Review: Costantino Rizzuti – Storie di Terra (self-released, May 19)

“If you do not live those places; if you do not breathe that air; if you do not listen to that silence: so deafening and sometimes noisy; you cannot perceive the beauty of what has been, of what is no longer, of what is in a continuous transformation and becomes other while remaining unchanged.”

This ambiguous introduction to Italian sound artist Costantino Rizzuti’s newest album does a superb job of capturing the evasive difficulties of capturing the sounds, atmospheres, and other even more intangible aspects of physical places. While Rizzuti is primarily interested in less organic means of experimental sound-making such as algorithmic compositions and digital synthesis, his words display a deep appreciation for the holistic identities of locations: “Opposites exist only for fools, for superficial people. Who knows how to listen to [sic] understands that the two things are not separate, but coexist, like faces of the same coin, in places, landscapes and abandoned villages.” The cover of Storie di Terra shows a dilapidated, possibly fire-charred stone building, which casts some degree of interiority over the proceedings, but for the most part Rizzuti’s two pieces elect to subvert the spacial phonographer’s typical approach. The first “Noisy Silence” shudders and evolves like a stuttering computer printout, the barely-substantial electronic tones that begin it folding into polyrhythmic layers of metallic collisions and glitched-out speech, while the second combines heavily abstracted tribal percussion with fragile feedback that threatens to collapse at any moment, everything residing in a decidedly dark and cavernous sonic milieu. It seems that the more successful one is in capturing the true essence of a place, the less it will sound like a “place” at all.

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