Since taking the first musical ride with him on Line B of Rome’s subway system with his 2014 release Metrophony (Time Released Sound), I have been enjoying the evocative themes and soundscapes created by Francesco Giannico. A web designer and videographer as well as a sound artist with a thesis on the history of film music, he always infuses his work with rich narrative elements, a cinematic perspective, and a strong sense of place. This is particularly evident on such as Les Mondes Imaginaires which took the listener on a beautiful journey across the Italian countryside or Agoraphonia (Dronarivm), his collaboration with compatriot Giulio Aldinucci released on World Listening Day of 2016 which they created from field recordings captured in locations spanning the globe. While creating another stunning audio journey for his latest album, Giannico gives this latter aspect of his work an intriguing existential twist.
Whereas the field recordings on all the aforementioned albums are linked to specific locations, Misplaced is based on an archive of audio samples recorded during various trips to Italy in which it is impossible to reconstitute the exact origin. The result is what Giannico refers to as a “non-place”, not in the sense suggested by anthropologist Marc Augé when he wrote about the banal anonymous intersections of modern human interaction like highways and hotels, but in the absolute sense. Yes, these are the kind of lush soundscapes accompanied by florid effusions of color and warm acoustic instruments we have come to expect from Giannico, but they are also dislocated in space and time. They are vivid and distinctive – they belong somewhere – but, that connection remains unspecified and unresolved except perhaps in the mind of the artist or the listener. In a world where human connection has been so profoundly disrupted and left so many of us feeling emotionally displaced, this is a concept that resonates in an surprisingly powerful way. This is not to suggest Misplaced is an album that will make you as despondent as the clown on the album’s cover. The music is too engrossing and beautiful for that, but it will certainly give you something meaningful to turn over in your mind as you immerse yourself in its sonic delights.
Misplaced is available from the recently launched Adesso imprint on limited edition CD (100 copies) as well as digital download. The album was mastered by Alexandr Vatagin and features cover photography by Franceso himself.