V Gara Delle Batterie Elettroniche
(Drum Machine Contest V)
31. Dec. 2008 @ Cattolica, Rimini
-the text below is an attempt to describe the nord italian underground music scene throughout the eyes of a witness-
Despite the fact that I saw with my own eyes the country's political decadence carrying with it a series of brutal phenomena, like the ending of a certain quality public education or the fact that many of my friends moved away, Italy carries on since the 90' a progressive monopoly of television, as the president buys and takes control of almost all the national tv channels. From the other hand Italy is a country full of surprises and a small underground/nightlife scene. Programs like "Fuori orario, cose (mai) viste" that since the end of the 80' had transmited every single night rare documentaries, films, interviews, lost material, collages of homemade footage and many other unexpected videos is a good example about the shadows within Italian society. Enrico Ghezzi, creator of Fuori orario and Blob tv, has collected and re-interpretated the Italian tv having acces to all of Rai's television archives. In websites like ubuweb you can find many films with the Rai tv logo. Another example about the Italian mass-media situation is “Videocracy” , a documentary film by Swedish-Italian director Erik Gandini that shows the bizarre world behind Italian tv.
Still talking about Italian tv,
but drifting from that historical stage to a complete different smaller reality, were people is re-interpretating and rescuing a posible "tv history" I recommend AAVV#2 · COLORATISSIMO MEGABAZAR by Milan based audiovisual project Cadeo, released by RAWRAW edizioni.
One severe truth is that Sony Music monopolizes the mainstream music market, guided under the conception of bringing to the flash light Italian versions of U.S.A pop stars, a formula that haven't showed great results. Actually, the most interesting contemporary music comes from small realities, mostly by people that open places for local gigs and/or that runs independent labels. During the years in Bologna I ended-up working as bartender almost every Tuesday night for the gigs my friends from the rehearsal room of XM-24 organized for mostly every band that was touring Nord Italy. Not only there, but in general I had the opportunity to listen for the first time to many local bands like Zu, Ovo,Allun, Christian Rainer, Giuseppe Ielasi, Andrea Belfi, Nicola Ratti, Attila Faravelli, Sintopeccato, El Muniria, Sinistri, Three seconds kiss, Modotti, G.I.Joe, With love, Olyvetty, Dracula Lewis, Occhio di figa, Kankarankkat, Albero rovesciato, Milkane, A.B.E.I.F.P, Nervous kid, Seth evol tracks, 3/4 hadbeeneliminated, Riccardo Benassi, Claudio Rocchetti, Lorenzo Senni, Enrico Malatesta, Fecalove,Donna ferentes, Xtravagance core, Luciano Maggiore , Dio boys, With love, Vri-il, Elton junk,Onefuckone, ioioioi, Dominique Vaccaro, Madame p, Zurich against zurich, Splinter vs Stalin,Stroboscopic duo, Movie star junkies, Ootchio, Stefano Pilia, Francesco Cavaliere, Valerio Tricoli,Fabio Orsi, Valerio Cosi, Uochi toki, Jealousy party and many more.............. Among the many bands/names listed upon there are people I had the pleasure to meet and share evenings in the future days. In Bologna there were different groups/organizations running places or/and events in different levels from the most precarious approach to the real institutional support.
XM-24 or fioravanti is a legal squat (the only old one remain) were you could presence shows by legendary bands from Caroliner Rainbow to perfect homeless noise makers, this place was somehow the twin place of bigger and older space called Livello 57, a legendary squat active since 1993, in the beginings supporting any kind of subcultural phenomena to then, because of its popularity and anti-prohibitionism campaign becoming the place for reggae , dub and electronic music upon all genres. The same people behind it during 1997 gave birth to the first rave parade in the city. Years after, between 2003 and 2007 members of bands G.I.Joe, Nervous kid, Elton junk, Vri-il, Seth evol tracks and A.B.E.I.F.P taked care of the tuesday's night gigs at EX-24, hosting every kind of D.I.Y tour.
Sant'Andrea degli amplificatori is a small venue for experimental music run by Luciano Maggiore and Dominique Vaccaro, more selective in their experimental music choices.
One important insider festival was Netmage , organized by Xing, a festival of multimedia arts taking place every year for almost a week inside old renaissance structures as well as modern buildings as the basketball stadium, bands like Olyvetty were part of the festival.
During those years, members of Occhio di figa, Marco and Vincenzo came up with the idea of playing gigs inside small food shops, the utopia was to play in every single food shop around the city and involve all the potential local acts, but after three gigs in different shops , some kind of maximum boss order to all the shop owners to avoid such requests. During one of those gigs I meet Michele, one of the three dudes behind Palustre records, based outside Ravenna. Around the east coast area outside Bologna, "drink in peace your sadness", a small festival for contemporary music curated by Enrico Malatesta is taking place since the middle the 00', and it counts with the support of Presto!? records since the beginnings.
Other very, not to say the most interesting reality are the Hundebiss nights in Milan and the video-clips they release for every single event on the Hundebiss channel.
Since the 90's the name mat pogo started to circulate around Florence, people was talking about a radio program conducted by a guy that during the show would only transmitted strange sounds and play weird music. Mat pogo is also one half of the first jealousy party line up, Wjm is the other half. They also run the Burp Enterprise with other friends.
During an evening in Berlin last march I ended-up playing at a jealousy party gig and I meet all this amazing musicians. They were very surprised and happy about my Italian language skills, to then, speaking about the plus and the less, the conversation started to burn when I came up with the name “gara delle batterie elletroniche”(the drum machine contest), Roberta "Wjm" Andreucci told me that they also were part of more than one version of the drum machine contest. Burp actually released the first album of Uochi Toki, members of this band are the ones behind the contest. One of the epic things that happen to me during the time I spent in Italy was that day when with my friend checho we found an A4 black and white poster with an open invitation for participating only with a 5 minutes set bringing any device with an output channel during a party in the countryside of a small summer village called Cattolica, about 2 hours from Bologna. On the poster there was a cellphone number, a date and a very creepy beautiful drawing. Thats how we went to the 5th version of “la gara delle batterie elletroniche”.