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A Global Taxonomical Machine Taxonomy

rien ne se désarticule ici, tout se distille avec gourmandise, élégance et évidence. ImproJazz, France

Taxonomy parvient à relier de manière heureuse des univers variés et des atmosphères sonores contrastées, tantôt agitées, tantôt d’un calme olympien. Les Cahiers de l’ACME, Belgium

Taxonomy (Martusciello, Lella, Fega) plays compositions and improvises, exploring the syncretism between different musical codes. Taxonomy always allows the whole to be divided up into its constituent parts. A line of shadow between osmosis and isomorphism. Martusciello is a member of the improvisation group Ossatura.

In the same spirit as Parasites (AM 096), this group chooses an electro-noise approach. The finesse of the mix, worthy of electroacoustic music, highlights the rich details, a dynamic palette ranging from clashing noise to silent tracks. The album, A Global Taxonomical Machine, offers a gripping blend of concrete noise, abstract electronic effects and acoustic sections. Martusciello work in the improv group Ossatura, a major act on the international avant-garde music circuit.

Places which do not appear on any map. Morphological analogies that lie between thought and micro-organisms. Strange correlations between the letters of forgotten alphabets and globalised (de-localised) languages. For us in the past all books, alphabets, signs, chemistry (both organic and inorganic), geography, religion, politics and journeys were only scenery of an experience, a dream or aspiration. Then we met by the same bookshelf of that same library.

We are not particularly cultured and so we confined ourselves to the task of taxonomy, the most arbitrary of taxonomies. We thought about compiling signs according to our desires. The resulting volume does not tell any story, or even reveal any truth or discovery. This is an illegible text, devoid of significance but with meaning. If, in some way, the world itself can be reflected in the myriad of small fragments that compose it, then this is the fragment that we have unearthed.

Very active in a number of groups and ensembles, and extremely versatile, the members of this trio live for improvised and experimental music. Elio Martusciello is a renowned electroacoustician, with several international awards under his belt. Besides electronics, Roberto Fega also plays tenor and soprano sax. He is a member of the political fanfare Titubanda and the multimedia collective Arturo, and also composes music for dance. Graziano Lella is best known as a bassist and a sax player. He has previously played in a punk band before joining the avant-rock group Dura Figura in 1997.

A Global Taxonomical Machine

Taxonomy

Elio Martusciello, Graziano Lella, Roberto Fega

Some recommended items

In the press

  • Nicolas Pelletier, emoRAGEi, August 31, 2006
  • Luc Bouquet, ImproJazz, no. 125, May 1, 2006
    rien ne se désarticule ici, tout se distille avec gourmandise, élégance et évidence.
  • Alan Freeman, Audion, no. 51, March 1, 2006
  • Francesca Odilia Bellino, All About Jazz Italy, December 1, 2005
  • Michele Coralli, Altremusiche, November 7, 2005
  • Petr Ferenc, Unijazz, November 1, 2005
  • Roald Baudoux, Les Cahiers de l’ACME, no. 224, September 17, 2005
    Taxonomy parvient à relier de manière heureuse des univers variés et des atmosphères sonores contrastées, tantôt agitées, tantôt d’un calme olympien.
  • Marco Carcasi, Sands Zine, September 15, 2005
    These are fast and serene neural migrations that move along a series of sensorial, fascinating ellipses…
  • Etero Genio, Kathodik, September 8, 2005
    A highly recommended disc, the ideal companion to a few solo releases of each member of the trio…
  • Marco Carcasi, Kathodik, September 8, 2005
    This is without any doubt one of the crucial pivot of our own home-grown contemporaneity.
  • Mike Meginnis, Splendid E-Zine, August 18, 2005
  • Paul Bijlsma, Phosphor, no. 118, August 1, 2005
    A dynamic electro accoustic output.
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 481, July 5, 2005
    The album is very well produced. The music sounds very clear, and so it’s impossible to miss any detail.

De zéro à disque

Nicolas Pelletier, emoRAGEi, August 31, 2006

Taxonomy réunit deux membres des improvisateurs d’Ossatura [sic] (Elio Martusciello, guitariste, et Roberto Fega, échantillonnage), à Graziano Lella, au laptop. Ce trio italien propose un mélange de séquences électroniques et de bruits concrets agrémentés de passages acoustiques. Le travail présenté sur cet album sent la minutie à plein nez. S’il y a eu improvisation, c’était avant les traitements informatiques, d’une formidable précision. Loin d’être brouillonne, la musique de Taxonomy se savoure en prêtant attention aux détails dans la texture, la variété et la profondeur des sons. Plusieurs niveaux de lecture (ou d’audition, si vous préférez) sont ainsi possibles. Les titres sont plutôt contrastés (la ballade Bear Witness Against Themselves précède le rocailleux voyage sidéral de Light the Fires of Insubordination), mais il y a pourtant un fil conducteur qui unit ces enregistrements datant des années 2003-04. Intéressant!

Critique

Luc Bouquet, ImproJazz, no. 125, May 1, 2006

Voici une musique sans querelle, sans parti pris agressif. Qu’elle soit élaborée électroniquement (une guitare par ci, une clarinette samplée par là) ne change rien à l’affaire; rien ne se désarticule ici, tout se distille avec gourmandise, élégance et évidence. Les balayages se construisent par petites touches et s’ils envahissent l’espace, ce n’est pas par orgueil ou par désir de marquer un territoire mais parce que la musique devaint en passer par là pour atteindre (attendre) le silence. Le voici, ce silence, dense, constructif, troué de quelques imperceptibles soubresauts. Il reviendra plus tard, s’ouvrant alors à des soleils bienveillants, des astres filtrants.

Cette musique possède son rhytme, sa navigation. Je ne saurais dire si elle est lente, hypnotique ou cabossée. Ce que je sais, c’est qu’elle s’engage avec sincérité dans des bras de fleuve aux destinées secrètes et protectrices. A mettre entre toutes les oreilles.

rien ne se désarticule ici, tout se distille avec gourmandise, élégance et évidence.

Recensione

Francesca Odilia Bellino, All About Jazz Italy, December 1, 2005

Le presenti quattro novità della canadese Ambiances Magnétiques rendono bene il raggio di azione — esteso, vasto e aperto — che questa etichetta copre.

La parola è musica. Era già il motto de Le Trésor de la langue, CD per l’Ambiances Magnétiques del 1989 di René Lussier dove le intonazioni del discorso determinavano le melodie strumentali. In Oralizations, Paul Dutton, uno dei massimi esponenti mondiali della vocal sound art, continua il discorso di Lussier, spingendo quasi al parossismo le proprie escursioni (non verbali) nel dominio musicale del canto sonoro (soundsinging).

La parola oltre la parola, in essenza. In Oralizations Dutton intercala pezzi “parlati” a pezzi “cantati”, considerando parola e musica come le due estremità di un continuum sonoro sul quale l’artista muove il proprio lavoro. Ne risulta una sorta di “meta-logo” che tenta di esprimere l’indicibile, attraverso tutto lo spettro (vocale, canoro, sonoro, rumoristico, fonologico) di cui il suo locutore può servirsi. Lavoro di indubbia difficoltà, ma di assoluto interesse [essenziale l’ascolto in cuffia].

Leaves and Snows è un disco del trio formato dal giovane e talentuoso chitarrista Antoine Berthiaume, dal pianista francese Quentin SirJacq, e dall’ingegnere del suono Norman Teale. Di tutt’altro genere rispetto al precedente (qui siamo in completa sperimentazione jazz), sembra avere continuità non diretta, non esplicita, assolutamente non cercata. Presenta un certo uso della particella suono — provenga essa dal graffio delle corde, dal tocco del piano o dal missaggio elettronico — che tocca sia parola (intesa come poesia) che musica (intesa come discorso sui suoni).

Da corde, tasti, percussioni sfiorate (e poco percosse) scaturisce un jazz di matrice sperimentale, con riferimenti voluti ad un Derek Bailey e ad un Fred Frith, una musica profonda, cupa a tratti, piena d’imprevisti, oscillante in una atmosfera rarefatta. Lavoro immaginario e immaginifico, per carattere dei suoi interpreti, beffeggia le regole della gravità con il suo senso di irrinunciabile sospensione.

Di impronta nettamente jazzistica è invece Jardin d’exil del canadese Ensemble en pièces, quintetto guidato dal sassofonista Philippe Lauzier, accompagnato dal pianista Alexandre Grogg, dal batterista Thom Gossage, dal trombettista Andy King e dal contrabbassista Christophe Papadimitriou.

Jardin d’exil snocciola quattordici brani di una musica che fatica a bilanciarsi tra chiarezza e confusione. L’instabilità non è la tecnica (fragile confine tra improvvisazione e composizione), quanto piuttosto il punto d’intesa raggiunto — un corto instante, tu sei là, immobile. La musica si frantuma letteralmente nei pezzi dell’ensemble, restituendoci poche e forse vaghe certezze, atmosfere schive, immagini discontinue. Sincopi sui tempi deboli, essenza di questo jazz.

Taxonomy (che sta per Elio Martusciello, Graziano Lella e Roberto Fega) suona e improvvisa esplorando terreni di un sincretismo elettronico da tempo esso stesso terreno di ricerca. La combinazione di suoni (quale che sia la loro provenienza) non è un monolite freddo all’ascolto, ma al contrario A Global Taxonomical Machine, è una vera e propria macchina in grado di classificare ogni particella e da cui fluiscono luci e ombre di una musica ricchissima di dettagli e di sfumature. Statica e dinamica, silenzio e ipertensione dello spazio acustico sono campi di indagine di questo lavoro che riesce a mantenere un’impronta piacevolmente attenta all’acustica. Tre essenze affiatate che disseminano nella trama di questo lavoro sapienza ed essenza. Non sono da nessuna parte (solo un clarinetto ci ricorda che siamo in presenza di un fiato, di una vita, di una persona), eppure è così pregna di loro questa musica…

Recensione

Michele Coralli, Altremusiche, November 7, 2005

La breve frase di una chitarra ripetuta e sporcata da una serie di disturbi elettronici che lentamente hanno il sopravvento sull’interno paesaggio sonoro di questa macchina tassonomica globale. Dietro al glitch si nasconde oggi tutto ciò che viene processato, ovvero allontanato da qualsiasi evocazione gestuale a tal punto da far scomparire l’idea stessa del musicista e suggerire invece quella di un’intelligenza artificiale che plasma la musica secondo un proprio disegno, razionale, quanto incommensurabile.

Certe esperienze come quelle di Taxonomy (alias Elio Martusciello, Graziano Lella e Roberto Fega) andrebbero lasciate sedimentare a lungo (anni o decenni), prima di poterne trarne un qualsivoglia tipo di giudizio. Non si tratta di pusillanimità critica, bensì di consapevolezza della necessità di un maggiore distacco storico da molte di quelle esperienze estemporanee che si stanno adunando attorno alle apparentemente infinite possibilità dei processi di manipolazione digitale. Molte delle sperimentazioni che si compiono oggi sono da ascriversi in un contesto che trova l’inizio della propria storicizzazione in molte di quelle musiche del recente passato in stretta relazione con le innovazioni tecnologiche che hanno consentito di allargare le capacità percettive di una buona fetta di ascoltatori.

Certo oggi il laptop senza il giradischi, i nastri Ampex, le valvole AEG e i circuiti modulari farebbero senz’altro un’altra musica, così come i Taxonomy senza Schaeffer, Cage, Riley, e… Marino Zuccheri. Ci sono costruzioni che però sembrano logiche, stabili, incrollabili pur nell’estemporaneità della loro edificazione (vedi l’Electro-Acoustic Ensemble), altre sfuggono il processo ricreativo che ognuno di noi innalza a Gestalt nell’ascolto di un lavoro anche complesso. Martusciello e compagni sembrano voler continuamente spostare l’angolo di tiro, per rendersi imprendibili e sfuggire ogni inquadratura.

Una caratteristica del genere appartiene senz’altro ai grandi, anche se la creazione di una tassonomia basata sulla forza dell’errore può rilevarsi un progetto tanto utopico, quanto inutile, come già Pierre Schaeffer ha dimostrato con il suo tentativo, andato frustrato, di voler classificare tutti i rumori secondo decine e decine di categorie diverse. Anche la memoria di un laptop, o di mille laptop, per quanto umanamente non quantificabile, si pone come uno spazio segnato da un limite. Ma forse per capirne davvero le potenzialità si dovrà aspettare ancora.

Critique

Roald Baudoux, Les Cahiers de l’ACME, no. 224, September 17, 2005

Taxonomy est un trio italien formé en 2003 et composé de Elio Martusciello (guitare et instruments électroniques), Graziano Lella (ordinateur portable), également connu sous le pseudonyme arg, et Roberto Fega (échantillonnage et traitement). Martusciello n’est pas un inconnu, puisqu’il mène une carrière de compositeur électroacoustique et a remporté de multiples concours dans le monde entier. Mais ici, les musiques sont co-composées avec les autres membres de la formation. De plus, l’improvisation occupe également une large part dans la construction de ces musiques (Martusciello et Fega font d’ailleurs partie du groupe d’improvisation bien connu Ossatura). Les matières sonores présentes A Global Taxonomical Machine démontrent un savoir-faire certain dans l’utilisation de l’outil électroacoustique au travers de la qualité de facture, presque équivalente à ce qu’on peut trouver dans des pures musiques de studio. Taxonomy parvient à relier de manière heureuse des univers variés et des atmosphères sonores contrastées, tantôt agitées, tantôt d’un calme olympien. Malgré ces qualités indéniables, il manque à ces musiques un peu de densité dans l’écriture et surtout une forme. En effet, la succession d’états statiques basés sur des figures sur fond ne donne pas à percevoir une réelle dynamique à l’œuvre dans le temps.

Taxonomy parvient à relier de manière heureuse des univers variés et des atmosphères sonores contrastées, tantôt agitées, tantôt d’un calme olympien.

Review

Marco Carcasi, Sands Zine, September 15, 2005

Martusciello, Fega and Lella: almost quietly and without unnecessary roars, this trio has released an agile and slim album, one that after a few listenings firmly takes place in your cd player. A Global Taxonomical Machine is made of microstatic, granulous bursts, and of evocative, placid and never too silent silences, often interrupted by sly-as-a-serpent’s-kiss acoustic forays.

The magnifiyng lens the trio uses has been already tested on many live occasions-the three musicians generate a sound path made of microscopic, isolated cells, each one of them being the constituent of larger structures.

This is errant electroacoustic music, moved by a quest for the detail; an acousmatic shadow-line that-as in the beautiful Behind Me-crosses and trespasses different stylistic strata, always with an economy of means, careful not to get stuck too long in too fixed a place.

These are fast and serene neural migrations that move along a series of sensorial, fascinating ellipses; that rummage between improvised spasms and sneaky, minimal instances; a sarcastic behind-the-scene aftertaste that makes all the difference.

These pieces seem fantastic, strange stammering creatures, grown in the shadow of a mountain made of doubts; they are simple creatures that move continuously and involuntarily forward right when you stumble upon them; they are rude and not really talkative; they do not offer easy grips to be interpreted with, only a general fragrance floating in the air after they’re gone, a particular, interior resonance that deeply shakes without ever being hostile. Harmony and awareness.

Action and praxis.

These are fast and serene neural migrations that move along a series of sensorial, fascinating ellipses…

Review

Etero Genio, Kathodik, September 8, 2005

I had been waiting with curiosity for the debut album of this Roman (or almost Roman) trio and I should say that my patience has been amply rewarded by this cd, released by the prestigious Canadian label Ambiances Magnétiques.

A Global Taxonomical Machine is-thus supported by an outstanding package-an album made of sound graffitis, bits and pieces perennialy torn between order and disorder: their appearance made more fascinating by their unstable equilibrium; their sound structures-albeit quite daring- never undermining the simple listening pleasure. The first track, Bear Witness Against Themselves, immediately echoes what has just been said, with its bagpiper’s theme that dissolves into uncontrolled voices, coughs and metallic resonances. Light the Fires of Insubordination keeps the tension quite high, with a spectacular contrast between a noisy first part and a second one made of imperceptible, almost silent pulses. However, it’s the very beatiful melody of Ad Esempio, played on clarinet (Roberto Fega?)-and continually abused by illogical, unmelodic sounds-that constitutes the highest point of this cd. Afterwards, every probability enters the realm of possibility, and that applies as well to the classically jazz rhythm of the opening section of Dipinto sul Nulla, although only “avant le désastre”, that is before the sudden change that transforms the track into a rolling Gimme Some Lovin’ for the city of the digital utopia. Partly because of that, the following Behind Me-a subtle lesson in minimal ambient-ology-comes out as the most predictable moment of the whole album. Tension gets high again with Eme, the most contorted track of the cd: always variating, it is a true punch under the belt to every idea of stability. After that follows a brief repetitive piece titled Exaust Utopias and an 8-second fragment reminding me of Starfucker’s (Creare Metafore). The cd ends with the draping lines of Euglena-in my opinion the best track with Ad Esempio. A highly recommended disc, the ideal companion to a few solo releases of each member of the trio, Unoccupied Areas by Elio Martusciello (on ReR), Arg by Arg/Graziano Lella (on SIRR.ecords) and Metafonie by Roberto Fega (on Aleatory Prod.).

Voto 8

A highly recommended disc, the ideal companion to a few solo releases of each member of the trio…

Review

Marco Carcasi, Kathodik, September 8, 2005

Reality continuously mutates, depending on the point of observation. A road is not only a road, it has been a mountain, a forest, probably an open sea; maybe even nothing at all.

Time itself is a concept that most frequently appears to be nothing more than a "market trick" that very little adds to each individual’s life. Quite the contrary indeed!Martusciello, Lella and Fegaseem to be perfectly aware of the duplicity hidden under every thing and every event; their solo activities clearly show the unstoppable need to trespass the worn schemes of most electroacoustic improv music; their ideal model is loss, not certainty.

The language of this unitarian approach seem to greatly amplify their single voices, and to act as an hypothetic convex mirror generating altered visions of the surroundings.

Ad Esempio, for instance, with its mysterious clarinet moving on the surface of a series of background noise, is exemplary in its enigmatic pace; the distant jerks seem to be actual disturbances of everyday life that suddenly break forward; is this a bad dream fully aware of being bad?

Probably yes. Everything becomes even clearer in Eme, when a female voice set against silence and a whole array of sound disturbances, exclaims "scamorza e prosciutto", before being swallowed one more time into the noisy background.

This is the soundtrack to a hypothetic documentary on a silent Miles Davis, or a reportage on Throbbing Gristle while preparing the sauce for their pasta during the recordings of 20 Jazz Funk Greats, or even a movie yet to be filmed. This is the perfect shell to listen to if you’re treasure-hunting; but if what you will listen is just the sound of the sea, or even nothing at all, do not worry; only the shell and what you want to ear, counts. Everything else will show up, sooner or later, whether you want it or not. The lunar or circus-like contortions-according to your state of mind-that permeate Dipinto sul Nulla are, if that’s still possible, yet another confirmation of everything said so far.

The crossing over of the mere act of seeing and earing. A road that suddenly transforms itself into a forest and then a stone and then back again into a road. This is without any doubt one of the crucial pivot of our own home-grown contemporaneity.

Go out and bring it home at any cost.

Voto 8

This is without any doubt one of the crucial pivot of our own home-grown contemporaneity.

Review

Mike Meginnis, Splendid E-Zine, August 18, 2005

A Global Taxonomical Machine is fascinating. It is unique. It is intelligently, carefully crafted.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy listening to it.

Art with a capital A, this collection of electronic sound collages and vast silences would have been confrontational a decade ago by virtue of its almost total lack of recognizable musical elements. In 2005, most listeners who don’t buy their music at Wal-Mart are at least passingly aware of minimalism and sparse electronica, so Taxonomy aren’t exactly offering a wholly revolutionary concept. It turns out you can get a pretty cool experience without melody or harmony. We already knew that.

Still, if you’re willing to invest the effort it requires and deserves, A Global Taxonomical Machine can be quite absorbing — full of static, fuzz, subliminal clicks and sharp, modem-like sounds. On the rare occasion that something resembling a melody comes into focus, you’ll latch onto it like a long-lost sailor to land.

Still, a few elements, like the five minutes of complete silence that comes midway through the record, are a little too artsy for their own good. Stuff like that is the main reason you can’t expect A Global Taxonomical Machine to provide a conventional reward; what you get out of it will be determined entirely by what you put in.

A Global Taxonomical Machine is fascinating.

Review

Paul Bijlsma, Phosphor, no. 118, August 1, 2005

An Italian trio is behind the bandname Taxonomy. Graziano Lella, Elio Martusciello and Roberto Fega together explore the possibilities between improvisation and noise. Martusciello and Fega are also part of the improvisation group Ossatura, so some of you will have an idea what to expect. Taxonomy presents nine tracks in which calm moments are followed by sudden outbursts, harsh noise is combined with real instruments. The music is full of details and action. A dynamic electro accoustic output.

A dynamic electro accoustic output.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 481, July 5, 2005

Taxonomy is a project by self taught musician and composer Elio Martusciello. Electroacoustic music has his main interest, but he also likes to be involved in live improvisation. His collaborations are many. As Schismophonia he forms a duo with guitarist Mike Cooper. He released albums together with his brother Maurizio. And of course we should not forget to mention Ossatura, his trio with Fabrizio Spera and Luca Venitucci. His newest project is also of a trio format. Taxonomy is Graziano Lella (computer), Roberto Fega (sampling and signal processing) and Martusciello himself on guitar and electronics. Fega is originally a sax and clarinet player who started his career in the avant-garde rock group Dura Figura. The same for bass player and sax-player Lella. Both discovered through workshops by Tim Hodgkinson a.o. new territories. And now with Taxonomy they enter the world of electroacoustic and musique concrete.

In 9 pieces they give a demonstration of their craftsmanship. According to the liner notes all tracks are composed by the three musicians, but I suppose improvisation played a role in the composing process. In most pieces they make use of a wide dynamic range. Noisy and loud sections disappear in long silent parts. Sound or prerecorded music coming from acoustical instruments is followed by and mixed up with electronic soundsources. All tracks are built up in their own way and are colored by specific sounds. A track like Behind Me is the outsider on this album. It’s a long and silent track. Not much happening here, where as in most pieces it is an ongoing busyness of all kinds of sounds. The album is very well produced. The music sounds very clear, and so it’s impossible to miss any detail.

The album is very well produced. The music sounds very clear, and so it’s impossible to miss any detail.

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