U36 | Andrea Borghi | Fuochi Rituali di San Giuseppe
format : CD ltd to 200 hand numbered copies
all copies come with an additional art card on 300gr satin paper
release year : 2016
length : 28’11
1. part I
2. part II
3. part III
status : OUT NOW !
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(Belgium) : 13 € (inc.postage)
(Europe) : 14 € (inc.postage)
(World) : 15 € (inc.postage)
: info :
March 19th is Father’s Day, which falls in correspondence with St. Joseph, husband of Mary and also considered the father of Jesus. In Italy, however, we know that every religious holiday is intertwined magically with some pagan ritual that lasts even today despite the years. So, on March 19 in many cities and villages of Italy it also celebrates the end of winter and beginning of spring, and the fire is the symbol of this long awaited step.
The bonfire is also part of a purification and consecration ritual.
In March agrarian purification rites are also carried out. Traces of the bond with this type of worship are found in the tradition of the bonfires of crop residues of the previous year and still widespread in many regions.
Usually, in this huge fire under control, a puppet which takes the shape of an old man or an old woman is burnt, and symbolizes the Winter. While burning the puppet, one says goodbye to the cold weather and greets the beginning of spring.
Throughout Italy, especially in small towns, the Feast of St. Joseph is still very much felt by people, who are carrying on the old traditions.
This work is the result of field recordings made during a whole night spent last year on the occasion of this particular traditional celebration, one of the many fires that are done in the countryside near the area where I live, precisely in Versilia, Lucca Province, Tuscany .
This particular location is a wasteland of about 2000 square meters located near to the sea.
(Andrea Borghi, February 2016)
: reviews :
“… And also it is a ritual still practiced in the traditional Tuscan countryside, the bonfires lit on March 19 in preparation for the change of season, which Borghi draws for the album on Unfathomless by belgian Daniel Crokaert, a label devoted to works that “reflect the spirit of specific places. In this case, the popping of the fire crackling, reiterative, hypnotic, is the familiar but rarely investigated leitmotiv onto which mysterious presences, intriguing processed sounds and voices of childrens are playing in a finely chiseled field recording version of the Wicker Man myth.” [translated from Italian by A. Borghi]
Play this often enough and loudly enough and your neighbours might think you’re operating a diner, frying up loads of comfort-food lamb chops, bacon and eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner for hungry commuters and truckers. Indeed, the dominant sounds on the three parts that make up this recording are fire-related: a crackling fire on firewood, oil being fried over fire, and people and children gathering around a fire. While these fiery field recordings constitute the sonic foundation of this CD, and are more or less continuous (though the sounds may dwindle close to nearly inaudible), other more ghostly or murky sounds pass in and out of the space above the snap, crackle and pop to give us a recording that’s as much mysterious as its source material is mundane.
The recording is very spacious with a cool darkness that appears to be benign, and listeners may be surprised that they are drawn into its depths by fragments of ordinary every-day noises, sizzle and crackle. Even though there is not much variation in the soundscapes, the mystery surrounding the noises and the rituals that they suggest keep attention close and boredom away. More soothing and comforting than exciting or forbidding, you’d probably bring out this album to play during times when you want familiar company, without too much stimulation that might frazzle your nerves and leave you feeling jumpy and unable to relax.
Gosh, just talking about this recording is making me hungry …
The Sound Projector
Many moons ago when Dieter Müh were a two-piece we camped out on the wilds of Dartmoor and recorded fire. The camp fire. With our Mini-Disc recorder and Dictaphones we recorded from varying angles and distances. Back in he studio the sound was manipulated, slowed down (quite a lot) and used for the live performance “Sutreworde” which took place in Augsburg 2003.
Andrea Borghi (from the project VipCranco) has released his twelfth solo recordings “Fuochi Rituali Di San Giuseppe” (Ritual Fires of St. Joseph). Sounds split in to 3 parts. Sounds of fire. Sounds of fire multi layered and textured. Great sounds of depth, slowed recordings giving a great sense of space. Additional sounds of frying oil and “Presence” add to the dynamism. It is strange how fire can sound like water – something I remember finding out for myself on Dartmoor.
These recordings were made in Versilla, Tuscany.
The running time is 20+ minutes, and comes complete with brilliant artwork / design. To be filed alongside recordings by Slavek Kwi, Chris Watson and releases by the Gruenrekorder label. This CD is on (a new label to me) Unfathomless and available on their website. Unfathomless.net
As the weather turns cold and the days grow dark, the fire season waits. We split and gather logs, clean the stoves and fireplaces, and perhaps enjoy a few outdoor campfires with hot dogs and s’mores. Sure, it might be said that the summer is more suited for fires, but it’s not the season’s dominant feature. October brings thoughts of witches, deep woods and pagan rituals. Andrea Borghi introduces us to one such ritual, observed on March 19. The Fuochi Rituali di San Giuseppe is a fire recording that celebrates the end of winter in Italy. Old crops are burned, peasants feast and in sympathy with the Burning Man festival, a puppet of an old man or woman is torched. Fire represents purity and rebirth, and the use of flame on such occasions is widespread; in my home church, a similar ceremony takes place at the New Year, as papers containing bad memories are thrown into a burning can. There’s never an inopportune time to start again.
Borghi’s recording is remarkably pristine. Culled from a night of recordings in Tuscany, near the artist’s home, it calls to mind various associations which will vary from listener to listener. The recording fills a long-standing gap in the field recording genre, as many releases have included segments of fire, but have not centered on them. While playing this recording, one wonders at the possible reasons. Rain and waves are soothing, but is fire not equally so? The crackles are hypnotizing. The occasional pops and breaks as logs burst and reshuffle provide dynamic contrast and tension. And then there are the mysterious additions, especially in the closing track, when the sounds of metal and children sneak in.
A fire offers unexpected timbres and when it burns hot, unexpected colors as well. I will never forget the purple flames I once saw in an apple factory blaze. Nor will anyone who attended the Fuochi ritual ever forget the puppet, dancing as it melts, spasming as if still alive, holding on to a semblance of life, fighting for every last gasp of oxygen. While this recording commemorates a spring ritual, its sounds are more suited for fall: the puppets die, the masks fall, the woods are set ablaze.
A Closer Listen
During the night of March 19, 2014, Andrea Borghi made recordings in Versilia, Tuscany and all of the sounds recorded deal with ‘fire’, as the title indicates: fire rituals of Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus and whose feast day is on March 19th (in Western Christianity that is). I am not sure how the fire relates to that but Borghi tells us this: “In Italy, however, we know that every religious holiday is intertwined magically with some pagan ritual that lasts even today de-spite the years. So, on March 19 in many cities and villages of Italy it also celebrates the end of winter and beginning of spring, and the fire is the symbol of this long awaited step. The bonfire is also part of a purification and consecration ritual.” It is part of agrarian purification rites that are held in springtime, and usually a puppet of an old man or woman is burnt.
As for sound sources, Borghi uses the crackling of fire, presence of people gathered around the fire, frying oil on the fire, children play-ing around the fire and firewood. I assume Borghi is still at his ‘usu-al’ trusted laptop, running whatever self-built version of max/msp to transform these sounds, but for the well-trained boy scout that I am, it is not too difficult to recognize some of these sounds, especially the frying oil is something I can very much relate too. The sound of people and children however is not easily recognized in this crackling mass of sound. In each of the three pieces on this rather short (twenty-nine minutes) release the mildly processed crackling of the fire is further transformed in more crackling sounds. Very few longer sounds are added in the form of a drone or a high piercing sound, but just enough to make these three pieces distinctly different from each other, and yet it makes it also to a most coherent piece of music. I think as such the length is quite all right. Much more of these crackles would have been too much, as it seems that Borghi has exhausted the possibil-ities of his sound well enough, but it also makes this now into quite a powerful work.
Frans de Waard