary art and music have a similar effect in terms of giving true importance to the word “independent”, the crucible where ideas are formed, their particles in collision, with so many attractions but little regard for the dictates of market response.
When the mainstream is in the stranglehold of the “big money,” which imposes new, draconian rules and stymies creativity through commercial constraints, “independent” is the place where you go to find that gloriously, wonderfully imperfect, volcanic upsurge of primal creativity, before it is reshaped, remodelled, and repackage as a safe, synthetic echo of its former self.
In this sense Dal Monte is an experimental artist who can exhibit his work in the new, fresh, vital atmosphere of Pomo Da Damo Gallery, without compromising the integrity, the poetry of his vision and with every diverse aspect of his creativity remaining fully engaged. Visible Music for Unheard Visions, an apparent contradiction in terms, is the title of his solo exhibition, the catalog of which comes as a CD, with illustrated booklet, as the tracks form the original material from which the exhibition took shape. They accompany the vistor during the tour, and then may be enjoy again at home with no distraction. The selection of videos that Dal Monte has chosen is from the best of his recent work, in which he often acts, as well directing and composing the soundtrack. “Bob’s Kisses Remove Will And Memory” lingers on the body of a young woman lying on a bed of straw, invoking images of herself through the wires of memory before she transforms, wrapping herself in the hay to take the form of a performative body, as in the works of Land Art of Ana Mendieta, and wandering aimlessly through the winding streets of a city. Dal Monte returns to the theme of walking in “Going Home” perhaps the most poetic videos of his videos, in which a man moves towards a hypothetical house, barefoot, through a desert valley landscape swirling with dust and incandescent with heat.
From the intimacy of these two works we move on to a more political piece : “Le Caire en Avril” is a shift (again) between the streets and the lights of the Egyptian city, in a crescendo of racing adrenalin, reflected by the music, interrupted only by the intrusion of the human voice, skilfully contrasting the internal and the external world; “Sicilian Yell for Ayan Hirsi Ali” is dedicated to the Somali writer and activist known for his opposition ato dictatorship and his support of of women’s rights. The most complex piece, at least from a formal point of view, is “Superanima,” dramatic, baroque and narrative, which contains several special effects and in which the presence of Giovanni Dal Monte as an actor is the most evident .
What is so astonishing, in the final analysis, is his ability to do everything by himself and to do it exceptionally well . A very original work, multilayered and complex, never banal or didactic, full of ideas; a work which this Italian writer hopes will inspire the composer to produce more inspired work in this vein.
“OBSCENITY” COMMERCIAL BY BRUCE LABRUCE
Hey Giovanni! thanks again for letting me use your beautiful song for the Obscenity “commercial”. i love it so much. you are the best! xxx Bruce
Bruce LaBruce (2014)
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE (2013 )
In einem Urwald, von tierischen und maschinellen Stimmen, in einem Dschungel aus Geräuschen und Atmosphären, etabliert sich ein lockender düsterer Ruf. Akkorde verführerisch und gewinnend saugen den Hörer in ein Panorama aus Atmosphären und Stimmen. Dann, nach einer kurzen Pause hört man Stimmen, Funkrufe, die die Atmosphäre konterkarieren und somit neu bewusst machen. Diese Stimmen passen nicht in den Geräuschewald und der blecherne Rhythmus beweist, dass das Unheimlich Programm ist und der Hörer in einem Urwald aus technischen und animalischen Stimmen gestrandet scheint. Sehr verführerisch und alptraumhaft das alles, eine Kulisse des Unheimlichen. Mit einem Trommelwirbel vergeht der Sog, das technische Zirpen bleibt. Wie ein heißer, schwüler Traum in einer dunklen Nacht. Sehr enigmatisch.
Boris on Broadway
Fast eine technische Rapsodie, völlig klar: wir sind in der neuen Welt, ein hämmernder Metropolis-Sound setzt sich durch und ab von der Atmosphäre des Eingangs. Wie auf Regentonnen geschlagen, klingen die Schläge, wie dunkle Wolken über einem Horizont aus musikalischen Fetzen, Opernstimmen, Verkehrslärm, Sirenen, eine Stadt, Dampfmaschinen all das sucht einen gemeinsam Klang, eine durchbrechend klingenden harmonischen Akkord. Orchestermoment setzen sich vom purem Schlagwerk ab. Zaghaft und dann immer zäher setze sich eine Stimme durch, sucht ihren Part in dem Stück Großstadtmusik, Metropolenfantasie. Wiederholungen, Schleifen, abruptes Abreißen als suchte der Empfänger den Sender klar zu fokussieren, als wolle der Adressat den Absender begreifen, nach einer Nachricht, nach einer Stimme, einem Refrain suchen. Ein großes Chaos von Sirenen und Chören sucht wirbelnd, irrlichternd einen Raum im fremden Rhythmus. Definitiv ein Trip dieses Stück; ein Programm, eine Strecke, sehr unterschiedlich und vage, immer auf dem Weg nach der abschließenden Ansage, die nie kommt. Sehr brüchig, sehr künstlich, nie hermetisch und ein kleines Stück rasende Großstadt. Die an Koyaanisqatsi erinnert. Eine Suche nach Melodie, nach Erinnerbarem, nach Geschichte. Und dann Geräusch des Spielautomaten, alles nur stark verdichtet oder erdichtet? Dann die immer wiederkehrende Phrase und die Stimmen wie Mickey Mäuse, wie Tinker Bell, Sylphiden — vor dem dräuenden finalen Akkord. Nichts. Es klingt nach. Aus.
Zu Beginn: ein Metallener-Wagner. Rheingold-artig umwogen Klänge und ein desperates Pizzicato den ersten Chor, Reste von musikalischen Nummern. Leise, suchend, webend. Allein und isoliert erklingen Instrumente, verzerrt die Stimmen. Eine breite, horizontale Welle bringt die Reste einer Mozart Arie in die Erinnerung, fast wie eine hängende Platte, ein ewiger, unheilvoller Ohrwurm über dem Palimpsest-artig bekannte und geträumte Melodien und Arien – Erinnerungen an die Wiener Klassik? – liegen, dunkel herauf beschworen, wie geträumt. Erträumt eher weniger? Dann abgelöst von hellen Mozartesken Sphären? Eine Suche nach Tempo, Melodie und Zeitläufte.
REFORMING SUBSTANZ (CD)
Ist eine zitatenreiche, tempo- und abwechslungsvolle, hoch theatralische und stets lyrische Musikkulisse. Eine musikalische Textur. Sie sampelt eigene Empfindung, (alp-)traumhafte Momente und klassische Musikzitate zu seinem inspirierenden Furioso. Niemals kann der Hörer außen vor bleiben, sondern wird in unterschiedliche musikalische Welten, in Umgebungen und Stimmungen gezogen.
Ähnlich wie in F. Truffauts Klassiker „Fahrenheit 451“ die Menschen Bücher auswendig lernen, um sie vor dem Vergessen und Verbrennen zu bewahren, so stellt Giovanni Dal Monte Atmosphären und Stücke zusammen, gegenüber und gegeneinander, lässt sie sich umkreisen in Schleifen und Wiederholungen, zu einem daccapo der besonderen Art. Dal Monte verfremdet Motive, Hörgewohnheiten außer Acht lassend, und stellt so eine Frage an den Hörer: Was erinnerst du und was behältst du – welche Musik, welche Melodie bleibt dir und in dir zurück. Wo bist in und durch diese Musik, diesen Sounds. Was fesselt dich nicht bloß ein paar Takte, sondern über die Musik hinaus? Was löst ein Klang aus und wie bleibt er beim Hörer zurück? Eine dramatische, elektrifizierende Musikreise.
Andreas Beck, Schauspielhaus, Wien, Austria
Ionosfera (FROM REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE)
“In a forest of mechanical animal voices, an ambient jungle of sound, a disturbing, enticing call rends the air. Darkly seductive chords sensually suck the listener into a panorama of moods and voices. A moment later, one hears the tuning of a radio, which pulls one back into consciousness. This alien sound amid the calls of the jungle, its metallic rhythm a disturbing assault, leaves the listener feeling suddenly cut off from the animalistic jungle calls by a wall of machine noise. All this is at once enticing and nightmarish, a vision of the otherworldly. With the sound of drums, the seductive spell is broken; all that remains is the mechanical chirruping of cicadas. Like a hot, stifling dream on a dark night. Highly enigmatic.”
Boris On Broadway (FROM REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE)
“Almost a technical rhapsody. All is crystal clear: we are in a new world where the hammering metropolitan cacophony surrounds us from the outset. Sounds pour down like heavy, pounding rain from dark clouds on to a horizon formed of random shards of music, operatic voices, traffic blare, sirens, urban noise and steam engines, as if seeking to pulverise the dissonant elements into a single harmonious chord, to fashion clear, orchestral purity from a beaten alloy of sounds. Cautiously at first, then with growing bravado, a voice rises and asserts itself in its quest for a place amidst the monolithic sonic cityscape, the fantasy soundtrack of the Metropolis. Repetitions and loops decay and shear away, as if the transmitter vainly seeks the receiver, alarmed, fighting to regain contact, a clear connection, a message, a voice, a refrain. A great chaos of sirens and massed voices fight to rise up from the whirlpool depths of an alien rhythm. A real trip, this piece; a strange course, a vague pathway, leading to a final announcement which never manifests. Very brittle, very synthetic, but never totally detached, a small fragment of the pulsing city. Reminiscent of Koyaanisqatsi. A search for melody, for remembrance, for history. And then the sound of slot machines: is this all real or an illusion? The ever-recurring phrase. Then voices like Mickey Mouse, like Tinkerbell, like the Sylph, before that ominous final chord. Nothing. The silence resounds. The end.”
K491KV421 (FROM REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE)
“In the beginning a metallic Wagner. Swaying Rheingold-like sounds and then the plaintive pizzicato of the first chorus, mere cadavers of musical notes. A quietly searching, meandering adagio. Isolated, the contorted voice of a lone instrument cries out.
A wide, gentle wave, brings the flotsam of a Mozart aria drifting into the memory, almost like a floating sign, an endless, wickedly insidious tune zigzagging over familiar, palimpsest-like reveries and airs ( memories of the Viennese classical period? ) languishing in dark dreams, then rising up, imploringly, beseechingly. Something less than a dream, perhaps? Then to be replaced by splendid Mozartesque spheres. A search for the right tempo, the correct melody and a note on the uncertain passage of time.”
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE (CD)
“Is a musical stage set; a theatrical backdrop of rich and heady influences, scenographically transformed with deft, fast-paced flourishes and dazzling diversions to create a highly dramatic, lyrical, inspiring Furioso of moods, textures, emotions, dreamlike (or indeed nightmarish) moments and classical motifs. The listener cannot remain detached and is drawn into the various musical worlds and sonic microcosms. As in “Fahrenheit 451″ by F. Truffaut, in which people learn whole books by heart to save them from oblivion and from the flames, Giovanni Dal Monte recovers the substance, juxtaposes the physical and the ambient, creating both attraction and repulsion between them, looping and repeating the results with his unique skill until the cycle decays and another begins.
Dal Monte abandons conventional musical motivation and disdains accepted listening habits, instead questioning the listener: which music does your memory discard and which do you remember? Which music remains with you and inside you? Where will the music take you? Will you go beyond? Do you simply hear the music or do you feel it? How is sound created and how does it enter the listener? A dramatic, electrifying musical voyage.”
Andreas Beck, Schauspielhaus, Wien, Austria
Reforming the substance ( 2013 )
“The music of GDM takes its form and substance from the experience of the Twentieth Century, the era of fragmented immediacy and of technical reproducibility. The avant garde Electronica scene and the rich cultural and artistic humus of the Eighties and Nineties constitute the reference points of a musical world characterised by the spirit of the elusive, ephemeral and of the moment, governed by a visionary, iconoclastic sensibility. Fragments of dreams and dust motes of wisdom coalesce into a clipboard of meticulously poetic sensibility, wherein darkness is a part of the game but is illuminated by prophetic flashes of potential alternatives and differing perspectives.
Conceptual music, within a Pop matrix, for emotional beings, reaches its maximum potential when it establishes a relationship with the world of cinema and video, while still preserving its own linguistic autonomy. The creative process of Pop requires the elevation of the everyday and the imaginary, the personal and the societal, to the same level, thereby creating a medium for the communication of alienation and multiple layers of meaning and giving life to a music which appropriates all the stereotypes of sound production in an ironic yet programmed manner.
At the logical core of this reformation of memory/substance, lies the need to rebuild traditions through change and therefore create a linguistic revolution in which content is reshaped in favour of a multiplicity of sound and meaning. One may thus formulate a poetic theory which is the product of some unceasingly obsessive cult, by way of a ritual in which the liquid fluidity of concrete sounds, jazzy jingles, quotations, Strauss and Lieder, the traditional and the avant garde, determine an archaeology of the present, where narratives are pieced together as the basis of a synaesthetic imagination, seeking echoes and links between the various dimensions of the contemporary artistic experience.”
Giuseppe Carrubba (Art critic and independent curator) Siracusa Italia
on “Le Caire en avril” from REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE ( 2013 )
“At dawn, when the first rays of the sun caressed the rough faces of the pyramids, in the moment when the Muezzin begins his song, GDM, still drunk on the perfumes of the dusty sprawl of Cairo, had a revelation: he discovered that image that drove John Cage to desperation and he listened to the delirious infinity within the voice of Umm Kulthum. While Ionosfera takes wing over tenebrous geographies, Le Caire en Avril strives to achieve a glittering coronation.”
|Al Fadhil, visual artist, Lugano Switzerland
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE ( 2013 )
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Unless you believe in muses or in the phenomenon of music passing through unconscious, uncontrolling vessels then most music grows from existing music, is informed by other arts and then refracted through its author’s life experience.
The question, as voiced by Ezra Pound is how to “make it new”. Giovanni Dal Monte’s album, “Reforming the Substance” seeks new meaning through the electronic transfiguration of hugely varied elements – many from classical music.
The poetic technique of juxtaposition in “K491KV421” allows audacious harmonies to cast Mozart in a new light. An accelerated passage from Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum” converts life-giving vibrato into something completely different – not of this world, but not ethereal.
Definitely not of this world is “Ionosfera” which mixes some of NASA’s ionospheric sounds with Dal Monte’s synthesised orchestral writing.
“Pathosformel” redefines the English pastoral tradition, some Esperanto lyrics giving the final twist to a harmonic landscape already far from England’s green and pleasant land.
“Boris on Broadway” features samples of Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” in a montage with street noises from New York, where Dal Monte attended a performance of the opera. Pushkin’s hero stands up well to a battery of 21st century sounds.
“Unser Abendrot” pays titular homage to Richard Strauss, although the music is entirely Dal Monte’s if, given my opening thoughts, one can ever make such a claim.
The track which stands out for me, “Le Caire en avril” does so for a variety of reasons. Chief among these are the mix of chaos and serenity and the fact that this portrait of ‘Arab Spring’ Cairo captures the uncertainty prompted by this still unsettled region’s future. The use of two episodes of drums in 7/4 time contribute greatly to the piece’s energy – avoiding the easy comfort of rock’s 4/4. There is genuine alarm in the opening sounds and calm – albeit a wistful one – in a passage which reminded me slightly of “Crystal” from Weather Report’s 1972 album, “I Sing the Body Electric”. I am convinced this similarity to be total coincidence. During a recent visit to Edinburgh, drummer Peter Erskine described Weather Report’s albums before his membership as being like “postcards from the future”.
Alan Coady, independent press reviewer, blogger, musician, teacher, Edinburgh UK
REFORMING THE SUBSTANCE ( 2013 )
“I’m listening, again and again, to the compositions / inventions / mutations / diversions / fantasies of GDM and I never get tired of discovering new and fascinatingly warm, humorous touches. I love the way GDM transforms the classical material upon which he works with affection, warmth and imagination, a totally unbiased approach and respect for its colour and inner substance.”
Mario Giovanni Ingrassia, Mamusic, Florence, Italy
OFFING JACK by BRUCE LABRUCE (music from SUPERANIMA)
Hi Giovanni: great! I’m glad you like it! ..yes i like it the best too! LOL. Your music makes a big difference. XXX BLAB
Bruce LaBruce (on “Offing Jack” short film, 2012)
Perverse or Polymorphous
Mr Giovanni ‘La Jovenc’ Dal Monte has a reputation as a music maker’s music maker, mixing up electronica and trip hop with avant-garde sounds and odd textures.
The Italian producer and soundtrack artist (his work can be heard on films by infamous queer director Bruce LaBruce) creates a sound world which mixes film noir swing with chattering, chopped-up vocals and acid beats, stream-of-consciousness lyrics with body-popping synth pop.
His thick Italian vowels lend an extra seedy film to his monologues on ‘Love of My Life’ and ‘Fat Slut Scot Mod’, vignettes on high times among the low-life.
Oct 2011 Rich Morris SOUNDBLAB
Perverse or Polymorphous
La Jovenc’s (real name Giovanni Dal Monte) album Perverse or Polymorphous it has to be one of the most bizarre albums you’ll ever listen to.
There are certainly some people out their who have nothing but praise for the album.
If you happen to like experimental music with strange outcomes, by all means give Perverse or Polymorphous a listen, but it certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
Oct 2011 Kellie-Marie Hood IS THIS MUSIC?
Perverse or Polymorphous
The formula: crooning plus odd spoken word (in a French accent), over a bizarre selection of music, which jumps about all over the place. He croons over abstract dubstep/electronica, then he talks love over a jumbled-up striptease track.
And there’s also cheesy Euro-dance, with Come In From Out of the Rain, suitable for fetish nights. His acid breakbeat works strangely well with his verbal ranting, as shown on Fat Slut Scot Mod and Moonglow.
Whether or not his mentalist antics are genuine, the fact that he seems to be deliberately avoiding any particular type of an audience deserves respect. As does the line “Fatty loves to be in love, perhaps when in the car plays rhythm’n’soul”
Sept 2011 24/7 MAGAZINE
Perverse or Polymorphous
The way I feel about this album is the same way I feel about Nick Cave or V For Vendetta. These are all things that I just can’t get into no matter how hard I try, yet at the back of my mind I’m perfectly aware that it’s a probably a lapse in my judgement and everyone else is right. La Jovenc (real name Giovanni Dal Monte) is an avant-garde musician’s musician – the Italian electronic producer has received huge praise from Barry Adamson, who composed the music for many David Lynch films (which only adds to the guilt of the music going over my head as I love all things Lynch).
There’s a level of experimentation I can dig; but this goes further – which only leaves me feeling ignorant as if my music taste has low self-esteem. Dal Monte is clearly a very talented musician; the music is incredibly technical with obvious logic behind it, but the intelligence behind the music somewhat leaves the listener with a feeling of ignorance for not under standing.
Sept 2011 ALMOST BLUE Rory Cargill
Perverse or Polymorphous
This is wonderful
Sept 2011 RADIOMAGNETIC
“Your music is fab” Nicolette (Massive Attack)
“Amazing jazz avantgardiste, really good work Giovanni” Art ensemble of Chicago
OTTO, OR UP WITH DEAD PEOPLE by BRUCE LABRUCE
“Thank you Giovanni! Your music elevates the images into something sublime and completely different. xxx Bruce”
Bruce LaBruce (on “Otto or up with dead people” film, 2008)
STORUNG FESTIVAL 2 – BARCELONA, 2007 | UN CONCIERTO SERIO
Italian artist La Jovenc offered up a generous sound buffet revealing his eclectic character. We were transported to an interactive experiemental space which showed a range of inspirations, including concrete music influences. The experimental rhythms and jazz flourishes could have appealed to director David Lynch. La Jovenc represents a bridge between 1970s electro acoustic sounds and contemporary industrial synthesis. A fine example of untangling the knot between contemporary musicians and the classical electro acoustic artists.
Edu Comelles Allué
IXEM FESTIVAL – PALERMO 2007
Going Home can be enjoyed as a short-film (directed by Devis Venturelli). Makes a huge, evocative impact as it takes you on a fantasmagorical journey through vapour, dust and sand. Surrealisms is accentuated by an electronically distorted big-band brass section. A sound track that takes you by surprise.
The Opposite of Orange
”Superb” Barry Adamson
The Opposite of Orange
“I enjoyed listening very much…” John Zorn
The Opposite of Orange
“One of the most interesting releases on WLM to date” Ann Shenton (Add N to X)
Birds make love with electric Ladybugs
Conceived as an exhibition sountrack, this album is entirely composed of recordings of birds and insects. With the usual dose of self-irony, this concept recounts alien ladybugs from outerspace to join in with terrestrial songs of birds and insects. These five tracks present a unique sound conceptualisation from an artist who, with each new work, has something to say which is never banal.
(a.p.) BEAUTIFUL FREAKS.ORG 2005
Birds make love with electric Ladybugs
Entirely composed of recordings of bird and insect sounds with some spurious inclusions (Galuppi, Bach) this new work of Bolognese artist is kindly entomological cybernetic.Architecturally close to ‘rhino plastic’ experiments of Matmos. A finely detailed work: dance for colonies of digital insects (“Miss Pepi eats the flies in electric Plutoland”) and glitch pop for liquid crystal prairies (“Butterfly kiss”).
Dioniso Capuano BLOW UP 92 – 2006/01
Under the pseudonym of La Jovenc, Giovanni Dal Monte is the same solitary artist who composes a valuable and varied sound using instruments and computer. Compared to the previous release, this album veers towards a more experimental, synthetic sound. This time with vocals on seven of the twelve tracks, this album gives a new intriguing dimension to another positive production.
(a.p.) BEAUTIFULFREAKS.ORG 2003
Lo-Fi Apocrypha is the new experimental album from La Jovenc, alias Giovanni Dal Monte, a versatile, multimedia artist with interesting ideas. Works include real songs (both original and melanchonic) and powerfully evocative electronic sounds. Sparse drum sounds, samples and minimal ambient are the foundations on which he builds a sonic architecture informed by international contemporaries (Matmos and german indietronic) but always with an individual personal sensibility.
Aurelio Pasini MUCCHIO SELVAGGIO 557 – 2003/12
Massive doses of irony and deformed surrealism. Songs as a pretext for oniric exercises held onto reality by the rhythm but polymorphous and fluid.
D ioniso Capuano BLOW UP 76 – 2004/09
Sulla Natura delle Cose
In this work Giovanni Dal Monte (who, in almost perfect solitude, plays all instruments) constructs a varied world of sounds and sensual images, created with enormous care dedicated to every detail. It is easy to be captivated by these sounds (recommended for low-lit evening listening), instrumental tracks which speak of “Thinking numbers in a stagnant pond” (“Numeri Pensanti In Un Stagno”) or centrifugal naps (“Dormendo Sulla Lavatrice”) or of universal profundities (“Un Sistema Solare?”). A varied and fascinating album which gives pleasure throughout its 73 minutes duration.
(a.p.) BEAUTIFULFREAKS.ORG 2002
Sulla Natura delle Cose
Giovanni Dal Monte has collated 15 fragments, compositions and collages recorded over several years. Showing little sign of homogeneity on first appearance, this album is held together by a strong artistic personality and an interesting experimental vein expressed in long guitar solos, concrete sound recordings, tasteful cut-ups and samples and the latest trends in electronica. A layered, complex work, without real ‘songs’, which deserves attention.
Aurelio Pasini MUCCHIO SELVAGGIO 503 – 2002/08
Sulla Natura delle Cose
The abundance of this album presents a skilled contaminated electronic musician who has orchestrated a concept encompassing the four elements. A range of sounds emerge: german sound (“Il Mito del Buon Selvaggio”), Brian Eno, Miles Davis, strangled funk-rock (“Diverse Parole”), rhythmic fragments and acid guitars, Tarwater or Mouse On Mars-inspired electro (“Numeri Pensanti In Uno Stagno”), liquid sounds for comatose dub (“un Sistema Solare?”, “Alla Fine Sara’ Acqua”), sparse granular glitch (“Terza Fu L’Aria”). Dal Monte’s inspiration from mathematical to visionary seems authentic.
Dioniso Capuano BLOW UP 64 – 2003/09