Since I’ve dropped out of the italian cultural landscape (if I ever was actually in) and moved elsewhere, a few people were kind enough to ask what I was doing, and I’ve always told everyone that the best way to keep in touch was to visit this blog. Unfortunately I haven’t posted much lately, and very little about what I was up to. So, if you’re interested (and you might: you’re here after all), here’s a serious update.
I’m working on a jazz/blues/country/old time music album. Most of the tracks are covers of great songs of the past, from St James Infirmary to Tennessee Waltz, Amazing Grace and Ravel’s Bolero, but also tunes by David Crosby, Charles Mingus and a few more. The music is substantially acoustic*, and played “live” – I record each track in one take, with minimal comping and no tempo or pitch adjustment (I’m working on this multitrack recorder, very handy to record myself, but not very advanced). I’ve played instruments for most of my life, but this is different, fun and very slow: I’m practically learning (and in some cases re-learning) to play as I go, so I often go back and redo parts I did months ago. I’m not so sure how long it’s going to take. I’m also not sure what the fate of this music will be. My idea is to assemble an “album” the old way, a collection of tunes that possibly makes sense as a whole, and then see. Fortunately, this one is even stranger than my previous albums, and it could function in a variety of different contexts.
*acoustic but with some samples: I discovered that a good sample works anywhere, not just in a Hip hop beat.
I’ve started this new micro-enterprise with my partner, and it’s slowly picking up. I make designs (for T shirts, until now) and we sell them. We have an online shop, Trpnshop.com (on Threadless, which handles printing, transaction and delivery). We also print a few designs ourselves (at the one and only Premiata Serio in Milan), that you can find right now in Amsterdam’s best markets, thanks to Simon Groenveld and Straatwaar. I’ve always wanted to design T shirts, it’s a very profound medium (not as simple as it seems), and its viewers are potentially infinite.
I’m claustrophobic, and like many people with phobias, I tend to tamper with stuff that scares me. About one year ago, I’ve started to look at maximum security prisons on Apple Maps (which renders buildings differently than Google, Maps or Earth), just to get a sense of these places. I’ve discovered a world of incredible, merciless architecture: the pencil, I realized, is even mightier than the pen. So I’ve started to document what I was seeing, and collecting these images on a Tumblr blog, The Long View. I have published almost a hundred screenshots (and there are many more to come), that will be collected in a fanzine/book, Beyond Bars, curated by Giacomo Spazio and myself, and an exhibition of prints by the same title, possibly in early 2017.