SERGIO MESSINA
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Still Music is not a music album. It's a collection of sound works made for radio broadcasts, soundtracks and installations, that have never been available directly to the public.

Still Music will be out in december 2021 exclusively on Bandcamp, in a variety of formats including high quality 24 bit WAV/AIF.

cover frontCrack, Whisky, Dildo, Webcam (2011)
Between 2000 and 2012 I undertook a massive research on online Amateur Pornography, which I named Realcore. A side project of this research was to use sounds found on Internet Porn in my radio and music projects; this is the first track I made. I recorded the voice during a live broadcast on a popular webcam service: a man smoking crack, drinking whisky, playing with a dildo and telling his audience (in a compelling and poetic way) how he felt about it.

Dawa Choling/In A Silent Way (2008)
In 2008 I was invited by the literary festival Marina Cafè Noir in Cagliari (Sardinia) to collaborate with actor and director Giancarlo Biffi on his monologue Jules Bonnot e l'occhio del nonno, based on the 1994 book In ogni caso nessun rimorso by Pino Cacucci. In the live performance I played drone music, ending with a version of In A Silent Way (by Joe Zawinul, as performed by Miles Davis). This is a studio merge of two of these instrumental tracks, recorded live in Cagliari (regrettably from my stage mixer, so Giancarlo's performance is missing). A different, guitar version of In A Silent Way will be on my next album Sensual Musicology, out in 2022.

Assoluta Sicurezza Kunstradio mix (2001)
In 2001 I (along with many other people worldwide) was appalled by the images of police brutality during the demonstrations against the G8 meeting in Genova, culminating in the killing of a young man, Carlo Giuliani. I recorded the official statement by Interior minister Claudio Scajola, in which he defended the police's behavior blaming the demonstrators, and used it for two tracks: an angrier, musical version which I distributed online for free in Mp3 (it will be on vol. 2 of the Archive series), and this more epic radio cut, aired a few months later by Kunstradio (the Radio Art program of ORF Austria).

Organism, feat. WSB (1997)
In '97 I was invited by Heidi Grundmann, legendary curator of Kunstradio (and the first person to insist I was an artist, an idea which I resisted fiercely), to take part in a very special radio and art adventure called Recycling The Future. I had met Heidi in 1990 while I was working with Pinotto Fava, the man behind one of the most innovative radio art programs to date, Rai's AudioBox, and later that year she invited me to perform in Vienna. I returned to Austria regularly in the 90s, and one time she interviewed me. I was in my hardcore sampling phase and I must have said the phrase: "Sampling is crucial, sampling is art", which she used in the RTF presentation. The project began at Documenta X in august, then in september we moved to Linz for Ars Electronica, and finally we played a few gigs (live, online and on air) at the ORF Funkhaus in Vienna in december. The cast was amazing, people with incredible talents coming from very distant universes, from radical Noise artists to legends of Improvised music, some upcoming stars of the electronic scene - and me. One of the musical projects I presented in Kassel was Olindo Mercier. It's the name I gave to a technical fault that randomly happened to one of my samplers, an Ensoniq Mirage M1. When it overheated, the keyboard stopped working and the machine started to produce music by itself. Sometimes it played drones, other times random, quasi-Techno loops. Annoyed at first, I quickly became interested in this music, started recording it and named the artist Olindo Mercier. I presented some of his tracks straight (one day I'll make his album), and I've used Olindo loops in many projects since, including this one. Right before Ars Electronica, on august 3rd, we lost William Burroughs, one of the fundamental deities of my pantheon, for whom I made this piece (mixed in the days of the news) which I played live in Linz, and my first web page ever - miraculously still online. The interview is edited from the excellent Commissioner of Sewers (1986), a film by Klaus Maeck (heard in the track asking questions) in which Burroughs explains in detail one of his brightest intuitions: that language is a virus.

cover backGardening edit (2000)
This is by far the best work I did with good friend and videomaking virtuoso Claudio Sinatti, who sadly passed away in 2014. Gardening was the first video he asked me to put sound to. I jumped at the chance; it’s not just a stunning video, but is based on an idea which is very attractive to me: enhanced digital landscapes, in this case a 360 degree panorama of a garden, made with a series of photoshopped stills merged in a 13 minutes video loop. I devised a slow growing, multi-layered, oscillating digital drone, to this day one of my favorite drone pieces of mine. Gardening was presented as a four-walls installation at the Triennale in Milan, with the drone (mixed in radical stereo) floating between two big speakers placed diagonally in the far corners of the room. The effect was glorious. Many years later, the whole thing still makes perfect sense, and showcases Claudio’s mastery in video making, as well as my passion for one note music (thanks to Andrea Lissoni).

Metaname part 2, 2021 edit (1998)
Digital operina in 3 parts, commissioned and broadcast by Kunstradio; sound design, music and mixing by Ludwig Zeininger & SM.

In may 1998 I was in Vienna - again. While working on Recycling The Future with Kunstradio in '97 I had my first contact with the Internet from within: Bandwidth, Html, Mp3 are some of the words I've heard there first. I was fascinated by the inner workings of websites, and quickly discovered you could view the Html source code of sites, where I found the "tags", words not meant for humans but for other computers (such as search engines) to know the content of a website. The code for these tags was (and still is):

<meta name="title" content "site name">
<meta name="description" content "site description">
<meta name="author" content "site author(s)">
<meta name="keywords" content "site keywords">

And so on. Keywords in particular got my attention. Very long lists of words and phrases (up to 100.000 characters and more, separated by commas), from hundreds of military ranks and corps (the US DOD website), to thousands of complete prayers (religious websites), to infinite terms associated to porn, including all possible misspelling of the word masturbation. At that time another computer technology was becoming available: text to speech. This opened up a whole world of possibilities, all now available: automatic narration, digital announcers and "acting". Of course it helps if you cast a computer voice in the part of a computer, which was one of the concepts behind Metaname: computers reading computer text or code to humans, and perform deeply human activities such as sex, partecipating in rituals or reflecting on the nature of the self. Part 2 is about faith, religion, prayers, cerimonies. In most religions, repetition (something very natural to a PC) plays a big role in rituals, such as the Catholic recitation of the Rosary, wich consists of interlocking repetitions. This piece was also inspired by Tibetan Buddhist prayer wheels, devotional machines that sometimes are fully automated (by water mills or wind). A live extract of Metaname was presented live at the ORF Funkhaus.

Echolocation (Stereo sampler) (2001)
In 2001 I was invited to collaborate with a Sicilian association of blind persons (sadly I forgot the name) for a conference they were holding in Catania. I was thrilled: being an ear person, the visually impaired are a very special audience to me - and sometimes they provide deep insight into the secret life of sounds. For this occasion I created a simple audio installation meant to guide the audience to the venue of an evening party. A set of speakers placed along a short country path provided acoustic directions (and more), both for the blind and otherwise. Later, during the party, my friend Painé Cuadrelli and I played a DJ set, asking the venue to switch off the lights: the sighted people were a bit confused and embarassed, but everyone else danced and enjoyed the evening. This is a stereo sampler; the original installation consisted of six separate mono tracks and, being based on loops of different lenght, was virtually endless.

The Ear of The Beholder: 5 rules for Radio Art (2017)
Featuring text by Robert Adrian
A piece I made to celebrate Kunstradio's 30th anniversary in 2017. It is based on the manifesto Toward a definition of Radio Art written by Robert Adrian, one of the pioneers of Media Art, co-founder and collaborator of Kunstradio and friend, who passed in 2015. This is one of the most inspiring and useful texts about Radio Art that I know. All the sounds in this piece have been recorded from the radio, one way or another. You can also hear Bob's voice reading texts from fortune cookies (samples from Metaname part 3). This one is dedicated to Armin Medosch, artist and media theorist with whom I had the pleasure to collaborate early in our careers, who passed in 2017.

Thanks to Paolo Mauri, Kunstradio, Heidi Grundmann, Elizabeth Zimmermann, AudioBox, Pinotto Fava, Ludwig Zeininger, Claudio Sinatti, Robert Adrian, Marina Cafè Noir, Hell Yeah!. A special thank you to radio stations, programmers, djs, shows and podcasts who have played these or other works of mine, recorded or live, musical or otherwise, in the past 35 years.

Want more? Click here for my (almost complete) radio and sound works archive, with some links to sound files.

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© 2021 Sergio Messina - Finora (FNR-DIG-M-2)