Interview with Metzengerstein

And you’re back in the room.
One of my favourite releases of last year was Metzengerstein’s “Alchemy to our days”.
You may remember I reviewed it right here on the blog and was taken with it’s fresh blend of world influences and Kosmiche rock.
Now a special treat in store for you.
Metzengerstein’s Devid Ciampalini kindly chatted to the Needle blog about the Tuscany experimental music scene, “Alchemy to our days” and future plans for the loose collective of musicians and sound-makers known as Ambient Noise Session…
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Hi Devid, thanks for coming in to chat!
 
First things first.. How did you guys meet and how did Metzengerstein form?
Metzengerstein was definitively born during a concert where also Splinter vs Stalin played (maybe their last one) in an occupied squatting area full of sheets.
In that sort of nomad camp Devid Ciampalini and Federico Luti, already playing together, first met with David Lucchesi and Andrea Pecchia, members of the DeA Duo.
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Please tell us about how “Alchemy to our days” came to be and how it’s different/similar to your debut,”Albero Specchio” (for the excellent Sonic Meditations label)..
A.t.o.d. is a very reflexive album.
It comes from many long series of trio improvisations, even from live experience. Once recorded in studio, it became simple and organic concerning with sonority and structures. Albero Specchio was instead fully recorded from our improvisations in quartet. The approach turns out in what we do. Repetitiveness and groove stasis have been fundamental.
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I love the field recording elements on the album,can you tell us more about that?
Getting into Pietro Riparbelli bandcamp page “Cathedral”
project where many artists can upload field recordings of holy places -https://pietroriparbelli.bandcamp.com/
I found out Giovanni Lami’s recording taken in Jerusalem, that seemed to me very beautiful. http://www.giovannilami.it/
When Buraq, the first track of the album, was casually born, I decided to put that field recording at the beginning as a sort of intro to the entire album.
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Please tell us about the guest musicians on “Alchemy to our days” and their involvement.
Marco Baldini played together with us in this album. He is a friend and a gorgeous trumpetist from Florence.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1__oSEh-6T0
We were already playing together before, so we decided to invite him to join us in a track that was coming out too redundant to us. Now we are still going on in a quartet of radical improvisation, again with him at the trumpet, Edoardo Ricci at the sax https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1P09BKqAPo , me at voice and cheap devices electronics and David Lucchesi at the guitar.
Another artist playing in this album is Virginia Genta, member of the fantastic Jooklo Duo and many other incredible projects https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQRGQKk39tg
Always very active, we asked her to make an overdub for the neo-elected wildest track of the album, and she immediately seemed so helpful and open-minded. She came to visit us in Calci, home of Guido Broglio https://soundcloud.com/guido-broglio,  and we recorded there: the result came out fantastic.
In the last track there is even Federico Santantoni  that time drummer of Ray Daytona and the Googoobombos. He played with us and lent us some of his fantastic collectible rides.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TokLhEq4_4,
How/where was the album recorded?
We recorded the album in Francesco Taddei’s Savonarola studio
He is such a disposable and mild person, we could stay there quietly for three days, with no interruptions. With just a retouch to the mix to give it a better sound we took the work to the Red Room in Vecchiano https://www.facebook.com/redroomrecordingstudio , where Flavio and Giovanni made an awesome job with analogue mixer and tape mastering.
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You guys are on the (also very excellent) Yerevan Tapes label.What is it like working with them?
Yerevan is a very professional reality, they did all well, never wasting time. I think that if we will need help it would be a pleasure to work with them again.
How challenging are the compositions to play live?
Playing should never be a challenge. Playing our things has always been pleasant. These unfortunate days when nothing seemed to come out we have usually played different stuff. Simplicity and naturalism are always the basement of our compositions: we feel free to do what we feel to do.
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What are your major musical/cultural/spiritual influences?
Concerning music, we are extremely into German cosmic music and the most industrial side of noise. Improvised music has lately really impressed us as well as it has made a serious influence. I am interested in foreign cultures, too, socially about the way they use to relate to each other. I like philosophy and psychology, but I prefer to keep a concrete eye on these, not to be too much involved. David practices spagyrics, an ancient technique from the alchemic tradition.
What’s next for Metzengerstein?Any plans to play the UK?
Some plans to play in England. It’s going to come out an album of improvisations soon, under the Ezio Piermattei’s label Tutore Burlato https://soundcloud.com/eziopiermattei http://tutoreburlato.blogspot.it/2015/02/blog-post_4.html.
Music and improvisation already with Dan Melchior and Dylan Nyoukis, he will be playing there with David and me. We are also preparing some recordings with the super quartet Baldini/Ciampalini/Lucchesi/Ricci. If you want to help us to find places in England it would be fantastic (ED- Working on that!) We already keep contacts with Jason Williams ex saxophonist, now mad guitarist and saxophonist of Mothers Of The Third Reich are loose https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sePgIF6gzKo, and Olmo from Zamzamrec http://www.zamzamrec.org/.
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And finally what is Metzengerstein’s quote of the moment?
You can be what you want even not being it; you just need to find what you were not looking for.
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STOP PRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cosmic analogue improvisation pre-announcing the third album of the band. A whole amount of synthesizers, tape echoes, cymbals… will submerge you.
Currently struggling to reformulate the third album of the band, have this set in the amount of field recordings, cluster, synthesizers , percussion , etc  which will submerge , using a junkie approach and “outer dimensions” fuelled by the inexhaustible sap of Kosmische Musik
The research is that of a fully electronic music played but likewise derived from improvisation based on the use of analogue instruments.
Extra….new record from the duo impro Devid Ciampalini and David Lucchesi
Thanks Devid and Metzengerstein for taking the time to come in and chat to the Needle blog! And to finish off, some fine clips of Metzengerstein in live performance.
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