RANTER’S GROOVE – 俳句 (“Haiku”)

Kaczynski Editions

With occasional exceptions, a significant chunk of Italians acting in contemporary art and music ambits corresponds with a bunch of self-publicists who truly believe to be special. They aren’t, yet – by hook or by crook – these people manage to worm their way into certain circles, the lone goal being their stylish mug on trendsetting media (or, in the case of selected critics, countless selfies at the side of important names). Among the refreshing anomalies we can include the committed Tuscan activists who run Kaczynski (the dedication tells it all, one would say). The label publishes membrane-titillating materials, some of those items – such as the one reviewed here – in precious limited editions. And, guess what, the stuff is attractive beyond the manifestos (the latter are insightful to begin with; that itself is a rarity, in the land of pretentious dull-wittedness).

Haiku was inspired by the very man who coined this term: Masaoka Shiki, who tirelessly fought the trite conventions of early Japanese poetry throughout a rather short life. Accordingly, Ranter’s Groove (Niet f-n and Giuseppe Fantini) created sixteen compositions whose duration does not exceed the 2’25” limit. The peculiar magnetism of this music owes something to biotic and mechanical constituents alike. The main characteristics are represented by word-reciting voices (more or less disfigured), incisive reiterations, stark melodic fragments deprived of any “captivating” trait, remodeled field recordings and electronic components halfway through a merciless dehumanization and a warm minimalist temperament. It’s not the sort of work that might induce a “love at first hearing” response, but its somewhat elegant density rewards the conscious listener. The performers literally disappear within the textural constitution as we’re left on our own, attempting to catch glimpses of meaning in between the cracks of a cold logic. Still, the sonic ingredients are deployed via methodologies that facilitate the relinquishing of conceptual attachments, snippets of quiet intelligence designed to lower the level of pseudo-intellectual cholesterol.

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