This work is the result of field recording sessions made by Attilio Novellino and Saverio Rosi in August of 2013 at the woolen mill “Leo”, the oldest textile factory active in Calabria, founded in 1873 in Soveria Mannelli (Catanzaro).
Currently managed by Emilio Leo, this company is one of the most significant cases of company-museum in Italy and was the winner of the Guggenheim Management Culture award in 2001. Emilio is adopting a particular production and communication model, trying to connect innovation and tradition, targeting his products to international market and using art and new technologies as a way to promote what he produces and spread it beyond the boundaries of southern Italy.
Emilio once said that “The machine, by definition, repeats slavishly the same sequence at any time, in any season, everyone is using it. My old machines instead – either because they are worn out, internally worn – are no longer able to do this. They have a bit of ‘anarchy’ inside, they make mistakes. But if you go into this idea of the error and you control it, the machine helps you precisely and becomes the author of the product with you.”
This description of machines with a sort of personality and creative ability really impressed Novellino and Rosi, so they decided to document sounds of the factory and then tried to become co-authors of a composition with these same machines. They also aimed to provide a double face of the work, using traditional techniques for the first part and modern technologies for the second.
The first part of this work is a mix of raw field recordings, with all sounds unprocessed. The sounds produced by machines from the late 19th century, with their distinctive timbres and unusual rhythmics, were recorded from various perspectives, trying to document the entire production process, from the first to the last machine. This is a unique document considering that these very old machines have been exceptionally activated for a few minutes for this session.
The second part is a composition using the same field recordings as sources. The sounds were processed with analog (including reel-to-reel tape recorder, digital delay and echo) and electronic treatments (mainly granular synthesis) and than re-assembled in order to have “a new vision” of the old sounds.