Luigi Archetti, born in Italy (1955) but raised in Switzerland (since 1965),
specializes in music
that borders on ambient, droning and microtonal.
His first solo album was Das Ohr (ATM, 1993), which includes 35 brief vignettes, notably the dilated, Hendrix-ian guitar-solo of Outer Ear
the android-exotic ballet Hammer and Ambass,
the robotic folk dance Trommelfell,
the tense strumming of Gehorknochelchen,
the closing drone of Ohrtrompete,
the industrial-metal nightmare of Paukengang.
Archetti's dissonant guitar miniatures (the instrument is mostly unrecognizable)
explore a territory that extends from
Fred Frith's noise-rock
to Derek Bailey's noise-jazz.
Adrenalin (Recdec, 1994), his "rock" masterpiece, assembled 28
deconstructed, cubist songs of a dissonant post-psychedelic music
mutating into a wild variety of styles.
The "band" (Archetti on distorted guitar, Urs Blochinger on cacophonous reeds, Martin Gantenbein on creative percussion effects, Hubl Greiner on disorienting samples, Der Volz on the rare vocals) was subjected to all sorts of sonic
torture in the remixing stage.
Virtually each piece was born at the intersection of
abstract electronic music,
tribal folk music,
loose free-jazz, demented chamber music, with one or the other element
prevailing over the rest.
Archetti's third and boldest solo was Cubic Yellow (Captain Trip, 1999), credited to the Hulu Project, that added
sampling, electronics and drum machines to Archetti's eclectic and surreal guitar soundscapes.
The collection opened with
the atmospheric dance piece Yellow Notification that could not be more
misleading, as the rest of the pieces
(except Yellow Lullaby)
were in the abstract, dissonant vein.
Some of them toyed not only with texture but also with rhythm, thus achieving
the most disorienting effects:
The Yellow Sign, an eerie blend of cosmic music and drum'n'bass,
Yellow & Grey, a similar amoeba of drones, reverbs and syncopated beats,
Yellow Greenland, halfway between Brazilian carnival frenzy and galactic signals,
Fall Back on Yellow, drum'n'bass punctured by volleys of dissonances.
Other pieces sounded ominous portraits of future life (or death):
The Yellow House, a shapeless post-industrial noise that coalesces into a rapid-fire miasma,
Yellow Pellet, an assembly of ghostly echoes from another world,
Yellow Hotel Bill, a series of electrical shocks,
an well as the assorted noise collages of
Get Into Yellow water, Yellow Lunar Vehicle and
How About Yellow?.
He played guitar on, among others, Guru Guru's
Shake Well (Zyx, 1993), Moshi Moshi (Think Progressive, 1997) and 2000 Gurus (Fuenfundvierzig, 2000), and for avantgarde vocalist Ellen Christi's Alienstalk (Sargasso, 1998)
He has also released a few collaborations with percussionist Mani Neumeier under the moniker Tiere Der Nacht, namely Hot Stuff (Recrec, 1992), Wolpertinger (Recrec, 1994), Evergreens (Captain Trip, 1997), Sleepless (Captain Trip, 1998);
the free-noise improvisations for rock quartet (Marin Gantenbein on drums, Max Oliver Schmid on drums, Jan Schlegel on bass) of Erbsline (Mass & Fieber, 1996);
the improvisations with drummer Martin Gantenbein and cellist Bo Wiget credited to Affront Perdu on Fin de Siecle (Mass & Fieber, 1997);
Low Tide Digitals (Rune-Grammofon, 2001) and
Low Tide Digitals II (Rune-Grammofon, 2005), which were further
collaborations for Archetti on guitar (and electronics) and Bo Wiget on cello (and electronics);
a collaboration with bassist Jan Schlegel, Silent Surface (Unit, 2003).
The two volumes of Low Tide Digitals, in particular, were (untitled)
studies for Eastern-inspired distortion-laden chamber electroacoustic music
(the second track of the second volume)
and ominous black holes of "musique concrete" (the ninth and the eleventh tracks of the second volume).
The shamanic music of the Hulu Project (HBL, 2000) was born of a
collaboration with electronic musician Hubl Greiner and Siberian singer Stepanida Borisova. The singer dominates the proceedings. Her voice occupies the
higher layer and gives each piece its dramatic quality. Below it, the second
layer is taken by the percussion, that are played in a non-rhythmic fashion
besides the usual timekeeping fashion. They "embellish" the harmony. The
electronic background is actually the lowest layer, and rarely intrudes in
the dialogue between the human voice and the percussion instruments.
A few tracks try to jump on the transglobal dance wagon, but they are the
The 15 Transient Places (Unit, 2004) are electronic vignettes
mostly in the droning/microtonal style.
tones are created, floated around, slowly mutated or made oscillate, sometimes
detonated or disintegrated.
Sometimes they achieve the symphonic intensity of Gordon Mumma's installations, sometimes they decay into quantum void, and
sometimes they mumble and chatter like a council of tiny animals.
The nine-minute eighth track embodies the psychological aspect of Archetti's
research, as the sounds are manipulated and sequenced in such a way as to
generate maximum suspense and terror.
One of his most abstract and intense works, Februar (Unit, 2005) is
basically an atonal "concrete" symphony in 14 movements. The original sources
are scientifically decomposed by the electronic manipulation and the resulting
extreme audio range is used to sculpt a narrative stream of sound.
The core of
Tiere Der Nacht's Krauter & Weltmeister (Captain Trip, 2005) is
hypnotic, mildly dissonant and highly percussive pieces
(Falling Streamheater, All Yomo).
Occasionally danceable (Krauter & Weltmeister)
and occasionally romantic (Zap Love), the ritual culminates with the
dilated and introspective jazz-rock of New Kabuki.
Null (Die Schachtel, 2010) and
Null II/III (Die Schachtel, 2012) compiles
a massive electronic work.
Silent Surface II (2012) documents a collaboration between Luigi Archetti (on guitar and electronics) and Jan Schlegel (on bass and electronics).
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