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Unsounds, 79U

Fragments takes the poems of Italian poet-writer Gabriele Tinti, who focuses on the subject of death and suffering, often exploring the broken lives of the defeated and the disabled, and places these poems within the striking images and dark recitation of American photographer-vocalist Roger Ballen (he illustrated Gabriele Tinti’s collection of poems, The Earth Will come To Laugh and To Feast, Powerhouse Books, New York, 2020, and Fragments offers a series of his photos) and the imaginative sonic universes of fellow Italian Massimo Pupillo (the bassist of Zu and Hairy Bones).

The unique combination of unsettling music, and dark words and images is meant to recreate a «primordial cave». Or in Tinti’s poetic vision: «Primordial Man was the consumer of the divine. In him, in his art, there was a constant exchange of energy with the sacred. Caves were probably necropolises: the dead were taken there and fed with the flesh and blood of an animal divinity that was sacrificed as bearers of unifying strength. Animam pro anima. Cor pro corde. As an intensified, repeated, primary act, it became a rite and consequently a cult».

The dark delivery of Ballen, with the rich and nuanced, suggestive atmospheres of Pupillo recreates the terror of the primordial rites imagined by Tinti, which were sublimated only through repeated and inevitable expressions of desire, prayer, wound, sore and sign, produced on the simulacra of the bodies of animals and, at times, of men. As a coda to this obsessive and unsettling tale, Pupillo explores the possibility of a soundtrack to Ballen’s 1972 film «Ill Wind», where the main protagonist might find meaning, albeit a Sisyphean one, and perhaps also consolation, in his struggles. This is a perfect conclusion to this dark and immersive listening experience.

Eyal Hareuveni

Roger Ballen (voice), Massimo Pupillo (music), Gabriele Tinti (poems)