“Our poetry now is the realization that we possess nothing” writes John Cage in Silence, showing us the critical part of the experimental sounds of the USA: the composer’s refusal to control the music, but rather letting the music simply “be”. In this way, the music loses the appearance of an act done purposefully, a voluntary “lack of intent” which become a game, designed to bridge the gap between life and art, or to get rid of the latter in favour of the former.
Many of the works of RAI’s Studio of Musical Phonology in Milan “Fonologia della Rai di Milano” came out of completely opposing principles: not fate, but Man, not I Ching but the taste, not the absence of an objective, but the feeling (semantic and communicative) guided Berio, Maderna and Nono in their compositions. These three were the keystones of success and creativity for the Studio of Musical Phonology. And it was only this kind of framework that could hold a personality like Marino Zuccheri, the technician and sound director. He was recently honoured by the Die Schachtel label that, in collaboration with NoMus and Rai, chose to collect all the conferences, concerts and pieces displayed at the exhibition held for him at the Museo del 900 from June to January 2016-2017 in one single volume. Marino Zuccheri’s work is documented in the book through photographs and testimonies, from visual artist to the only medium between composers and the studio machine.
Zuccheri was the first of those producer figures that subsequently embodied by Brian Eno: no one else knew better how to extract sounds from his head and from musicians’ lyrics using electronic instruments. But Zuccheri, though stubbornly denying it, was much more than a technician or even a maieuta-designer: at the end of the book, Die Schachtel published a CD with two unedited tracks, “Parete ‘67” and “Plastico” (written with Renzo Dall’Oglio) showing off Zuccheri’s musical talent.
Composed for Emilio Vedova’s installation at the Italian Pavilion at Montreal Expo using discarded sound bites from Luigi Nono, “Parete ‘67” is an incredible example of Zuccheri’s artistic sensitivity and taste. The track is full of electronic and vocal sounds (muffled and underground drones, grainy and scratchy sounds that cross and shake up the composition like electric shocks), their organisation and interaction traces the strongly expressionist story: it’s almost like listening to someone working to transform metal and explosive materials underground.