Just when I thought that Spettro had been a failure all along, after 11 years during which I only grew grey hair and haven’t achieved anything worth mentioning, I realise how important this “small place for unconventional music” has been in my life and has shaped my identity, my friendships, my life project. A life project that will pay absolutely zero in terms of monetary gain, but which has gifted me with a community and a network of people who I have the privilege of calling friends before anything else. And this network has not only benefitted me, it has indeed grown bigger, tighter, sometimes breaking apart then tying even stronger knots, spanning over 11 years now, across countries, beyond borders, generations, culture, race and gender. Spettro has brought people together, firstly thanks to a shared passion for sharing unconventional music, but most importantly as equals.
Looking back at this project, the oldest record of it I can find on my hard drive right now dates back to March 15th, 2020, but the origins of that file, a simple looping hypnotic beat by Luca, go way back, years if not decades. He had shared it with me just days before the pandemic hit. It had been sitting on his hard drive for years and decided to send it to me to see if I could do anything with it. Then by February 23rd 2020 all activities deemed unnecessary by the government had been shut down, as was Ikigai Room, where Spettro was based. March 1st saw several Northern regions falling into a red zone and by the 9th all Italy was under lockdown. Soon after most of the rest of the world would follow. By March 15th that long forgotten drum loop had been finally edited by someone else. We then decided to start a simple project where friends would contribute to someone’s sounds by simply adding layers. Not editing or manipulating each other’s contributions, but just adding to them.
I started thinking about the people I could involve, most of whom were forced to stay home like everybody else. But this was not a project born out of boredom, but from the shared urge of doing something instead of wasting away in front of screens. It felt necessary, it went beyond the pandemic, beyond borders we couldn’t have otherwise crossed, as time and place didn’t matter anymore, neither here nor there, under this siege or not: we were doing something together. Regardless.
Omar (First Catatonic Ensemble, River of No), who originally introduced Luca (A Distant Shore, Oracle, Tiny Drones for Lovers) and me, was the first to get involved, then Angelo (Filtro, Billy Torello, The Great Saunites, Nausea), a good friend and Spettro contributor and amazing musician. Akis from Kοκκαλα with his uncanny and sardonic haunting imagery. John Duncan, who needs no introductions and was ready to help. Elvio (Bisso, Las Laplaciens, Shiroi Noizu, Dir Richter), with a sweet glimpse of his life in Osaka, enriched by the sounds of Naoki, who I had shared a stage with 14 years ago in Tokyo, where I also met Toshihiro (Circe) whose wonderful music I will never forget. Ghobi would provide few majestic notes, River of No contribute with an extract from a track that never was, until now, Giulia (SorHe) and Martina add nuances we would have never been able to otherwise understand.
The project was completed on March 1st: a whole year had passed in which little or nothing had changed, just more sorrow, misery, anger and despair. Endless streams of music and writings being published during and about the pandemic. The pandemic as a transformative experience. But this is not a pandemic album, even if it is, nor was it transformative for us, as the friendships and collaborations helped by Spettro had been there all along, growing stronger during these 11 long years which I had at times given for wasted. This work proves otherwise. It tells a different story, a story of joy in the mist of sorrow.
Elvio Bissolati aka Les Laplaciens
River of No
Mixing by Luca Tommasini
Master by Fabio Iaci
Artwork by Akis Karanos
Other releases by the artists involved