Monday, July 13, 2015

Fausto Romitelli Trash TV Trance

Fausto Romitelli (1963-2004)
Trash TV Trance (2002)
For Electric Guitar

2002, 12 minutes
Ricordi, Milan, nº 139457

"Since I was born, I bathe in the digitized images, synthetic sounds, artifacts. The artificial, the distorted, filtered - that's what the Nature of men today. "
Fausto Romitelli

Alessandra Novaga

Composer of the most promising young Italian génétation, Fausto Romitelli, born in Gorizia (Italy) in 1963, died prematurely in 2004 after a long illness.

He studied with Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and the Scuola Civica in Milan. Besides Donatoni, his great models were György Ligeti, Giacinto Scelsi, Stockhausen, Boulez and Grisey. The works of the eighties already testify the importance of sound as a "matter to forge", in the words of the composer: Ganimede (1986) for viola, Ku (1989) to fourteen musicians.

In the 90', he continued his sound investigation in Paris, at the IRCAM and his group of musicians - Murail, Grisey, Levinas, Dufourt. He followed the Cursus of composition at the IRCAM and collaborated from 1993 to 1995 with the "Représentations musicales" Team as a research composer. These experiments in sound synthesis and spectral analysis irrigate pieces composed from this period: Sabbia del Tempo (1991) for six performers, Natura morta con fiamme (1991) for string quartet and electronics.

Like a non formalist composer, Romitelli is not afraid of hybridization, decompartmentalizing the border between scholarly and popular music. Distortion, saturation, psychedelic rock inspiration, "dirty" harmony are part of her musical universe: Acid Dreams & Spanish Queens (1994) for all amplified, EnTrance (1995) Cupio Dissolvi (1996). The cycle Professor Bad Trip I, II and III (1998-2000), combining distorted acoustic and electric instrumental colors, as well as accessories such as kazoo and harmonica, is inspired in works written by Henri Michaux under the influence of drugs and recreates a hallucinatory atmosphere.

An Index of Metals (2003), video-opera for soprano and ensemble with video from Pachini Paulo is the musical testament of Romitelli, synthesis and summit of his musical language.

© IRCAM-Centre Pompidou 2008

Tom Pauwels

"I believe that popular music has changed our perception of sound and established new forms of communication, written Fausto Romitelli. Long, composers of art music, "the last defenders of the art", refused any interbreeding with "commercial" music. [...] The boundless energy, violent and visionary impact, the relentless search for new sounds able to open the "doors of perception": these aspectsdu most innovative rock seem to join the expression worries some contemporary composers. "

In Trash TV Trance, Fausto Romitelli pushes the argument to the extreme, serving a speech resolutely committed simultaneously distanced - in a spirit summed by the title of the piece - this sometimes leaves escape multiple devices diffusers sounds and images that fill our daily lives. The guitarist (electric) is alone on stage, with a number of effects pedals placed at his feet - nothing extraordinary, they are pedals that most rock guitarists use everyday. Solo wacky and humorous where the theatrical game of the interpreter plays a role as important as his nervous phrasing, chopped, saturated to the interruption, the work proceeds by obsessive loops and frenetic zapping, and larsens false contacts, while releasing some improbable moments and fragmentary lyrical. A dark and funny work, melancholic and powerful, at the same time.

Jeremiah Szpirglas, ManiFeste festival 2013.

 Ictus, François Deppe, Tom Paewels, Antonio Politano

Flavio Virzi

"At the centre of my composing lies the idea of considering sound as a material into which one plunges in order to forge its physical and perceptive characteristics: grain, thickness, porosity, luminosity, density and elasticity. Hence it is sculpture of sound, instrumental synthesis, anamorphosis, transformation of the spectral morphology, and a constant drift towards unsustainable densities, distorsions and interferences, thanks also to the assistance of electro-acoustic technologies. And increasing importance is given to the sonorities of non-academic derivation and to the sullied, violent sound of a prevalently metallic origin of certain rock and techno music."

Fausto Romitelli

Gebrüder Teichmann + Piano Possibile

"The language of music here is like a disease that gets worse because it causes lesions and its figures are symptoms or wounds."

Fausto Romitelli 

Gilbert Impérial

Opening up the second half of my final recital at Yale will be Fausto Romitelli’s “Trash TV Trance.” Romitelli’s work uses the electric guitar extensively in pieces for larger ensembles like “Professor Bad Trip,” “An Index of Metals,” “Lost,” “Blood on the Floor, Painting 1986,” and “Green, Yellow, and Blue.” “Trash TV Trance” uses extended techniques to capture the complex textures that Romitelli uses in his larger ensemble works. Romitelli achieves these effects through looping of phrases recorded live by the guitarist on stage and using both hands to articulate complex polyphony with found objects.

Romitelli was fond of psychedelic rock in the vein of Pink Floyd, but he uses the sounds of popular music within the context of his own composerly musical language. “Trash TV Trance” for me exemplifies the composer’s ambivalence towards popular music while trying to appropriate popular musical language in order to reach a wide audience. As a solo work for electric guitar, the instrument’s rock culture is present on the stage and Romitelli plays off of the cognitive dissonance created by a rock instrument on the highbrow concert stage.

Romitelli is very interested in exploring ways to transform the electric guitar beyond traditional modes of playing in “Trash TV Trance.” Over the course of the piece the guitarist scratches the strings with a coin and an abrasive sponge, uses a cello bow (or in my performance, a drumstick) and a brass slide to create complex polyphonic textures, and creates feedback through the guitar pickups with an electric razor. Much like John Cage’s prepared piano, Romitelli augments the instrumental interface of the electric guitar with found objects in a nihilistic expansion of the instrument, which is so strongly associated with popular musical culture. Furthermore, through the use of a looping pedal that repeats short phrases recorded by the guitarist in real time, Romitelli engages in a critique of the repetitive music of popular culture. The conclusion of the piece makes this critique strikingly evident. The guitarist constructs a complex loop that starts off sounding tame, but overtime evolving into a cacophonous monstrosity of noise. While playing in time with the loop for a short time, the guitarist gradually accelerates out of sync with the loop until the tension between man and machine is too much to bear. Everything stops abruptly, as if interrupted. Then… silence.

Trevor Babb

Giacomo Baldelli

Lucia D'Errico

Ensemble Nikel - Yaron Deutsch

Rubén Barros Deschamps

Derek Johnson

Giacomo Baldelli

Andrea Lanza

Kobe Van Cauwenberghe

Luca Nostro



Dia Nykta for solo flute, 1982
Solare for solo guitar, 1983
Furit aestus for soprano and instrumental quintet, 1985
Ganimede for solo viola, 1986
Have your trip for harp, guitar and mandolin, 1988–89
Kû for 14 performers, 1989


Nell'alto dei giorni immobili for 6 performers, 1990
Natura morta con fiamme for string quartet and electronics, 1991
La Lune et les eaux for 2 guitars, 1991
La sabbia del tempo for 6 performers, 1991
Mediterraneo - I. Les idoles du soleil for ensemble, 1992
Mediterraneo - II. L'azur des déserts for voice and 14 instruments, 1992–93
Your time is over for cello and ensemble, 1993
Golfi d'ombra for solo percussion, 1993
Acid Dreams and Spanish Queens for ensemble, 1994
Seascape for contrabass recorder, 1994
EnTrance for soprano, ensemble and electronics, 1995
Domeniche alla periferia dell'impero. Prima domenica for 4 instruments, 1995–96
Cupio Dissolvi for 14 performers, 1996
The Nameless City for strings and bells ad libitum, 1997
Lost for voice and 15 instruments, 1997
Music for László Moholy-Nagy's film Ein Lichtspiel, schwarz-weiss-grau for recorder, double bass, guitar, percussion and piano, 1997
Professor Bad Trip: Lesson I for 8 performers and electronics, 1998
Professor Bad Trip: Lesson II for ensemble, 1998–99
The Poppy in the Cloud for choir and ensemble, 1999


Professor Bad Trip: Lesson III for ensemble, 2000
Blood on the Floor, Painting 1986 for ensemble, 2000
Domeniche alla periferia dell'impero. Seconda domenica: hommage à Gérard Grisey for 4 instruments, 2000
Flowing down too slow for string orchestra, percussion and bells, 2001
Amok Koma for ensemble and electronics, 2001
Chorus for percussionists, 2001
Trash TV Trance for electric guitar, 2002
An Index of Metals, video opera for soprano, ensemble, multiple projections and electronics (Text: Kenka Lekovich, Video: Paolo Pachini, Leonardo Romoli, 2003
Dead City Radio Audiodrome for orchestra, 2003
Green, Yellow and Blue for ensemble, 2003