Music about love and loss – an interview with Federico Madeddu Giuntoli
di Giovanni Panetta
Interview with the Italian artist Federico Madeddu Giuntoli about his work The Text and the Form (for the Tokyoite label FLAU) and the related context.
Inner Alignment

The cover of The Text and the Form (2022). a Federico Madeddu Giuntoli’s pic entitled “Inner Alignment”.

Federico Madeddu Giuntoli is an Italian guitarist, vocalist and electronic artist who played and composed for DRM band, a trio with Marzio Aricò (electronics), Alessio Ghionzoli (guitar), which played with downtempo-ambient and dilatated sonorities. This project released a unique album, Haiku (2002, Margarita) whereas it’s possible to hear the sonic summerish spectrum of ’90 alt Italian music. There had to be a second work, but those musicians’ artistic paths converge into different directions, and Federico will conduct those energies for his new solo career to come.

So, his soloist work, The Text and the Form, (for the Japanese label FLAU) took its life in November 2022, in a more hieratic, ambient form, with a profund, mature creativity. The German poetress AGF (Antye Greie) and the Tokyoite artist and singer Moskitoo (Sanae Yamasaki) collaborated in the album, whereas the second is rappresentative of an harmonically plastic and glitched downtempo (in particular in Mitosis (2015, 12k). Moreover Maurizio Bottazzi (drums), Sigi Beare (flaute micro sound) and Alessio Ghionzoli (guitar) contributed instrumentally on the same album.

Let’s discover more about the Federico album The Text and the Form in the following interview with the cited Italian artist.

Federico, can you tell us how the concept behind The Text and the Form was born and did it develop? How did this real-time fragmentary and more analogic idea happen?

“The essence of The Text And The Form appeared to me while I was intensively recording piano sounds in Barcelona, during the production of DRM’s second album (DRM was my former italian band, and that second album was eventually abandoned and never finished). That body of work, that included informal piano solos, processed piano loops and microsounds, originated from a rare sense of calm and centeredness amidst the intense sentimental turmoil I was going through. Those recordings instantly became the basis for vocal explorations that eventually coagulated in those minimal lyrics that resonate here and there in the album. All guitars were recorded apart in a second period, and only after some years I realised that the two projects should merge together in a more eclectic and concise collection.”

The main character consists of a creativity permeated by micro-noises in an ethereal texture with a minimalist approach. Track by track, there appears a constant sensation of indefinite fulfillment, where atonality, seen as an incompleted or suspended musical entity in harmony, has a relevant role. It seems like massive obscurity oscillates under summerish dilatations generated by glimmering and intense lights, as a subconscious emotivity seems to emerge. So I wonder how these unconscious sonic flows happened if they are linked to real or personal memories.

“Yes, the album originates from deep emotions of romantic love and loss. I guess that is why light and darkness gently dance together in the album. Retrospectively, I perceive The Text And The Form as a sort of essay on romance, and in particular on complexity related to romance. The album is a sonorization of intense feelings of love and loss, with a predominance of the latter. Nevertheless I always tried to avoid any sentimentalism. So, while I was allowing myself to be totally open during the acoustic recordings, not caring about any perfectionism and letting subconscious vibrations emerge, on the other hand I always had a sort of scientific approach to the whole work, with the explicit aim to subtly control that intensity and to subordinate it to an impartial sense of balance.”

Federico Madeddu Giuntoli

Federico Madeddu Giuntoli.

In The Text and the Form, there is the collaboration with the poetess, electronic musician and activist Antye Greie (AGF) who grew up in East Germany. I listened the Uttu EP (selfreleased, 2023), and her art seems to be important for its geopolitical and inclusive value; not casually her phrase “Everybody is beautiful” echos in all the listening on your work. So, can you talk to us about this collaborative aspect and the relative synchronicity?

“What I found so special in Antye’s Westernization Completed album was her autobiographic storytelling, her generosity in sharing her existential path: she was beautifully operating from her subjectivity at an individual-scale level. That is what gave me 100% certainty she would contribute in an illuminating way on You Are. By the way, before approaching the track she asked me if I had any topic I would like her to sing/talk about. I replied she was absolutely free to let her inspiration follow the flow. When I first listened to Antye’s contribution to the song I was amazed: it was perfectly in tune with the aura of the album. I think we experienced such deep synchronicity because the kind of activism activated in You Are is a very deep, essential and universal one, not related to any specific geopolitical issue.”

What I found very interesting in the album is the last track Grand Hall of Encounters. Indeed it’s like every sound we encounter during the previous listenings finds in this final piece an epiphany, where the fragmentary craftsmanship finds a more conclusive and emotive form at the same time. How did this end happen, and what were the feelings you wanted to express?

“Grand Hall Of Encounters is a song of ultimate release, of surrender to Life and its power, that is far greater than the one an individual can have. An intimate yet solemn celebration of loss, that I feel pretty surprisingly infuses a subtle and brand new sense of strength and selfempowerment. On a musical level, Grand Hall Of Encounters exerts a function of cohesion, allowing an appropriate space for the digestion of the somewhat fragmentary discourse that prevails in the rest of the album. A moment of integration that is necessary at the end of an intense process.”

So I found a certain analogy to the imaginary soundtrack Mabuta No Ura by the Japanese trio Boris. Indeed sonorities from Rising Sun are prevalent in your poetry. Can you talk about these exotic influences and the choice to collaborate with the FLAU label? And Can we see also The Text and the Form like a non-existent movie soundtrack?

“Boris’ Mabuta No Ura is a very expressive album. I think it shares with The Text And The Form a certain devotion for simplicity and spaciousness. Guitars are also played in very a direct and frank way, not to impress the listener, but rather to involve him or her in the discourse, and ultimately in the appreciation of sound vibration. I think all these elements are very peculiar to the Far East aesthetic, that is traditionally based on mediation rather than on agitation or seduction. I personally feel a very natural closeness and affinity to this approach, and I’m extremely honoured that FLAU decided to release the album. It feels like being back home. Regarding last question, yes, certainly The Text And The Form can be seen as a non-existent movie soundtrack, and I guess the reason is that it leaves enough space for the untold, without aggressively or didactically invading the listener’s space of perception and processing.”

In the end, can you talk to us about the next news about your production and national or international tour?

“I’m currently exploring the live set thing. I’m trying to find the best way to express the essence of the album, rather than to merely reproduce the songs. It is not at all an easy challenge, but I feel it is workable, and by the way the process is very inspiring and enriching. Meanwhile I’m letting enough room for the production of new music, a dynamic I’m always in the need to be involved in. New collaborations are in sight. I’m also dedicating some time to my tiny contemporary art activity, as hopefully my first solo exhibition will take place this year.

“Last but not least, Giovanni, let me thank you for being so kind, and for all the space and time you dedicated to me and to my music. It’s a huge privilege I’m very much aware of. Thanks.”

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