Hopeful Monster

AMP2, Hopeful Monster

AMP2‘s Hopeful Monster, inside the 10 CD box set Musica Improvvisa by Die Schachtel.

Gandolfo Pagano: Prepared Guitar, Electronics
Dario Sanfilippo: Laptop/Live Electronics – Feedback Network Based Nonlinear DSP System
Domenico Sciajno: Laptop/Live Electronics – Max/MSP Programming
Antonino Secchia: Percussion Set
Andrea Valle: Rumentarium, a SuperCollider-Driven Electro-mechanical Percussion Set

1. Parent-Explains (12.43)
2. Results (11.57)
3. Monograph (06.39)
4. Natural (11.13)
5. Thousand (04.44)

Here the booklet’s text:

“The biologist Richard Goldschmidt introduced the term “hopeful monster” to indicate an individual of a species showing a relevant mutation in its genes. This mutation makes the individual a “monster”, as it differs from all the other individuals of his species. But, at the same time, it is “hopeful”, as it can lead to a radical discontinuity in the otherwise continuous evolution of the species. Our “Hopeful Monster” presents five excerpts from two long, radically improvised, sessions, where no previous structures of any kind were planned. Indeed, improvisation often tends to be shaped as a sort of continuous, slowly evolving flow. But, from time to time, a mutation happens, leading to unprevisible results. The tracks on the album present five of these hopeful monsters”

Q: Yes, but what about the titles?
A: The titles are intended as suggestions for the listener. Each of them is extracted from Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, by retrieving the n word from the text, where n is the duration of each piece expressed in seconds.


.Rockerilla, n. 367, p.72, Marzo 2011, Vincenzo Santarcangelo:
Ritmo-centrata anche la performance di AMP2, collettivo che nasce n seno alle esperienze palermitane dell’Advanced Media Pool e dell’Associazione Culturale Antitesi, entrambe creature di Domenico Sciajno. In “Hopeful Monster” lo affiancano Gandolfo Pagano alla chitarra, Dario Sanfilippo e Antonino Secchia al laptop e Andrea Valle a orchestrare Rumentarium, straordinario strumento percussivo diffuso, metà macchina semovente tinguelyiana cstruita con oggetti di recupero, metà saggio applicato di organologia avanzata e tecniche di informatica musicale”

.SentireAscoltare, Stefano Pifferi, 28 Jan 2011:
Dietro Amp 2 troviamo Gandolfo Pagano (chitarra), Dario Sanfilippo, Domenico Sciano, Antonio Secchia (tutti al laptop) e Andrea Valle (percussioni) quintetto che sposta l’asse verso l’impro-elettronica da laptop. Hopeful Monster consta di 5 pezzi in cui l’elettronica riduazionista si fa collage sonoro multiforme, aiutata da una notevole predisposizione al ritmo. Fratturato e frantumato, continuamente in coazione coi live-tronics dei tre pc, trova nella lunga opener Parent-Explains la sua migliore forma.

.AllAboutJazz, Mark Corroto, 27 Jan 2010:
AMP2 also known as Advance Music and Media Pool Palermo is a collective group of musicians that have contributed the most innovative sounds to this project. Hopeful Monster is an engrossing combination of sound both mechanical and electrical that just happens to also find itself being musical. The five musicians—Domenico Sciajno, Dario Sanfilippo, Antonino Secchia, Gandolfo Pagano and Andrea Valle—all administer some variation on laptops or electronics in combination with prepared guitars, feedback or invented percussion devices. Think free improvisation meets Harry Partch . Eccentricity and weirdness is the norm here, with percussive barking electronics and odd little mechanical driven rhythms these five tracks are ultimately satisfying.

. Paris Transatlantic, Autumn 2010, Dan Warburton:
Further south, and across the Straits of Messina, the Advanced Music & Media Pool Palermo, aka AMP2, is a collective featuring, on this particular release, Hopeful Monster, Gandolfo Pagano on prepared guitar and electronics, Dario Sanfilippo on laptop, live electronics, feedback network based nonlinear DSP system, Antonino Secchia on laptop, live electronics and percussion, Andrea Valle on Rumentarium (SuperCollider-driven electro-mechanical percussion set) and AMP founding father Domenico Sciajno on laptop, live electronics and Max/MSP. Not surprisingly, with all that gear, they can make quite a racket. The rough and tumble of the bookend tracks “Parent-Explains” and “Thousand” is fun, but exhausting; individual contributions can be more easily assessed and appreciated in the more spacious pieces (it’s nice to be able to hear exactly how all these impressive-sounding gadgets transform basic sonic raw material). “Results” is my pick of the bunch, but even there the musicians can’t resist thickening the plot by getting busy. It’s well worth checking out though, as is the collective’s earlier outing with Tim Hodgkinson (again), Hums, on Bowindo.

. The Wire, 319, September 2010, p. 57, Julian Cowley:
AMP 2 – a contraction of Advanced Music & Media Pool Palermo – is, on the other hand, just the kind of triple-laptop, percussion and prepared guitar quintet that the project would seem to promise. They too have recorded with Tim Hodgkinson – Hums, issued last year on Bowindo – and while the fizzing, flaring dynamics suggest analogies from chemistry or particle physics they manage to convey an almost tactile presence through sonic abstraction.

. Blowup, 148, Settembre 2010, Stefano Bianchi:
Sono votati invece all’elettronica da laptop gli Amp2 […] che in “Hopeful Monster” scelgono cinque momenti tratti da due session improvvisate “senza alcuna coordinata definita in partenza”, intento che l’affiatamento tra i cinque felicimente vanifica traducendosi in sequenze ‘organizzate’ di elettronica riduzionista dal notevole ‘sentimento’ del ritmo.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

On Nyman and Greenaway, 10/04/18

I’ve been invited to speak about Michael Nyman’s music in relation to Peter Greenaway’ films at the OGR-Officine Grandi Riparazioni, Torino. Here the announcement. I will intervene in duo with Domenico De Gaetano.

On musicaelettronica.it

Historia universalis

I started a collaboration with the blog musicalettronica.it dedicate to electronic and contemporary music. Here and here the two parts of my first contribution, on algorithmic composition and automatic notation.

Historia universalis

Eskizos 25/01/18


On Jan 25th Marcelli Antúnez Roca will open his new multimedia installation -Eskizos- at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Madrid.
I’m proud of having composed the music, and a bit sad not to be there.


Systema Naturae with Schallfeld in Graz

Systema Naturae in Graz

We performed Systema Naturae (the whole cycle of 4 pieces I co-wrote with Mauro Lanza) at Schaumbad, Graz, with wonderful Schallfeld Ensemble. In the occasion, we gave a couple of lecture at Uni and at IEM.

Systema Naturae in Graz

Live at StudiumLab, 07102017

Minute di cronometria, Live

We opened our new lab at the Department of Humanities (StudiUm) with a concert dedicated to improvisation, called Macchine all’impronta. Great friends musicians participated and we did two of my pieces, Annuario telefonico (with Federico Marchesano, Stefano Risso, Luca Morino and Francesco Bianchi) and Minute di cronometria (with Carlo Barbagallo, Dario Bruna, Amos Cappuccio playing my electromechanical percussion setup, special guest Simone Pappalardo and Jean-François Laporte).
Impressive 360 video by Stefano Sburlati (do not open with Safari) here.

Minute di cronometria, Live

At SMC 2017

After some years, I’m back at the Sound and Music Computing Conference, 14th ed, 2017, in Espoo. Presenting two papers, both available on line in the proceedings: Systema Naturae: shared practices between physical computing and algorithmic composition, with Mauro Lanza, and Electric Grammars. Algorithmic Design and Construction of Experimental Music Circuits, with Simone Pappalardo

An essay on Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco

I’m very proud that my essay on “Modes of sign production” has been included into the volume dedicated to Umberto Eco in the Library of living philosophers.

Umberto Eco in the Library of living philosophers

Ultraxy is OUT!

My new album Ultraxy, including works written for Marcel.li Antunez Roca’s Ultraorbism and Alsaxy is out for Solitunes. Every cover album of the CDs is different and generated algorithmic by a modified toy caterpillar. Check it here.

Ultraxy, 1 of 200 covers

Systema naturae at Naturkunde museum

With Mauro Lanza we had the pleasure to play our whole cycle System naturae, including the three Regna plus the premiere of the final episode, Fossilia, at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Berlin on June 19 with the amazing ensemble mosaik. A huge but rewarding amount of work,  surrounded by dinosaurs. Pics collected here.

Fossilia at Naturkunde Museum Berlin

Sapir-Whorf vs Boas-Jakobson. Note sull’aspettualità nei linguaggi di programmazione. A seminar

Semiotics/programming language

On May 4th,2017 I’m presenting a seminar on semiotic aspects of programming languages in the context of the seminar cycle by CIRCe of University of Torino, Semiotica dell’aspettualità.

Semiotics/programming language