Mattia Loris Siboni is an Italian musician and sound artist, known also as a member of Elettronica Collettiva Bologna~ and Minus – Collettivo d’improvvisazione, as well as being co-founder of Slowth Records, the record label dedicated to the promotion and support of experimental music. His main interests are the acousmatic composition and the interpretation of live electronic music on multi-channel and acousmonium systems.

He has announced the release of a new album called Quite Area Suite which will be out in March via his own label. According to the press release, This project is a collection of four acousmatic pieces, born from the desire to explore silence as an object of compositional investigation through its different types of form and use. The suite was composed with the intention of accompanying the listener to the experience of silence.

We have the pleasure to premiere the video of the excerpt “Now Hush and Look Around” which is the suite’s introductory movement and is characterized by the presence of pre-existing material (short film quotes from Federico Fellini’s , DreamWorks’ Shrek, Pixar’s Toy Story and Ratatouille), which allow the investigation of the silence evoked and more precisely of the silence suggested.

Watch it below and check our chat with the artist which details the idea of the new album, the concept of Soundscape and more.

 “Quiet Area suite” is your new album which, according to the press release, is an exploration of silence as an object of compositional investigation. What was the starting point of the idea of the album? 

The starting point was a simple statement, made to myself almost ironically: “There is no silence that is equal to another. Thinking about it more seriously, I found this concept plausible; the word silence carries a multitude of meanings, each one for a different kind or shade of silence in everyday life, as in religion, in science, in philosophy or literature. So, how do these meanings reflect in music? Writing my thesis Silence, typological analysis and uses in electroacoustic music, I tried to research how many types of silence can exist in music, from silence as bare absence to a more evoked kind, then I tried to test these concepts using them like new possible compositional parameters in my musical writing. Quiet Area suite is not a study, it’s not an exercise, it’s the proof that choosing silence is a totally musical action.

“Now Hush and Look Around” is the suite’s introductory movement and today we share the official video. Can you tell us more about the track and the video?

The goal of this first movement is to introduce the listener to the concept of the entire suite by evoking silence through many cinematographic quotes, used as pre-existing sound materials. 

Now Hush and Look Around summarizes, or anticipates, the entire research and stands as an initial recommendation for the listener. Similarly, the video collects the images of many materials that can be found throughout the whole project, in an audiovisual dialogue between presence and absence, appearance and disappearance.

How much important is the concept of soundscape for your way to think music?

The concept of soundscape is fundamental to be able to recreate my own listening space.

It’s a rich and constant source of inspiration, everywhere you go there will certainly be a soundscape to hear, it could be common and not so interesting, but there will be sounds. Just try to open your ears as well as your eyes, it’s about pausing yourself and giving value to what is around you, accepting it. Sometimes the most common or quiet soundscape could reveal the most intricate, complex and interesting amount of sounds.

In the same way, I always look forward to building my own musical soundscape in my compositions, with rules that are defined by myself but that at the end are referred to natural mechanics of real soundscapes. 

You are also co-founder of Slowth Records, the record label dedicated to the promotion and support of experimental music. What is your way to give new shape to your sound and what is your concept of experimentation in music and art? 

I think that creating something “new” is almost impossible: forms, tools and techniques change and evolve as the consequent artistic results. 

I think, though, that we have to bet on what we call new; as an artist, that is the goal to achieve. I’m using the term bet because, in the end, it’s all about investing time, resources, and efforts on something whose outcome is not predictable. Experimentation means getting out of your comfort zone to explore other possible sonorities, for instance, or relations between materials, paradigms or new musical behaviours.

Nevertheless, I am certainly more convinced that this bet should be made by two sides, in the first place on the side of the production, by the artist himself as I said, but on the other side, someone has to fight to defend, support and stimulate the creation of the new.

Let’s talk about the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist? 

To be honest, I can consider myself very lucky. I had no particular difficulties, but, on the other side, I felt the world around me suffering, thrown into confusion and uncertainty, and consequently, I too felt adrift.

As always, however, it’s right to look for the less negative side of this whole situation: Quiet Area suite was composed before march 2020, and in some way I had the chance to try out my research, living in first person the silence given by the forced break that everyone was required to take.

My biggest concern is that, in a world that runs fast (and that will run faster in the future), we could lose focus on the importance of pausing and enjoying small things.  

Speaking of which, I would like to recommend a very simple but helpful reading: “Silence in the age of noise” by the Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge. 

Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?

I recently heard “Alicia” by OEOAS (Orchestra Elettroacustica Officina Arti Soniche), a two-tracks release from an electroacoustic orchestra formed by one hundred musician from all over Italy, guided by Elio Martusciello. In some way I think it remembered me about the power, the strength and the great times of live music; it’s a really great project, I definitely recommend listening to it!