Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Luigi Russolo

Who is your favorite Italian Futurist painter and composer? I know mine has to be Luigi Russolo. Widely regarded as the first noise artist, in 1913 Luigi penned his manifesto L'Arte dei Rumori (The Art of Noises) which categorizes noise into six groups:
  1. Roars, thunderings, explosions, hissing roars, bangs, booms.
  2. Whistling, hissing, puffing.
  3. Whispers, murmurs, mumbling, muttering, gurgling.
  4. Screeching, creaking, rustling, rustling, buzzing, cracking, scraping.
  5. Noises obtained by beating on metals, woods, skins, stones, pottery, etc.
  6. Voices of animals and people, shouts, screams, shrieks, wails, hoots, howls, death rattles, sobs.
Russolo, in his time, constructed many devices to generate noise, he called these objects Intonarumori. Among these inventions was Russolo's noise cabinets shown above. He went as far as to assemble an orchestra to perform alongside his machines. Audiences were baffled, angered, and often moved to violence by these unorthodox performances, and I imagine this pleased Luigi to no end. Luigi and his brother Antonio (who had similar interests and ideas) made a few recordings of the Intonarumori, but what you are about to hear is the only recording to survive the ages. The effect is unnerving, with conventional instruments accompanied by unearthly wooshes and tones and the occasional glossolalia vocalizings. You can hear, from time to time, the brothers Russolo become excited and the sounds they are producing. Sixty-three years before Merzbow or Whitehouse, Russolo was making sounds and terrifying audiences, and oddly enough, I think these recordings still hold a fair amount of unease. Now answer the question: Who is your favorite Italian Futurist painter and composer? I know mine has to be Luigi Russolo.


6 comments:

Tom said...

Awesome! I have seen that other people since have made intonarumori, but I didn't think any of these recordings actually survived!

jazzbeard said...

fucking awesome!

BXXXXZT! said...

Excellent! Giacomo Balla is my favorite futurist painter, but no one beats Russolo for Futurist Composer.

BreadGod said...

I was just reading up about Luigi Russolo. What a coincidence! I just listened to it, and I must say it's actually quite scary, what with all the growling of the machines and all those other inhuman noises. Most metal bands nowadays can't even measure up to how scary Russolo's work is.

Sigivald said...

You have probably seen, but should be interested in, if you have not, Musica Futurista.

frank zito said...

i'm going to play this alone in the dark after a couple of bottles of three dollar moscato. thanks for the link...