The early works by Agostino Di Scipio (1987 – 2000)

Next week I am presenting at the International Symposium in Paris (Paris VIII University, 27-30 May)

Musique et écologies du son / Music and ecologies of sound


I will discuss Agostino Di Scipio’s early works.

Abstract: Points of time, points in time, points in space. The early works by Agostino Di Scipio (1987 – 2000)

If we look at Agostino Di Scipio’s early works, it becomes clear that we are facing a genuine research workshop. Such works as Punti di tempo (Points of time) (1987) and Estensioni (1988), respond in the form of a double conscience to artistic individuality : in the first one, the 7minutes 30” structure is fragmented and the microstructure of sounds is disjointed (Anderson, 23) ; in Estensioni, which is also the only work by additive synthesis in Di Scipio’s catalogue, the sound is constructed, almost spectral and very deeply controlled. This same dual approach has been widely applied by Di Scipio during his first career : in Fractus (1990), Plex (1991) and Kairòs (1992) the concept of infinitesimal and the interest for the macrostructure (computer aided composition) complement each other.

In 1994-95, Di Scipio began taking interest in real-time composition. These years mark a turning point in his two-phase early career (1987-1994 and 1995-2000). From that time on, his works involve more and more spatial aspects of writing (7 piccole variazioni sul freddo, 1994 ; 4 variazioni sul ritmo del vento, 1995; 5 interazioni cicliche alle differenze sensibili, 1998). This passage shows an interesting evolution in his compositional practice. Rather than composing music ‘for’ actually existing (acoustic or computational) instruments, he began to directly ‘write and compose instruments’ which hence are deterministic systems of the performative ecosystem taken as a whole.

My talk will explore some of the issues that arise as we consider Agostino Di Scipio’s works in the years 1987-2000. My focus is to decipher this phase with an analytical and biographical approach. However, such a phase will not be linear, as I will show. The microscopic study of sound structure, the use of natural sounds as granular compositional resources, the auto-formation of sound systems and their evolution in time. These themes spread out fanwise from one precise musical notion : the notion of ‘emergency’ (sonological and formal emergency) (Solomos 2005, 2010). Specifically, I will draw upon Di Scipio’s archival documents, technological issues, the relation between his biography and his works, and a number of personal acquaintances and readings which were important in his artistic life.


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