Italian vocal and sound artist Barbara De Dominicis’ Body Maps was inspired by French philosopher Jean Luc Nancy’s Corpus (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy), a phenomenological-sociological-theological-philosophical masterwork that reviews classical takes on the corpus – the body, including the mystical body of Christ – from Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Paul to Descartes, Hegel, Husserl, and Freud. Body Maps evolved through a prolonged incubation, almost two years and a half of tryouts, interruptions and afterthoughts to find a possible way to decipher an ineffable and particularly crucial moment of De Dominicis’ life.
Body Maps collects recording sessions held in Italy between 2019 and 2021, featuring De Dominicis’ caressing vocals and poetic spoken words, subtle electroacoustic textures and found sounds, with a rotating cast of guest musicians. De Dominicis’ lyrics evoke the attempt to transfigure her body’s fragility that felt sinking, a private emotional labyrinth made of abandonment, imperfection, vulnerability, time, alienation, sensuality, illness and identity. The lyrics portray a sad and carnal quasi-geography of the body, strongly related to a denied, (un)revealed and recovered sensuality. De Dominicis solidified the sense of vulnerability and spontaneity during the post-production process by keeping plenty of unvarnished sounds, half-broken melodies, cracked words and ghostly echoes.
The five pieces – «Mouth», «Bones», «Womb», «Heart Unbeaten» and «Hands» – capture beautifully the delicate and fragile, dreamy and highly sensual inner world of De Dominicis. Body Maps offers a kaleidoscope of sensations tied to disbelief, fear, and sudden absence. It is structured in the nuanced architecture of enigmatic soundscapes around which the body unfolds its secretive and most intimate maps. The guest musicians’ sparse and gentle contributions are weaved carefully in and out, in a slow fragmented exploration that is sometimes painful, sometimes steady, and sometimes disorienting. The artwork of Raffaella Nappo intensifies the sense of touching vulnerability.
A highly imaginative and poetic work.
Barbara De Dominicis (v, elec, prog, found sounds), Marco Bonini (g, elec), Elio Martusciello (elec, prog), Giulio Maschio (dr), Marco Messina (elec, prog), Massimiliano Sacchi (bcl), Erica Scherl (vio), Andrea Serrapiglio (c), David Stampfli (spoken v), Teho Teardo (p, g, strings, prog, arr)