Luce Celestiale, anti-conventional and functional music for the human mind
di Giovanni Panetta
Interview with Luce Celestiale. An in-depth analysis on their futuristic debut (Discepolato Nella Nuova Era, for Artetetra), the radio podcast Panòptico, the member Devid Ciampalini's other projects and the future.
Discepolato Nella Nuova Era

Cover di Discepolato Nella Nuova Era (2021). Artwork by Lipsmak.

In September 1 2021 was published Discepolato Nella Nuova Era, the debut by Luce Celestiale an electronic duo formed of Devid Ciampalini (Metzengerstein, Alga Alma, New Jooklo Age, etc…) and the painter Lorena Serrano Rodriguez. The record is characterised by an expressionist aleatority in the name of a free improvisation which reproduces the celestial moves in the idea of its authors. Discepolato was published for the Artetetra label, which has created the post-Italian Occult Psychedelia sound, giving an innovative and fervid effort to the Italian soundscape with a futuristic and plastic electronic music with an international resonance. In this sense, Luce Celestiale with Discepolato Nella Nuova Era gave their part, spreading their dilated sonorities with an esoteric semantics. Any example, the Urantia track has a sweet melody, extra-Western in its tonality with linear and ordered structure; Sette Raggi Radiosi offers a more cosmic imaginary with lysergic and oblique synth lines, with an attitude between chaos and contemplation; Dottrina Segreta is characterised by an acid and abstract performing and writing, encountering a spacey obscurity similarly to the Sun Ra sonorities in The Magic City. These new sounds are projected in an electronic, futuristic and lighting age, with an interesting and Italian sonic corpus and its many artists like Babau, Cristiano Carosi (we will talk about him in the next following part) or the national part of the Pampsychia roster, and others.

Luce Celestiale

Luce Celestiale: Lorena Serrano Rodriguez (left) e Devid Ciampalini (right).

We analysed in depth the Luce Celestiale poetry and the associated topics in the following part of this article, that is an interview with Devid and Lorena.

Let’s begin to analyse in depth the dynamics of Luce Celestiale; how was this electronic duo born and did their sound develop, between free improvisation and noisy derives with an ambient character?

Lorena Serrano Rodriguez: “Our duo was born from an idea of searching alternative solutions between music and hybrid streams like fluxus. Both are got into everything outside the conventional with an attraction with the idea that is functional to the human mind, and it is shaped by sects and lodges. We wished to make something together, I had never played before like this, and we started making some home-made improvisations, and this seemed to us something very naïf. We let ourselves be guided by our fascinations, re-creating our imaginary extracted by the music.”

Devid Ciampalini: “Actually, we are preparing a series of live sets in May, and we are searching an inspiration by sacred music.”

The tracks in Discepolato Nella Nuova Era, your first album released for Artetetra, play with digital timbers, but with an analog way; characteristic are the analogic synth, Lorena’s voice, the percussions, a reel-to-reel recorder, and an ocarina played by Luca Leonetti in Ocarina di Cristallo. There’s the way of experimenting in a baroque or progressive manner with a dilated craftsmanship of these times, recalling noise and ambient genres. Sampling and looping techniques are actually very recurring, and Discepolato becomes a golden mean in this context, between free diversification and digital automatism. Especially, it seems Ashtar flows through an obscurely dreamlike noise, Emozione Patafisica plays with an acid and deviant imaginary, and Ocarina di Cristallo has rounded and lighting lines. An heterodoxy lysergic effort, that is the union of improv and wavering attitudes. But how was this multivariated psychedelia born?

Devid Ciampalini: “In Discepolato Nella Nuova Era there’s much desire in experimenting, not to stop in a stereotyped musical research. Lorena’s work has been important and, because of her being a total outsider from the actual musical scene, she’s good at bringing new influences with spontaneity, typical of every beginner. We started recording many hours of material, playing with friends in several sound environments. So, many different things came out. Really, Ashtar track was born as a sonorization of the Kenneth Anger‘s movie Lucifer Rising… the choice of instruments was selective too. We mixed sounds from different periods, through magnetic strips, analogic and digital synths, the FM synthesis, various VST, and acoustic instruments, like ocarina. It was for me a record joyful to play and assemble. We got to listen and we noticed new shades every time, pataphysical worlds, Masonic rituals, Realian messages, etc… In the same period we was doing Panòptico, our radiophonic program transmitted in Fango Radio, where Lorena was appointed to search some of the most weird topics to confront like telepathy, anthropology, quantistic physics, critique of capitalism, etc… with a soundscape I gave. Indeed, I like to imagine the record as baroque and progressive, it is full of ideas and shades, and I have the same impression with those movies that never bore you, because you notice new details in every vision.”

Luce Celestiale

Luce Celestiale live at Tempio di Minerva in Montefoscoli (Pisa), with Devid Ciampalini & Cristiano Carosi.

Anyway, your poetry is playful and lyrical at the same time, extra-human in a certain way, but it explicates itself through a dilated manipulation of the sounds, effectively on both the real time and compositional level. Indeed it’s like the tracks, that seem to reproduce movements of a brush when it paints an abstract drawing, were described in something we can define the Book of the Nature, where a curious human soul, and creator of minor worlds, tries to compenetrate the essence of a deep reality, and it simulates, through those discoveries, a plastic and joyful dance which recalls indeed your music. The ethereal and the terrean matter permeated themselves becoming one necessary and mysterious instance, and we are empathically overwhelmed by its beauty. There’s much free music in this project, and it touches lightly celestial entities, but it’s possible to feel the aleatority of the case, a projection to earthy reality from the hyperuranium. I ask you how much you felt this ambivalent relationship, and how you associated, in your intention, the randomness with the magnificence of nature. What worlds did you want to evoke in particular?

Devid Ciampalini: “The project was born as magnificence of the nature, like all the random order, but a casual one outside of ours… the project sprang in a vacancy to Fez, where we saw a light, during a crazy night after the ramadam, in the dead of night on the roof of Hammam, in the middle of the loudly blasted prayers on the street. It’s like this encounter between cultures and ancient tradition teletransported us in an alien world. Moreover it’s curious this thing you say about brush, because we have hear this not at first time.”

Lorena Serrano Rodriguez: “It’s not curious for my point of view; the experimental music I discover thanks to Devid has seemed for me the most similar expression to my artistic character, looking for, mixing, assembling the absurd with not reconcilable materials, and giving a structure inside the chaos. Indeed our music is for me a painting composition, and many times I can see inside that chaos a thin thread unifies the parts, and other times a grotesque brush stroke which kick it all off, with many textures between forms and colours.”

Luce Celestiale (Lorena)

Lorena Serrano Rodriguez at Alhambra, in Granada, Spain (with Devid Ciampalini).

Devid and Lorena, your role on Discepolato Nella Nuova Era is based on free improvisation, but in an unusual way; if Devid offers an abstract and more synthetic soundscape, it seems Lorena gives a major structure (but in a free sense), that is characterised by a more conventionally analog instrumentation (for example, keyboards and percussions). How do you splitted your taskes in Luce Celestiale?

Devid Ciampalini: “Surely, I offered my experiences which were based especially on improvisation, and Lorena did what was more spontaneous for her as autodidact. Certainly, the first thing when you begin to play is searching for a structure, a melody, ortherwise you tend to give a form. I tried to damage this form, not properly for a wish, but for an innate sense. This collision generated the record.”

Your collaboration is not musical one in a proper sense. Panòptico, whose title is a metaphor of the power which rages on the modern world, is a series of podcasts for Fango Radio with your firms, which appeared musical selections and extemporaneous and diversified thoughts with an anthropologic landscape. Heterodox topics and sounds which recall the imaginary of your projects and your meanings. How were your podcast series and its idea unifying profund themes and experimentalism in music born?

Lorrena Serrano Rodriguez: “It was a case where we were found to make the podcast, it was proposed to us from the guys of Fango Radio, and we found the necessary time to do it during the lockdown. It is assembled in five episodes, in which I talk about my theories and readings, and Devid comments and offers his point of view, combining a playlist. It’s my pleasure you found it a homogeneous material with our musical project, because we investigate our common tastes. It should be beautiful to continue with other radio programs, but I prefer to concetrate for now with other projects.”

Talking about Artetetra, how was your relationship with the label originated from Le Marche born? It seems to be focused on a diversification in its roster, characterised by more urban sonorities, and it is enriched by your cosmically imaginative music. Can you talk about it?

Devid Ciampalini: “I think we are in contact with Artetetra for years, or we met ourselves musically with the discovery of Italian music, and everything was followed from the Italian Occult Psychedelia movement, for example. They were the successors of that scene in any sense, and they have had the privilege to absorb it, making it their thing, and nextly they outdid it, creating their form of communication, fresh, hybrid, contemporaneous.”

Let’s talk about other related releases, which was implemented an alien and heterogeneous lysergicity another time. Regarding to this, David, your work with Cristiano Carosi, that is Meccanismi (for the Carosi label Robba), is an extemporaneous, plastically and chaotically noisy flow of consciousness. Meccanismi was recorded with no editing and no overdubs, and it’s permeated by a subconscious inclination to periodicity, giving a form in the sign of techno music, where flashes in that sense are sometimes much more clear and it was created a mechanism in general which takes shape through that platonic idea of rhythmic cadence, with a plastic way. They are in particular some most properly analog elements of free music, which characterises your general creativity. How was your collaboration with Carosi born, and what are the intentions behind? What characters did you give to the record, and how did they combine offering that result?

Devid Ciampalini: “I’ve known Carosi on occasion of any concert, thanks to Jooklo Duo, which brings cool people with them everytime. Nextly our collaboration continued, we made some live sets together, and then we decided to try recording something. The result was excellent at the first occasion, we have a similar sensibilities on the sound, and certainly it should come out in this way. I had a few things, like a synth FM, a sequencer and any taped collages, he was with his unpredictable tapes and loops. It was something particular, because it was very repetitive and with a digital tribalism. It is beautiful because the listening is very modern in its approach, weird, abstract. Now we are talking about meeting ourselves soonly to record a new material.”

Here is a link to buy Meccanismi by Cristiano Carosi & Devid Ciampalini, and a related pre-listening too.

Devid, the posthumous release Suoni Di Confine, under the name of Metzengerstein, one of your most important project, was published by the label from Bucharest Beach Buddies, and it is permeated by a dreamlike Kosmiche Musik with a lagoonal character, indicating your obliquity and your link with a less inviting natural place, and with an extra-human aleatority. Unifying played and reprocessed sounds (with an analogic approach) it comes to create an intensely experimental sonic research, that is heterodox in a naïf way. How did the publication of this release happen, for a long period since the recording sessions (in 2016-’17). How did the interaction with Beach Buddies happen?

Devid Ciampalini: “This release was not-published for years; indeed, when the collaboration with those musicians ended, I dedicated myself to other projects. Anyway, I have always had the intention to conclude that chapter through this work. There was almost two years of work and just as many concerts; not releasing this record would have been like to forget it, an error. It’s like a photograph of that moment, a phonograph in this case. I found the Beach Buddies label on the web, I sent them the material as a try, and they liked it. It was good. Moreover they were able to find the recording of any live set in Bucharest which we will give any news about, if we will be lucky. We could say, I succeed to conclude that path with this release.”

At the end, reveal, if you want, your next news, like the discographic works in progress, otherwise any live sets in the future.

Devid Ciampalini: “It have to release another Luce Celestiale tape, I’m working on my new solo record. Then I’m collaborating with Andrea Rusconi, which I met as PAQ and Augusto Ralla, with Mario Marino (musicotherapist and an expert on ethnic music) and Matteo Lenzi (vibraphonist with an impressive CV and he was the session man for great artists) and a new band between avant jazz, ethnic music and musique concrète. Moreover I’m working as producer with some works, for example with Luca Ingrassia, and excellent Sicilian singer, and with the second record of the Argentinian master of music Pablo Picco (Bardotodol), etc… but I’m in a very misanthropic moment of my life, now I like to stay at home recording, playing, organising and doing my things. I don’t deny my wish to do concerts, but even stressing people or asking insistently, stalking people for a live set. If you want, I’m available to play!”

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