The Zone by Daniele Del Monaco
What were your musical influences?
Hard question. Many times I force my nature to keep pace with my intellect and vice versa.
It all started with the purpose to work together with my old friend and opera director Barbara Di Lieto on some narrative structures given by the myth of Orpheus and ended up in a sort of introspective process which revealed some unexpected sounds, like reminiscences.
The album sounds pop to me (not really candy-pop, I admit…) and clearly reminds some musical elements coming from a generic “counterculture” field. However, we can’t define it as post-rock, alternative or avant-prog but it’s an attempt to stylize in my way some musical references of our present or past. I’m still a “composer” and sometimes I play with randomness to explore new possibilities and reveal something that I deem necessary and makes sense to me.
I can say that Igor Stravinsky is one of my models but at the same time I adopt some praxis coming from alea and free impro (at one point my hometown, Rome, had a very interesting musical season of free improvisation and collaborations between contemporary classical composers) in order to avoid any “neoclassic” temptation or cold postmodernist citationism.
My reply to your question could be: Fugazi, Cornelius Cardew, Igor Stravinsky and The Beatles.
I just went along with an experimental and risky approach and all was about getting rid of what is not necessary. I used the eraser much more than the pen. Then, things happened on their own, draining the music by any affectation of skills or style to create an intentional and assertive statement.
In this album I detect a rock opera, am I dreaming?
I’m glad for this definition but also “opera about rock” works well.
Conceptually, The Zone is definitely a punk opera claiming a sort of melancholic transcendentalism and the need to regain a harmonious relationship with nature, free from dogmas, schooling and other cultural superstructures. So, the plot is about the myth of being anarchists.
My idea of The Zone was like a place immersed into an unusual and rare “pure silence”, a place where the only sound you can hear is your own sound. Zone’s Stalker is ready to give up everything to face this silence thanks to his stoicism. This kind of willingness to listen is very meanful for every musician.
Our hero, The Stalker, is a poetic and musical synthesis of a crypto-punk-pirate approach to life and to the music I would aspire to, despite my weakness.
How do you qualify the style of these compositions for this album?
The sound on the CD is not very dynamic and I can detect a bit of compression, is that intended?
The Zone has conceptually been written to be a double-vinyl record as the end product. So it was subsequently mixed in a strictly analogue environment by Thomas Lebioda and then mechanically cut to lacquer from Thomas’ mixes by Noel Summerville in London. Noel owns one of only 5 original Neumann cutting lathes still in operation today. So the sound of the vinyl records represent the original intended dynamics of the music and should be used as reference.
The CD- master equals the digital master which you can hear on the streaming and download platforms. That master was derived from the same mixes, but issued in a separate digital, more contemporary mastering process to match the subjective loudness levels of other productions in the online world better.
Not something I am fond of, but a requirement for the Label release. We tried to keep it as close to the original as possible, but a little gentle compression was inevitable. Well spotted.
Who is your music for?
Even though my music is frequently out of format this doesn’t mean that it hasn’t a recipient. I realized that music is a very divisive thing so I’m not inclined to serve any kind of people or institution in this world.
I always need a valid reason for doing it and I’m always seeking strategies to make it as intense and meaningful as possible.
I wrote The Zone first for my friends and then for the rest of the world. In the process I also interacted with some legendary icons of our cultural background like Blixa Bargeld or Martin Bisi and that’s gave to me the opportunity to recognize a sort of hidden community with a punk soul which is also used to dedicate time to listen long and intense forms and art music from the past.
My music is for the ones that have the time and the availability to listen to it and to be open: not for everyone!
Do you have a message for our readers?
Buy the vinyl, turn-off your phones for one hour and listen to The Zone. You can have a listen online to the album but you will miss a good part of the message.
Supporting independent music equals supporting independent thought.
Let’s discover the music: https://thezoneconceptalbum.bandcamp.com
Daniele Del Monaco
STUDIO III RECORDINGS
La pensée du moment
Lorsque tu fais quelque chose, saches que tu auras contre toi, ceux qui voudraient faire la même chose, ceux qui voulaient le contraire, et l’immense majorité de ceux qui ne voulaient rien faire. [Confucius].
Cet article a été rédigé par Marc PHILIP et Daniele Del Monaco, rédacteurs indépendants, tous droits réservés, copyright 2022, les textes et photos sont la propriété de l’auteur et du magazine.
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