My friend Matteo Uggeri interviewed me for his blog CONCRETE SHELVES. We talk about Italian music, Billy Joel, tapes, and the 1968 Olympics. Read the entire interview here to learn more about my record collection and ambivalent relationship to the fetishism of the musical commodity.
The most visible and exposed records are “Montreal Taperun” and “Out of Standards” by the mythical ADN Italian records. You’re partially Canadian/American and Italian music lover, artist and journalist. Are you among those who think that Italian experimental music is so worldwide fundamental?
Yes, well I grew up in Westchester, NY not far from the Bronx where my dad is from. And I lived in Montreal for five years, a very formative and creative period for me. I’ve moved quite often and so my music collection is often divided and messy. Most of my old CD collection is still under a bed in my dad’s apartment. All my records and tapes are in my apartment with me now, as well as a bunch of more recent CDs, special CDs, box sets, stuff I’ve been sent for review purposes.
What you see so visibly on that shelf is a semi-rotating display of releases that don’t fit easily with the records, tapes or CD sections.
Montreal Taperun is pretty much what it sounds like. A bunch of local artists adding field-recordings to a tape in a kind of sonic corpse exquisite. I found it in the gift shop of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a great museum of architecture and design in Montreal. The CCA also has a lovely archive for scholarly consultation, including the archive of the Chilean-American artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who I’m writing about at the moment. I love museum shops. They often have really great buyers curating books and music and so on, stuff you won’t find anywhere else.
The other (barely) visible object there, “Out of Standards!! – Italia 2 (1986)” is a relatively recent acquisition. Not so interesting a story, just bought it on Discogs
but a very interesting compilation with work from Christina Kubisch (who studied in Milano), Riccardo Sinigaglia (of Futuro Antico), and Raffaele Serra, among others. I think I was actually trying to track down a copy of Serra’s Kodak Ghost Poems LP when I discovered this tape for sale.
I love the cassette culture of the 80s. I was born in 1984, so I grew up with vinyl and tapes at home, before CDs and Internet changed everything. Even though I was still young when Napster hit, I was trading tapes with friends at school. You know, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, classic rock stuff mostly while at the same time downloading metal and hardcore and so on and buying CDs and 7″s at local concerts and around NY’s excellent record stores. But I’ve been very interested in the cassette culture of the 80s that I missed out on, especially the tape magazines like Tellus. I just love the how the ease of tapes allowed for this unique cultural moment. The internet obviously makes this kind of sharing easier but it’s also more precarious and more disposable as a result. I love how tapes have real limits and make us meet in person or exchange through the mail. And so these objects (also USB and SD cards and other unique physical releases) that don’t fit go here. I have a bunch of releases here from the great Indiana label Auris Apothecary. You can see Deep Magic’s microcassette there in the leftover from the scented candle it came inside of. I finally burnt it on my 30th birthday actually, just before moving to Minneapolis from Montreal. Peaking out on the bottom left shelf, below the shelf with all that junk, you can see a Tony Conrad mask. I got that from a conference in NY in October 2011. I remember the date because it was during Occupy Wall Street. Conrad couldn’t show up so he had five of his graduate students go instead, wearing masks and improvising different facets of his personality. Sadly that was the closest I came to meeting him.