Riccardo Sinigaglia – Correnti Magnetiche ‎- 1989

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Long time no post!  Here’s some beautiful music for even more horrible than usual times. A refreshing  and playful album that effortlessly combines electronic and acoustic sounds in a way that is neither arduous nor cliche. This is a compilation of music by experimental composer (and architect) Riccardo Sinigaglia for early cgi animations by  multimedia artist Mario Canali. These pieces were credited to their interdisciplinary art collective Correnti Magnetiche (Magnetic Currents) which was active from 1985-1995 and featured numerous other players from the Italian experimental scene of the time.

The music here is tough to pin down. It’s ambient, minimalist, at times reminiscent of classical music, and occasionally improvisational. The way Sinigaglia combines FM synthesis with acoustic instrumentation is really novel, the synthesized parts never sound immediately recognizable and seamlessly blend with actual percussion, violins, and vocals.  It’s an album that opens up more and more upon consecutive listens. If this piques your fancy,  Sinigaglia’s similarly excellent Rifelssi (1985) is also highly recommended.

Also of note is how purely weird and wonderful some of the other cg videos by Canali and Correnti Magnetiche are. They look like avant-garde versions of those cgi movie theater policy animations that were ubiquitous in the 1990s. I can’t get enough of them. This one sounds like an experimental interpretation of “I Want My MTV” by Dire Straits at the 0:44 mark.

 

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Mix – Stefano’s Wisdom

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Yuppie A stares at himself in the mirrored closet door.  He’s having a crisis in white male fragility. Wife II divorced him, taking both the SAAB and son Jonathan. Passed over on the big promotion due to “passivity.” Spilled V8 on the white over-stuffed couch. But a mysterious new client, Stefano, understands.  He knows the “way.” Won’t you listen?

This is a playlist about the paradox of sentiment and spiritual bankruptcy in post-jazz music of the late 1980s early 1990s. I wanted to musically explore the debasement of jazz in this period, the feeling of excitement and wrongness when Miles Davis covers Scritti Politti. But most of all, I was thinking about the heternormativity, gender binarism, and hyper-masculinity of early 1990s commercial advertising, adult contemporary music, and any film with James Spader from 1984-7.

I tried to curate tracks that stood-out from the usual sludge of New age/Rock/Smooth Jazz/R&B fusion, and I hope each song hits that perfect blend of almost inspirational sincerity, non-reflexivity, and musical virtuosity.

Be warned, this is a playlist unafraid of passionate sax and guitar solos, which were in just about every imaginable song of the period and genre. Sanford Ponder’s “Oly” sounds like Bill Clinton playing a personal concert at your 1994 McDonald’s birthday party. Specific attention was paid to songs with odd or one-off production details, whether it be a random pitch-shift in David van Tieghem’s “Flying Hearts,”  stock whip noises in David Benoit’s “Wild Kids,” or basically the Duracell battery sound-trademark in Michael Colina’s “The Shadow of Urbano.”

Much of the concept shines through in song titles (which I swear to god I did not make up) like “Masculine Magic,” “Wild Kids,” “You Understand,” and “I Hate You.” It’s the perfect soundtrack for sharing Folgers coffee with a generic white nuclear family,  finishing a marathon, or careening down the Golden Gate Bridge in a mid-sized sedan.

Enjoy!

1. The Shadow of Urbano – Michael Colina -1988

2. Flying Hearts – David Van Tieghem – 1989

5. Many Chinas – Mark Isham – 1983

6. Sky Juice – Patrick O’Hearn – 1987

6. Winkin’ Blinkin’ & Nod – Carlos Alomar – 1987

7. Redstone – Synergy – 1987

8. Perfect Way – Miles Davis – 1986

9. Oly – Sanford Ponder – 1986

10. Heart of the Matter – Jonathan Gibbs -1983?

11. It Was You After All – Richard Souther -1986

12. Amber Whispers – Wally Badarou – 2001

12. Gib Mir – Purple Schulz – 1987

13. I Hate You – Jerry Goodman – 1988

14. You Understand – The Zawinul Syndicate – 1988

15. Masculine Magic – Software – 1991

15. Wild Kids – David Benoit – 1989

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