[releases] afe121cd
meerkat: kapnos

  Artist: Meerkat
: Kapnos
Format: CD in cardboard sleeve + insert

Tracks: 7
Playing time: 40:47
Release date: June 2009
File under: Electroacoustic / Experimental / Ambient

Track List:

1.  One  6:30

2.  Two  6:04

3.  Three  6:48

4.  Four  2:01

5.  Five  6:33

6.  Six  6:19

7.  Seven  6:30



In 2003 Maurizio Bianchi and Matteo Uggeri / Hue met through Afe Records; three years later Maurizio asked Matteo for a musical collaboration, which grew up quickly under the design of a long term project called "Between the Elements", a sort of music transposition of concepts that lies in the empty spaces between the natural elements, which are over-abused terms in the New Age music scene.

Two albums were published in 2008: one about the concept of "clouds" ("Nefelodhis", by MB and the post-rock band Sparkle in Grey) and one about the concept of "desert" ("Erimos", by MB with Hue and Luca Bergero / Fhievel).

One year later, the third chapter entitled "Kapnos" – Greek for "smoke" - is finally available. The industrial master contributes to back notes and concept, but keeps his hands far from the musical matter, leaving it to the expertise of ten of the most interesting experimental musicians of the Italian scene, united under the cryptic name of Meerkat.

The Meerkat ensemble is formed by a group of musicians working in the field of experimental music, drones, microsounds and field recordings: Adriano Zanni / Punck, Matteo Uggeri / Hue, Luca Sigurtà, Luca Bergero / Fhievel, Davide Valecchi / Aal, Andrea Ferraris / Ics, Fabio Selvafiorita, Paolo Ippoliti (Logoplasm), Laura Lovreglio (Logoplasm) and Andrea Marutti / Amon / Never Known.

The tracks on "Kapnos" present a surprising homogeneity in spite of the different attitudes of the artists, which mixed their experiences in each track creating new unforeseen connections, working in pairs or in threesome on each track.

The Meerkat members also joint their efforts releasing the CD, which is in fact published by Afe (Andrea Marutti), Grey Sparkle (Matteo Uggeri), Nighthawks Tapes (Paolo Ippoliti) and Ctrl+Alt+Canc (Adriano Zanni).

Under these premises, "Kapnos" represents an unique effort in the swarming Italian music scene of the '00s.


"Meerkat is a kind of Italian underground big band. Here we find Adriano Zanni (Punck), Matteo Uggeri (Hue), Luca Sigurtà, Luca Bergero (Fhievel), Davide Valecchi (Aal), Andrea Ferraris (Ics), Fabio Selvafiorita, Paolo Ippoliti (Logoplasm), Laura Lovreglio (Logoplasm) and Andrea Marutti (Amon, Never Known). If you have been paying attention in the last few years, you may recognize these names as Italy's finest in the fields of ambient, electronics, microsound, post guitar - well, anything but true noise... The music is excellent - a fine mixture of styles and interests from these guys. All the elements one would expect are there, the field recordings, drones, ambience, microscopic detailed sounds. Great stuff here."
Vital Weekly [more]

Kapnos" is an allegorical term taken from the Greek terminology and means "smoke" something related to combustion, chemical reactions and living between air and fire. This concept resonates particularly well with the sound materials provided in this effort: the stylistic register destined for instrumental micromal-ambient sounds immediately conceal some mystical meaning conveyed through natural symbols. "Kapnos" features a vast array of field recordings, weird concrete noises, precarious improvisations, electronic treatments, trancey-inspired drone buzz and other absorbing loops. It can be understood as a musical hermetic allegory of the cosmos, a private contemplative experience about sounds and silence that precede our being (language) and which are consequently related to the harmony of the spheres. This is an atmospheric album in the most uncompromising sense of the term. Another dimension to micro-tonal spacious electronic music."
Prog Archives

...In "Kapnos" sette collaborazioni incrociate tra belle menti della sperimentazione elettronica nostrana, unificate sotto la ragione sociale di Meerkat che porge continuità e si legittima come progetto comune e non compilazione nel suo fluire compatto nelle sue complementari varietà, tra le attese ambientali di "One" (Ics/Hue), e "Two" (Logoplasm), il molleggiare cosmico di "Three" (Aal/Punck), la fissità dark ambient di "Five" (Fhievel/Luca Sigurtà), le ritrose rarefazioni di "Six" (Andrea Marutti/Hue)."
Blow Up

"...Una sorta di "supergruppo" che si mantiene però entro le sobrie direttive dei precedenti capitoli della serie, forgiando in una suite coerente e unitaria movimenti che tendono verso un suono non consolatorio o vanamento criptico, bensì di spirituale e condivisa purezza."
Rumore [more]

"...I sette brani presenti in "Kapnos", concettualmente molto simili ed omogenei, sono sostanzialmente delle concise suite ambientali della lunghezza standardizzata di poco più di sei minuti, costruite su sovrapposizioni di drone, field recordings e manipolazioni elettroniche. A dispetto delle premesse devo dire che la fruizione del disco non si presenta affatto pesante, anzi, le melodie, benché lunghe, dilatate e minimali, sono spesso ben presenti. La scelta dei suoni da parte dei musicisti pare infatti prediligere frequenze calde e non invadenti, suoni granulari e rotondi, talvolta carichi di solennità, e raramente si sconfina verso qualcosa di più pesante, come nel caso di "Six", di Andrea Marutti e Hue, brano vicino per attitudine a certo dark ambient, forse il passaggio più inquietante e oscuro del progetto..."
p [more]

"...è proprio sul cortocircuito tra suoni moderni e suggestioni antiche che si regge la musica di "Kapnos", costantemente sospesa in un limbo immacolato e a volte oscuro. Elettronica, passaggi ambientali, accenni di elettroacustica alla Ambiances Magnetiques convivono omogeneamente. Così si va dalle suggestioni isolazioniste della sesta traccia (a cura di Marutti e Hue) e della terza (di Aal e Punck), alle digressioni lustomordiane della quinta (di Fhievel e Luca Sigurtà), passando per i field recordings suggestivi della seconda (di Logoplasm). Il tutto senza scarti percettivi, come fosse un'opera unica..."

"...Raggruppati in formazioni a due o a tre, i musicisti coinvolti nell'operazione hanno dato prova di saper dialogare senza problemi sul concetto di "fumo" seguendo le regole grammaticali scritte molti anni prima da Maurizio Bianchi, ispiratore insieme ad Uggeri dell'intero progetto. Immaginari post-industriali, folate di vento dark-ambient, field recordings e solipsismi isolazionisti si alternano in un flusso sonoro lungo quaranta minuti."

"Dark ambient texture-works may be had from Meerkat, whose "Kapnos" is the third in a line of recent releases by the team of Maurizio Bianchi and Matteo Uggeri / Hue... The results are very polished combinations of field recordings with highly treated electronic music, creating slow-moving but strangely immersive environments."
The Sound Projector

"...We have an Italian supergroup of experimental musicians all under one banner... With all of these artists working on the same thing, you would think that the result would be quite disjointed, especially since there are different artists working on each track. However, it is actually surprisingly coherent. Part of this likely comes from the sound of crackling fire that weaves its way through most of the tracks, keeping a sense of continuity. The tracks blend into each other, making it difficult to tell when one ends and the next begins. As for the music itself, it is subdued dark ambient that has just a touch of noisy elements that keep it engaging... This is really accessible experimental music – something that just about anyone could enjoy. It doesn't demand a lot from the listener, but it is a very enjoyable listen..."
Chain D.L.K. [more]

"...The title "Kapnos" is the Greek word for smoke and, appropriately, the music drifts and swirls in kind. It's a lovely, meditative record, but with enough rough elements (mostly courtesy of some glorious location recordings) to give it a bit of an edge and keep things interesting. Very nice indeed."
Rare Fre
quency [more]

"Meerkat legen mit “Kapnos” ein Opus auf, welches durch inhaltliche wie musikalische Geschlossenheit besticht und vornehmlich Individuen anspricht, die sich für meditative Drones mit experimentellem Charakter interessieren – meine absolute Empfehlung!"
Kultur Terrorismus

"...Each piece flows so seamlessly into the next that it is almost impossible to track the changes. For the most part "Kapnos" consists of slow burn ambient drone pieces given extra depth through the addition of field recordings (lots of recordings of fire). There are a couple of tracks made entirely from played sounds which serve to add further scope to the album. The end result is a very earthy form of darkly psychedelic ambience that whilst being maybe a little homogeneous is certainly a rewarding listen."
Wonderful Wooden Reasons

"..."Kapnos" brings together ten of the leading Italian artists working in electronic sound design today. Hue may already be a familiar name, having contributed to the past two volumes in the series, as well as Luca Bergero (Fhievel), who contributed to the first volume. The other artists bring a variety of skills to the mixing-table, coming from various projects with different focuses. An Italian super-group (in the most niche way imaginable) making bizarre musique concrète (or should it be musica concreta?) may not sound like much, but to enthusiasts, "Kapnos" is a treat. These artists mold noise into a form of raw beauty. It's not musical, at least not in the conventional sense, but is an art of noise, an ambient music in the most literal sense. On "Kapnos", certain elements or motifs are repeated throughout, granting a cohesion despite the fact that virtually no track on the album shares members with any other. Sometimes, expected samples are identified; crackling fire, a flame raging, but mostly it is in the process of creation that the spirit of "Kapnos" is realized. One artist may create a landscape of guitar and electronics, the material so to speak, while the collaborator will treat them, modulating and affecting, weaving in field recordings, until it is set ablaze, the result being the smoke, difficult to grasp and quickly vanishing..."
The Silent Ballet

"Слово "Kapnos" с греческого переводится как "дым", дым порождается огнем, огонь, в свою очередь, является источником звуков для этого альбома. Здесь постоянно что-то горит, трещит и плавится, пробуждая генетическую память о кострах в ночи, возле которых грелись наши предки. Мир современный противопоставлен этим архаичным воспоминаниям множеством различных звуков окружающего мира – полевые записи пестрят голосами людей и пением птиц, уличными сигналами и порывами ветра, раздувающего огонь (четвертый эпизод альбома). И, разумеется, все участники проекта привнесли в запись что-то свое – протяжные дроновые медитации (шестая часть, украшенная типичными приемами Андреа Марутти), абстрактные перемещения (эпизод три), электроакустические эксперименты, трансформации гитарного саунда, наплывы шумов и сюрреализм дымовых пейзажей, поднимающихся над горящим костром. Удивительно одно – как столько людей, имеющих свой особенный взгляд на создание музыки, записали такой ровный и целостный альбом. Здесь нет "перекосов", никто не тянет одеяло на себя, все сбалансировано и ровно. Один из альбомов, способных дать впечатление о музыкальной сцене целой страны – все характерные приемы, которые в ходу у итальянских исполнителей эмбиента и индастриала, представлены здесь в полной мере и в полную силу."

"A collective project involving several of the principal Italian operators in the area of post-dark-ambient-cum-natural-elements, a bandwagon that in this particular country has meant shelter for practically anybody who wakes up one morning thinking "If Vidna Obmana, Lustmord, Köner, Roach... put your additional hundred names here… can become famous with something like this, why not me?"... "
Temporary Fault

"...Il titolo ("Kapnos" vuol dire fumo) rappresenta ancora una stazione bastarda, quella che dal fuoco convoglia all'aria e, visto l'argomento "scottante", la divisione in più tracce per un risultato complessivo più secco e corporeo appare pienamente azzeccata. Atmosfere più nervose e claustrofobiche, quindi, ottenute da alcune realtà ormai consolidate quali Logoplasm ("Two") e il duo Fhievel / Sigurtà ("Five") o comunque non proprio di primo pelo quali i tandem Marutti - Hue ("Six") e Aal - Punck ("Three"). Ma, nonostante i singoli pezzi portino impresso il dna dei loro autori, l'impressione finale è comunque quella del progetto collettivo, unico e indivisibile (e molto più coerente di questi miei disordinati appunti). Non si tratta quindi di un "assembramento" caotico, ma di un mercato nel quale non v'è disequilibrio in geometrie e colori, come se fosse disegnato da un unico pittore o progettato da un unico architetto. Segno che tutti i protagonisti avevano ben chiare le finalità del progetto, vi hanno aderito e lo hanno sviluppato in miracolosa sintonia. E, infine, va anche detto che questo piccolo "mercato" pare essere oggi il più accreditato erede di quella grande fiera che fu "Superfici Sonore"..."
Sound and Silence

"La tetralogia "tra gli elementi" avviata lo scorso anno con l'opera ispirata alle nuvole "Nefelodhis", trova oggi il suo terzo complemento in "Kapnos", un album dedicato al fumo quale prodigioso effetto della combustione... Nei circa quaranta minuti di pura sperimentazione, l'ensemble mette a frutto le intuizioni e le differenti strategie operative di ciascun membro, in un equilibrio espressivo di grande efficacia. Suoni, campionamenti e registrazioni ambientali s'intrecciano cauti e soavi in un percorso senza soluzione di continuità che - proprio come il fumo – si presenta a tratti inebriante e impalpabile, a volte soffocante, altre ancora irritante o addirittura nocivo..."
Il Mucchio Selvaggio [more]

"Meerkat is a sort of super-project involving several Italian underground sound-manipulators... Different crossed collaborations gave birth to the seven untitled tracks of "Kapnos", which is also the third chapter of the "Between the Elements" quadrilogy (previously started with team-up releases by veteran M.B., Sparkle in Grey and Hue). Essentially, the music of this enigmatic CD puts together electro-acoustic ectoplasms with field recordings and drones, generating ethereal waves of sounds..."
Filth Forge

"...As a total concept, the sounds and aura's created stay true to the theme. With this much talent it would be hard not to. Each track is competently played, the compounds and effects of the subject (smoke), are heard in a subtle way. While the subject could have been heavy handed, here it is dealt with in a mystical and almost spiritual inclination. The members keep their continuity in the theme and each other without sacrificing any musical integrity."
Heathen Harvest

"...While listening to the tracks my mind gently wanders off to the early days of electronic music. Found sounds recorded on quarter inch tape, meticulously edited and processed forming a soundscape that refers to both the familiar and the abstract. The recordings have a beautiful clarity and sonic detail which helps to suck the listener into an alternate world of late night campfires with crispy flames and developing smoke... With "Kapnos", Meerkat have produced a really high quality ambient album that keeps growing on repeated listens..."
Connexion Bizarre

"...Aus Field Recordings und synthetisch generierten Sounds baut das Kollektiv flirrende Ambienzen auf, die sich bereits nach kurzer Zeit dermaßen in die Geräuschkulisse des Alltags einebenen, dass sie nicht mehr als Externität wahrgenommen werden. Mehr Atmo-Kollage als Drone. Brutal minimalistisch, aber derart arrangiert, dass es über die Gesamtdauer von 40 Minuten spannend bleibt."
Creative Eclipse

"...Smoke can happen and occur in many different ways, and this album sees the artists attempting to emulate this in sonic form. Low flames and the sparkling sounds of ignitions are blending with ethereal layers of music that make the transition between the tracks so smooth that the entire album seems like one long fuming track... Besides being a remarkable compilation of sound artists from Italy, "Kapnos" is an interesting and rewarding experience. Not only is this one of the few themed compilation albums that really stays loyal to its given subject, but also the entire album works really well as a whole, even though different artists are composing it. Highly recommended."
Musique Machine