Andrea Marutti interviewed by Philippe Blache [02/2009]


[Philippe Blache] After having spent some time in discussion with you, Giuseppe Verticchio and a few others, I think that generosity of spirit is the only way to make music as true art. You are all motivated by the desire to change the face of electronic music. I’ve noticed that your aspirations are to reject the traditional idea of the “author” or the “composer” in favour of an extraordinary sobriety, to awaken the consciousness of the listener to more universal, a-temporal aspects of life (memory, self-reflection, transcendence and interior experiences). I’m curious to know your opinion about music as an inner voyage or music as a personal revelation on life and its mysteries?

[Andrea Marutti] I must admit that I've never been a "spiritual person", but at a certain point in my life I found myself involved in listening to and making music that - according to many people - has what you define as "generosity of spirit". I understand that certain types of music have perception enhancing qualities and I myself often like to lie down and relax/sleep listening to ambient music and especially drone music. I think that some individuals are more inclined to these kind of experiences, and the same music probably doesn't have the same effect on everyone.

[Philippe Blache] I’ve rapidly visited your catalogue for Afe Records. You seem to have a strong belief in the creative capacity of the individual and you spare no expense to help your artists’ achieve self-expression. Can you tell me more about this engagement and about the history behind Afe Records?

[Andrea Marutti] Sometime in the early 90s I decided to make some tapes of my music available to friends of mine for free. At a certain point some of my friends started recording their own music and I used to help them with artworks, audio-mastering, etc. I duplicated tapes at home, gave them catalogue numbers and made graphic works. Suddenly people started asking to buy them: the label was born in such a natural way. Afe releases have always been heterogeneous. I am a fan of all styles of electronic music and I always release music according to my personal taste. I am very open-minded and this is reflected in the choices I've made for the label since the early days.

[Philippe Blache] You’ve released a couple of official albums based on long live sessions. How do you conceive your live performances? How do improvised parts interfere with pre-programmed patterns? On stage, which particular moods or events make free-form composition possible?

[Andrea Marutti] I have a preference for studio activity instead of live activity but I play a few concerts every year. I use to divide my concerts in two categories: prepared live-sets and improvised live-sets. A prepared live-set involves backing tracks (from released albums, unreleased music and works in progress) on which I play using just a couple of synthesizers and a few effects. I have a few sounds to choose for every track and this is the only mutable element. For improvised concerts I use a total of about thirty devices which help me to shape music according to my mood and the place where the event happens. When I play an improvised concert I usually decide a starting point and then the music develops in an almost “automatic” way until I decide it’s time to stop it.

[Philippe Blache] Have you ever made any collaborations for visual or inter-media projects in search of new ways of experiencing time, space and narration?

[Andrea Marutti] Quite a long time ago I recorded music for two short films and a stage play but I don’t think they’re pertinent to your question. During the years I encountered a few video-makers and discussed such a possibility, but nothing concrete ever happened. I self-produced a thirty minutes video in a kind of “amatorial” way a couple of years ago; it is basic and simple but I’m quite enthusiastic about it. Its title is “I Heard It Through the Woods (and Laid Upon the Shore)” and is currently available on StreamIt. I will probably release it on Afe as a DVD-R video soon.

[Philippe Blache] What are your thoughts about the evolution of sound experiments in electronic music? According to you, and in this specific musical enterprise, who are the most inovative and most innovative of the last decades?

[Andrea Marutti] I see that computer technology has given quite a push to sound experimentation during the recent years, but it probably also induced some “laziness” in many musicians. It is easier for everyone to make electronic music nowadays and I think that it is great that more and more people are involved into the creative process. I also think though that the average quality of musical production has lowered because of this. I would say that Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Kraftwerk were the real electronic innovators in the early 70s, while Throbbing Gristle and Maurizio Bianchi invented Industrial and Noise music during the late 70s and early 80s. I’ve admired many works by Cranioclast, Robert Rich, Vidna Obmana, Alio Die and Lustmord, most of them created/released during the 90s. For the new century I would pick up Dronaement, Troum and Bad Sector.

[Philippe Blache] On which projects are you currently working?

[Andrea Marutti] The Sil Muir debut CD is going to be out on Diophantine Discs soon, we’re currently giving the finishing touches to the tracks that will appear later on the second album. Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh and I have started talking about the third Hall of Mirrors work, we’re probably going to record it next summer. I have a few collaborations going on with other musicians from Italy and abroad at the moment, but it’s too early to forecast how they will develop. Some tracks I recorded in recent years will appear on a few compilations soon. I guess it will take a while before I’ll start working on a solo album again, but who knows…