1. Xenomorphic 17:55
2. Equilibrium 13:53
3. Apnea (The Hollow Mind) 29:48
4. Raw Ground 9:57
Ascanio Borga is an italian guitarist, electronic musician and independent composer.
After years of piano lessons attended during his childhood, he decided to leave formal musical studies to become a self-taught guitarist. He approached rock music and computers, learning to use the famous Amiga 500 Soundtracker.
He began to play in various noise-rock bands and to record instrumental pieces for guitar, piano, and sampler, progressively approaching experimental music.
In 1997, at the time when he was a student at the Faculty of Cinema, he released a cassette of "lo-fi" electronics entitled "Music For Non-Airports".
Soon afterwards he left University to attend a professional course of recording techniques and digital audio, continuing to play in various rock bands for some more time.
Later he began to create electronic suites for synthesizers and treated instruments, introducing more personal elements in his compositions, and at the same time he undertook scientific studies.
In 2001 he started to publish his music in the form of self-released CD-R albums credited to his own name.
As an audio technician, besides mixing and mastering his own music, he did mastering work for several other musical productions, and also produced sound effects for various stage plays.
Among his recently self-released albums we'd like to mention "Inner Geometry" (2001), "Liquid Symmetries" (2002), "Bad Ground" (2006) and "Peripheral Vision" (2007).
"Xenomorphic", Ascanio's latest offering on Afe, literally evokes something "with a strange form", something unfamiliar that appears alien to us, defying our logic comprehension, and therefore generating tension, disquietude and even anguish in us, but it represents something terribly vital and dynamic at the same time, something whose possibilities are still unknown.
Mixing guitars, bass, synthesizers, samples, percussions, objects, field-recording and even more sources, "Xenomorphic" is probably Ascanio's most evoluted work.
With its feet in Ambient territory, the album features
a wide range of musical solutions, showcasing the author's will to create a work where appearently distant elements converge and experimentation is put into a more accessible form.
"...Borga hasn't really created anything completely new here, but what makes it interesting is that he isn't afraid to follow his own lead. It's rare to hear an experimental musician nowadays mix rock elements with ambient sounds, and it's even rarer for such a thing to succeed. Borga pulls it off because he sounds authentic, like he's making this music for himself. It's this attitude which also makes it a distinctive experience for the listener."
Musique Machine [more]
"...It seems to me that his music has made a nice step forward. Until now it was all mainly non-rhythmic ambient music in the best Hypnos tradition of heavily treated guitar works, here he adds percussion, windchimes, Japanese carillon, frog guiro, samples, found sounds and objects. Three long pieces and one shorter coda "Raw Ground" at the end of the release. The music is still largely in the ambient sector, with the addition of pseudo ethnic drumming and careful percussion. Somewhere towards the end of "Apnea" e-bow guitars come in, adding an extra texture of seventies cosmic music... Borga wants to lull you to sleep, late at night, and he does a very fine job at that..."
Vital Weekly [more]
"...Borga era partito facendo dark-ambient ed in un certo senso è rimasto coerente all'idea, ma l'estetica è cambiata parecchio, innanzitutto direi che ha finito per introdurre gradualmente sempre più suoni di chitarra riconoscibili e in questo caso ha assemblato un disco di fronte a cui ci si può togliere il cappello senza indugi... Un album molto ben prodotto e ricco di suoni che vanno dalle chitarre trattate ai bassi, ai sintetizzatori, carillon, campioni, oggetti e tutto nei termini in cui sia necessario per il disco. Un lavoro che per quel che mi riguarda ha tutto quello che si può ancora trovare di bello in un disco ambientale/ambientoso nonostante si tratti di un circuito - tanto per cambiare - saturo di materiale..."
"Fluviale, il polistrumentismo di Ascanio Borga a base di chitarra "trattata", sintetizzatori, percussioni, strumenti etnici. Suoni alchemici e tribali, Dead Can Dance, metal ed ECM ("Xenomorphic"); sviluppi ambient ora esoterici ("Equilibrium"), ora isolazionisti ("Raw Ground"). E poi quel processo iniziatico che dai field recordings arriva ad un riverbero cangiante di chitarra ("Apnea"), summa d'una poetica massimalista ed arcaica ma non priva di suggestione."
Blow Up [more]
"...Ascanio Borga produced all sounds heard on the album, especially showcasing heavily treated guitar, though he did borrow a little bit from maverick noisenik Maurizio Bianchi for the opening track. A distinctly tribal setting is established on that track, pervaded with a certain sense of imbalance. Sound flies at the listener in jagged shards out of a dark cloud of drone, serrated and dissonant, a guitar under torture. The air is filled with grey dread, sweeping up and spinning everything in its path. "Equilibrium" is restored with a sense of calm returning to the skies above. As this second piece draws to a close, a shower of remnants, evoked by the twinkling of a windchime, serves as a subtle reminder of the storm. "Apnea (The Hollow Mind)" is the last and longest of the three main suites into which "Xenomorphic" is arranged. Suddenly the sound field becomes populated as voices, traffic, hubbub can be heard. It is as if a reemergence is taking place: people are coming out of hiding, everything is now fresh and clean, the music conveys a sense of wonder and colour. The burst of electric guitar soloing sounds like joy and rebirth. It is certainly the most satisfying piece on the album. In showing great restraint it makes the largest impact..."
"L'utilizzo di frammenti di "Archaggelos" dal disco "Avaddohn" di M.B. fa da cartello e dichiarazione d'intenti, o meglio, caratterizza il percorso comune intrapreso da Ascanio Borga e Maurizio Bianchi. L'artwork - anch'esso opera di Borga - sfocato e alieno fa da supporto e compare visivo di un suono che cresce e riempe tutti gli spazi, ombre e sospiri, un'apnea - come da titolo della terza traccia - che non si spezza, lacerando spiritualmente il flusso sottomarino fatto di onde e flussi continui. Una marcia immobile in cui la banda immaginaria - ma non gli strumenti, molti e ben calibrati - guida l'anima in spazi aperti. "Equilibrium" è elegante e precisa, bilanciata come un silenzio accarezzato, preso in grembo, cullato e reso suono puro, angelico ed infernale, simbolo degli opposti..."
"...The 30-minute "Apnea" is an exercise in slowly shifting textures, starting with subaquatic warped electronic melodies and transforming into more and more oneiric soundscapes, until the guitar ends it with a raga-like invocation. This probably marks the zenith of Borga's career together with "Bad Ground". After a brief interlude of white noise, the 18-minute "Xenomorphic" blends shamanic drumming and sinister drones to create the backdrop for a loop of heavy-metal guitar riffs that is eventually attacked by industrial clangors and hisses..."
Avantgarde Music [more]