A harmolodic and orchestral magma; Diaspora Focii Trio + Feral Luggage
di Giovanni Panetta
Interview with Mika Pontecorvo and Elijah Pontecorvo about the last production and centrifugal music by Diaspora Focii Trio and Feral Luggage.
Diaspora Focii Trio

Diaspora Focii Trio – Temporal Mirage. Cover image by Beatriz Sampaio.

Many times musical experimentation consists of a mixture of opposite languages. In the sight of this fresh creativity, Diaspora Focii Trio and Feral Luggage, the projects with Mika Pontecorvo from Los Angeles unify several attitudes in music with a polymorphic spirit and magmatic craftsmanship. Here we’ll see shapes of progressive, free music, noise, and mathematic rhythms, where every sound is part of an atonal chorus, where each component communicates with a proper, marvelously autistic approach.

Here we talk about some of the last Diaspora Focii Trio and Feral Luggage releases, which are Tri-Space Process (Diaspori Focii Trio) and Temporal Mirage (Diaspori Focii Trio + Feral Luggage) where collaborate the following musicians: Kersti Abrams (alto sax), Jaroba (tenor sax), Mika Pontecorvo (guitar, electronics), Mike Villareal (drums), Elijah Pontecorvo (bass). We talked with Elijah and Mika, about their last artistic path, in the sign of heterodox and heterogeneous sounds. Let’s discover more about their music.

Temporal Mirage is characterized by inhomogeneous sonic patterns, between glitches and free analogic sounds. The music oscillates in an up-and-down trend, with an intrinsic cold climate, expressed by a not-ordinary use of harmony, which appears more magmatic and dynamic; instead, the melody and rhythm are almost missing or maybe they appear as details. This is a work between your project Diaspora Focii Trio and Feral Luggage, where this form as a collective makes the sound more physic and polymorphic. How did this piece happen in that expressed characters?

“This work comes from the live group impovisation and interations with passing thru and interacting with the textural processes I assemble as meditations on quantium systems in the physical world… You can think of them as a mirror or prisim reflecting/refracting the sonic utterances/ artifacts of the various instruments creating a ‘superposition’, in effect a mirage.”

Talking about Tri-Space Process, by Diaspora Focii Trio, it’s possible to listen to a cold musical matter, we could say, in a Canterburian form. It misses rhythm and melody, where the sound flows in a chaotic, anti-harmonic way. Here are glitches that give a dilated shape, and each track appears as an interlude before a non-existent main song, so it gives an interesting suspended character to this release. So, what were the intentions behind this album?

“This album is a sequential collection of improvisations recorded a single evening session… We are again setting the live improvisations against the ‘improvised’ textural processes. Any surprises in Harmonic, Rhythmic, or Melodic development stems from our use of Ornette Coleman‘s Harmolodic idea to interacting with each other and with the Processes, along with the chance elements of those Processes.”

Mika Pontecorvo

Mika Pontecorvo (credits Mark Pino).

The Strife of Striving is in the name of free psychedelia. The harmony has a bitter and sour shape, where guitar riffs flow on the track in a country/blues way, developing a lysergic style by the different wind instruments (there is the dominant and warm sound of atonal saxophones). Tell me about this track, which appears in a more familiar shape than all the rest of the album.

“As you observe, it does come from a more familiar musical place, grounded in my own roots in the blues…with the saxophone word playing off this in a ‘conceptual’ counterpoint.”

Crowd and Voices is interesting for its non-conventional form. It seems a standard for its symphonic form, and has a more conservative jazz harmony, but is characterized by a free conversation between the associated instruments, giving a more non-linear trend, and communicating with a more neat sonic wave. Can you talk about the creative process in the track and the relative thoughts?

“This takes a typical live improvised interaction and uses the Process it pass thru to create a more layered convolved sonic form. Ones thoughts turn to the cacophony in the political landscape of the western world in these times of strife.”

Elijah Pontecorvo

Elijah Pontecorvo (credits Mark Pino).

Rompin’ – Jurassic Erotica Junkyard has a more symphonic shape, with confusional, cold and free elements. This final track gives a meaningful effort on the tracklist with no rule or imposition, whereas the lines of your guitar navigate through an aleatory anti-blues. Can you talk about the meaning of this track and the relative title?

“This is the result of applying a similar Process with the results being informed by the music of the Mothers of Invention and symphonic pieces of Frank Zappa. A playful thought in this being avian dinosaurs antics and their sonic similarities with metalic clang and clatter found in a automotive junkyard.”

In the end, what will be the next news about Diaspora Focii Trio and the other projects you contribute to?

“Diaspora Focii Trio will be working with other musicians in the Diaspora Focii Collective (Feral Luggage, Cartoon Justice, etc) on a generative process approach to improvisation for a series of performances over 2023. This work will be incorporated with Mika’s generative kinetic video sculptures for a tour and a performance at the Generative Arts conference in Italy next December.

“This includes a Diaspora Focii Collective meeting with free Improvisation artist Jukka-Pukka Kervinen for performances in Oslo and Helsinki in April and in May performances in Southern California with Japansese vocal artist Ayako Kanda and our friend Master Musician from South Africa Moguawane Mahoele…”

Share This