SEC_ reviews


Jerome Noetinger & SEC_ - La Cave Des Etendards (CD, Mikroton 2018)

While the album is a studio-created composition, it retains the raw, energetic immediacy of live performance.
        “La Cave Des Étendards”, which features both Noetinger and SEC_/Napolitano playing Revox reel-to-reel tape recorders, is an unsettling and demanding listen. The artists create a jarring, event-driven collage that hurtles forward without providing any space to breathe. It rapidly cycles from one storm cloud of aggressive noise to the next, with bits of warped dialogue and squealing tape contorting violently across the stereo field. This harsh music is in constant flux, refusing to permit any atmosphere to settle in for too long. On headphones, the sonic clarity is striking; rounded low bass, confrontational percussion slam and fidgety white-noise blasts play across a sound field that remains legible even at its most dense. Towards the end of the first song, “L’Orecchio di Diongi”, they reach a crescendo of especially remarkable malevolence. I can even imagine fans of power electronics getting a kick out of this. 



SEC_ & Dario Sanfilippo live at Cafe Oto - 10/10/2016

Dario Sanfilippo and SEC_ were next, offering a completely different experience in character. There was contradicting yet very interesting dynamics between the two musicians with Dario being seated behind a laptop, almost like a statue and SEC_ a.k.a Domenico Napolitano constructing sounds using his signature reel-to-reel tape recorder on which he was touching different objects which he removed with remarkable care. The whole procedure had similarities with model making and was fascinating to watch. The piece 3that Dario and SEC_ composed for us had musicality and contrasting rhythms but more interestingly, it had a story to ‘tell’ to anyone of us who was open to listen. Having evident influences from industrial and syncopated ‘non-music’, the duo offered a meaningful and aesthetically interesting sound with a balanced and conceptually justified alteration of blasts, cuts and full bodied sounds. At this point it is
important to stress that Dario has studied music composition and is currently a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and his interests include nonconventional synthesis, sonic emergence, radical improvisation, feedback and audio programming. SEC_ shares these interests as well therefore their collaboration is no surprise. Finally, in 2013 SEC_ received the PIARS prize for his piece “Outflow“.

At some point the rhythm brought momentarily to mind the motif of “Last Dream of Jesus” by Haus Arafna. Overall the duo engaged everyone in the audience both visually and conceptually and I definitely want to seem them again perform live. 30Dario Sanfilippo and SEC_ released their first album together in 2015, through Tsuku Boshi. The album is entitled ‘Fame D’Aria’.

Blaue Rosen


SEC_ - Mefite (CD, Toxo records 2016)

Italian composer SEC_ (i.e. Mimmo Napolitano) has landed here a few times, notably with his exciting and severe Outflow record where we admired the “measured control, economy, tautness, and selection” in the compactness and editing; and the old-school tape-recorder approach delighted Paul Morgan on 2013’s Moscaio album, even though he complained “there’s no doubt [SEC_] has successfully created an alien, unnatural soundscape, but I found that it takes a few listens to be able to comfortably inhabit it.” Here today is Mefite (TOXO RECORDS tx07), a highly alarming and disorienting composition, which like Outflow also contains a near-overload of information, and which like Moscaio successfully induces strange sensations of loathing and dread.

Mefite has a classical theme, inspired by the Roman fertility goddess (called Mephitis in English) who was often associated with water, swamps, and volcanoes; some scholars think she’s the personification of the sulphurous gases which were naturally emitted by these geographic features. Our man Mimmo is 100% sold on the myth; he describes the Ansanto Valley with some relish as a secret cult location where “horrible gas emissions…kill those who go too close”. These themes are bolstered by the murky cover images, portraying inhospitable rocky areas, perhaps riddled with lava streams and poisonous gases.

To articulate the voice of Mephitis, Mimmo has enlisted the talents of M. DellaMorte, who intones her vengeful words through a distorting filter as if speaking to us mere mortals using the broken telephone receiver of The Gods. She may have got the job based solely on her surname, which translates as “Of Death”; hopefully she’s a gothic beauty with stunning black hair, a wan expression, and prominent cheekbones. The texts she’s speaking were derived from a film about insects by Peter Liechti, which in turn was inspired by a book bearing the chilling title Diary Of A Mummy by Shimada Masahiko. Apparently it’s a macabre story about death by starvation, told in diary form. Brrr…but I do like this multi-layered approach to culture, allowing one subject to illuminate another; juggling the nested ideas seems like just the sort of complex exercise that SEC_ would enjoy, given his elaborate music.

This barrage of information reaches a head near the middle of Part 2 of the composition, creating an overload of unnerving sounds in which the relentless voice continues to chatter implacably. Matter of fact there are multiple speaking voices, generating nightmarish sensations. I should count myself lucky I only have a CD; the original performance in Naples was a multi-channel operation, involving radios and speakers with a live vocal performance. Small wonder the inhabitants dreamt of death by volcano that night, some of them reliving the last days of Pompeii.

I had an idea that European electro-acoustic composers of the 20th century also liked to do occasional updates on Greek and Roman myths, but I can’t find any examples now to support this claim. Even so, one senses that SEC_ is following in a good tradition, giving free vent to his tortured imagination through these strong themes, and creating powerful music thereby. Very good! From 28 June 2016.

Ed Pinsent

improv sphere

SEC_ - Mefite (CD, Toxo Records 2016)

Mefite, le dernier CD de Sec_ publié sur son propre label, est un des disques qui tournent en boucle sur ma chaîne depuis quelques temps. Un disque dont je ne me lasse pas, que j'ai découvert avec surprise et qui me transporte ailleurs à chaque fois. On était habitué aux manipulations virtuoses de bandes magnétiques, aux improvisations à tendance noise et musique concrète de cet artiste italien, mais pas à Mefite. Sec_ semble avoir passé un cap, il prend une autre direction avec ce disque qui ne ressemble à aucun de ses précédents, et cette voie s'avère géniale pour le moment. Des bandes et des enregistrements on en trouve toujours sur ce disque, il n'y a pas à s'inquiéter à ce niveau, des triturations électroniques aussi. Là où ça bouge, c'est avec l'introduction d'une installation de diffusion radiophonique, et la voix de M.DellaMorte. Sec_ a multiplié les canaux de diffusion et a ajouté une voix parlée façon radio qui récite des textes de Peter Liechti. Et la musique qu'il a composé avec ces nouveaux moyens a quelque chose de beaucoup plus figuratif et épique.
La musique est inspirée d'une divinité italienne symbole du passage de la vie à la mort. Et toute la musique joue sur ce passage. Des ambiances lumineuses aux couloirs obscurs, Sec_ nous fait voyager à travers un monde incertain, dur, austère et vivant à la fois. Les accélérations ou décélérations constantes du son (hormis la voix live) renforcent toujours cette impression de voyage, d'un voyage déterminé et nécessaire auquel on ne peut échapper. La musique n'est pas envoutante, elle est entraînante. Elle nous prend de force et nous emmène où elle veut, où le destin le décide.
Et c'est cette sensation d'être entrainé de force par une destinée qui nous échappe qui donne l'impression de vivre une vraie tragédie concrète. Sec_ créé une musique forte, une musique où la voix, le texte, les multiples canaux de diffusion et les manipulations nous entrainent contre notre gré où ce dernier le décide. Sec_ nous conduit dans les ténèbres mythologiques, dans des destinées populaires et épiques, mais aussi dans des territoires sonores qui marquent et blessent les esprits, des univers sonores éclatés, multiples, aux allures surprenantes et chaotiques, mais parfaitement maîtrisées.

Juien Héraud


SEC_ - Mefite (CD, Toxo Records 2016)

It's been a while since I last heard a release by Mimmo, also known as SEC_, a most active improviser from
the world of electro-acoustic music. He is a member of Aspec(t) and played with Jerome Noetinger, Dave Phillips,
Oliver die Placido, Francisco Meirino and many others. His main instrument is a Revox reel-to-reel recorder,
which he uses to record acoustic and electronic sounds and then, while playing it using more analogue and digital
treatments, hand spinning and such like. This new CD is about 'Mefgite', the Italian Godess from the southern part
of the country, goddess of fertility, presiding over life and death. Especially in the Ansanto Valley she has her cult;
the deadly moat, with horrible gas makes you especially careful. SEC_ uses words from the film 'The Sound Of
Insects', inspired by M. Shimada's 'Diary Of A Mummy'. M. DellaMorte (either appropriate name or a pseudonym)
recited these words, which are from a diary of death by starvation.
This piece was made for multi-channel diffusion, on radios and speakers, and live voice, but is here reduced to
stereo. This is a great piece, in two parts, spanning thirty-one minutes. It has that vibrancy of SEC_'s music, as
we know it. Bouncing back and forth with sounds, from loud to soft, like the best of musique concrete can have.
It never sounds really electronic, because SEC_ uses a lot of acoustic sounds, none of which we can easily detect
in its original source. The great beauty however here is the addition of text material. It adds a strong Nurse With
Wound like quality to the music, narrative and yet very spooky. No doubt thanks to the macabre and sinister
content of the words. This is a particular strong release by SEC_ and one that I thought was at thirty-one minutes
just a bit on the short side. (FdW)


- Settembre 2016



SEC_ - Mefite (CD, Toxo Records 2016)

Abbiamo già incontrato Mimmo SEC_ Napolitano, scambiandoci anche qualche chiacchiera in occasione dello speciale sulla Napoli sotterranea. Mefite è il suo nuovo album, che pubblica con la sua etichetta Toxo Records. Il riferimento alla divinità non è casuale, anzitutto perché il suo culto era diffuso al Sud, poi perché questo è un lavoro che ha a che fare col passaggio dalla vita alla morte, una fase dell’esistenza su cui la dea “aveva giurisdizione”, almeno secondo le popolazioni che vivevano intorno al lago d’Ansanto in Irpinia, quello con le acque che esalano vapori velenosi (mefitici, appunto). Mimmo aggiunge di aver affrontato quest’argomento appoggiandosi a “Diary of a Mummy” di Masahiko Shimada, una storia, un’opera di finzione, imperniata sui diari di una persona che si ritira in un bosco accanto a una zona paludosa e si lascia morire di fame, consentendoci in un certo senso di osservare alla moviola il suo percorso dal nostro mondo all’altro. Il regista svizzero Peter Liechti ha tratto una specie di falso documentario da questo testo, una pellicola di un’ora e qualcosa nel corso della quale osserviamo inquadrature statiche di boschi, insetti, scene di ordinaria vita quotidiana, senza vedere mai il personaggio principale. Qualcuno però legge il suo diario, una sorta di spoken word molto apatico, così come accade in Mefite, in cui una ragazza (con un po’ d’accento napoletano) recita in inglese alcune frasi del film. La colonna sonora di “The Sound of Insects”, così intitolato perché sono gli insetti l’unica compagnia – insieme a una radio – dell’autocondannato, ha vinto dei premi (in questo film senz’azione l’audio crea quasi da solo un’atmosfera malsana) ed è stata realizzata da Norbert Möslang, cioè un ex Voice Crack, storico duo svizzero a metà strada tra industrial e improvvisazione. Mimmo, che sappiamo avere familiarità col milieu noise e sperimentale di quelle parti, pur irpinizzando il disco, in qualche modo si confronta coraggiosamente anche col lavoro di questo suo precursore apparso qualche tempo fa anche su Ideologic Organ.
Mefite è abrasivo e urticante, composto da fasi aggressive, spezzate da spasmi e conati, quelli di qualcuno che sta crepando d’inedia. Ecco perché sentiamo pure respiri affannosi e rintocchi funebri e infranti di piano, oltre che i ronzii molto macabri di creature minuscole che con ogni probabilità stanno apparecchiando la tavola… Molto meglio questa roba scabra e infetta – finalmente non fondata sul solito, stanco immaginario e sui consueti, consunti film/libri/autori – che tanto materiale più leccato che dovremmo ascoltare per spaventarci.

Fabrizio Garau

SEC_ - Mefite (CD, Toxo Records 2016)

Pour cette nouvelle composition, SEC_ s’inspire du film de Peter Liechti “The sound of insects” qui raconte le suicide programmé d’un individu qui en même temps étudie chaque jour de sa perte.
Une musique électroacoustique puissante et poétique qui aime autant le couple tension-détente que des horizontalités mises en relief par un jeu subtil de supports d’enregistrement.
Au fur et à mesure de son travail, le musicien napolitain SEC_ tisse les toiles d’un univers sonore entre la force surprenante d’un Dave Phillips et la poésie enveloppante d’un Lionel Marchetti.

SEC_ - Outflow (CD, dEN / HCB records 2014)

Some very imaginative and textured, dynamic electronic noise-whatsis from the Italian creator SEC_. His Outflow (dEN RECORDS 017 / HEART & CROSSBONE HCB052) was generated using the full frying pan of now-familiar methods – tape recorder, feedback, radio signals, field recordings, contact mics, synths, etc – but the outputs are tightly composed and assembled, enabling him to serve up a tremendous wallop at the business end. His highly abstracted sounds may run wild and crazy when he lets them go free, but he’s in total control at all times, and he can pull in 13 errant barking dogs with just a single tug on his mechanical leash. Each track is a fascinating assemblage of layers, all competing for oxygen inside a tight, compacted space; SEC_’s editing skills are merciless, always knowing precisely where to let the blade fall. Fans of Miguel Garcia’s brooding night-bloomers are invited to check in here immediately, but whereas Garcia likes to let his surly, ugly sounds go for an extended rampage around the garden to terrify whom they may, SEC_ is all about measured control, economy, tautness, and selection. Every second counts in his no-nonsense, monochrome world. This is the fifth solo record from SEC_, who is Mimmo Napolitano from Casamarciano. Beautiful fold-out package printed silver on black. Arrived March 2014.

Ed Pinsent

improv sphere

Si SEC_ et Dave Phillips sont deux artistes que j’admire énormément mais qui n’ont pas grand-chose en commun, je profite de la sortie de leur première collaboration pour parler de quelques unes des dernières productions du jeune maître italien du Revox et d’un des plus grands monstres du field-recording activiste et psychoacoustique.


SEC_ & Olivier Di Placido - Mare Duro (cassette, Noise-Below 2014)

Je voudrais parler ici d’une courte cassette (une face de sept minutes et une de neuf) du duo Olivier Di Placido & SEC_ qui a déjà publié un excellent vinyle sur bocian il y a quelques temps. Le premier est crédité aux guitare électrique, pickups et feedback, tandis que le second utilise une table de mixage bouclée sur elle-même et manipulée sur bandes, des samples et de la voix, ainsi que son fameux Revox.

Au premier abord, peut-être que le langage de SEC_ peut paraître assez commun. Et pourtant, je n’arrive pas à m’empêcher de le trouver très singulier et recherché. La manipulation de samples sur bande magnétique et les larsens de table sont des procédés communs sans aucun doute, mais SEC_ a une manière bien particulière d’utiliser ces outils. Il y a quelque chose qui me fait parfois penser à Kevin Drumm qui utilise sans distinction des outils analogiques et numériques, bruitistes et instrumentaux. SEC_ mélange aussi très bien les outils et les sources, les approches très dures et spontanées, et plus calmes et formelles. Ca ressemble à de la noise très violente, complètement improvisée, mais il y a un souci du détail et de la forme qui est très fort dans sa musique.

Son duo avec Olivier Di Placido est assez révélateur de tout ça. La guitare est utilisée comme une source de bruit, elle produit des bourdons indistincts, des nappes abrasives et continues qui peuvent parfois éclater. Chez SEC_, les ruptures sont constantes, on passe d’un larsen subtil à une explosion de bruit sans s’y attendre, d’un sample de cochons à du pur bruit blanc très harsh en un rien de temps.

Mare Duro est une cassette courte, mais marquante. On y retrouve deux pièces qui jouent sur les ruptures constantes et toujours inattendues entre un calme contemplatif et monotone et des explosions déconstruites et surpuissantes. Deux pièces qui révèlent encore une fois le talent et la précision de SEC_ comme d’Olivier Di Placido : une attention constante aux textures, aux timbres et à la forme, aux ruptures de tension et aux dynamiques hautement contrastées, aux contrastes vertigineux même. C’est court, puissant, et virtuose ; on en redemanderait. Du très bon travail.

Julien Héraud -

Uno scultoreo ammasso di segnali elettroacustici “Outlow”.
Preziosa coproduzione fra l'etichetta israeliana Heart and Crossbone e l'attenta label di Stefano Ferrian.
Un'esposizione cruda e quasi tattile (le forme acuminate/tangibili di Send e Dispersion), fatta di sottrazione e fratturazioni ritmico/sgranate, di pianificazione ed inneschi sibilanti, casuali e ben accolti (la cartavetrata batterica di Boundaries).
Interni spogli, di tormento immobile/dronante, di fremiti e spasmi (i lividi di Return).
Le sberle e i detriti di un nudo oggi, dove a stento si trattiene la rabbia (Evacuation).
Un'oltre asciutto e complesso, quello riflesso negli occhi di Mimmo Napolitano.
Elegante e fluido gesto, primordiale e traforante (Outflow).
D'assenza non rassicurante (Interruption).
Per registratori a nastro Revox, no-input feedback, radio, field recordings, synth, microfoni, pick-ups e neon.

Marco Carcasi


improv sphere

SEC_ - Outflow (CD, dEN / Heart&Crossbone)

Depuis deux ou trois années maintenant, j'entends régulièrement parler de Mimmo Napolitano, ce jeune musicien électroacoustique de Naples qui publie sous le nom de SEC_. La plupart du temps, on en entend parler pour ses manipulations géniales au Revox, et pour le mélange ingénieux qu'il fait de l'analogique et du numérique. Sur Outflow, c'est l'occasion justement d'entendre SEC_ avec son excellent dispositif constitué d'un Revox, d'une table de mixage bouclée sur elle-même, de radio, de field-recordings, de synthétiseurs, de micro et micro-contacts.
Sur ce solo récent, le compositeur et improvisateur napolitain enchaîne une suite de sept pièces qui jouent principalement sur les collages. SEC_ paraît mélanger indistinctement l'improvisation et la composition ici, car si certaines structures sont à peu près claires, c'est quand même un sacré foutoir à l'intérieur. SEC_ multiplie les bandes bouclées, les nappes de synthé, les larsens et compagnie. On sent que des éléments sont préprogrammés, mais une grande liberté semble être laissée à l'intérieur du programme. Dès lors, SEC_ n'y va pas de main morte : collage de bruit blanc, de manipulation de bandes préparées, d'ondes diverses, larsens, le tout passé aux multiples effets analogiques et numériques sans que l'on puisse vraiment faire la distinction, et puis SEC_ joue lors du mixage sur le coupage et les ruptures. SEC_ fait inévitablement penser à eRikm et Jérôme Notinger, pour son sens du collage très rapide et virtuose, ainsi que pour son utilisation très détournée du Revox. Mais ce qui est vraiment saisissant, c'est l'aspect très physique de ces manipulations. Il s'agit de musique concrète ou électroacoustique jouée avant tout avec le corps, le musicien napolitain fait pleinement corps en effet avec son dispositif - ce à quoi l'élément principal, le Revox, se prête pleinement en même temps. Et puis il y a aussi toutes ces parties pulsées et rythmées, des ambiances indus et noise qui ne sont pas sans évoquer Wolf Eyes. De l'improvisation électroacoustique bien noise, bien industrielle, bien forte, et bien maîtrisée en somme.
Bref, SEC_ est peut-être une des figures les plus intéressantes qu'il m'ait été donné d'entendre dans l'improvisation électroacoustique récente. C'est extrêmement puissant, c'est physique, c'est recherché, c'est brut et dur, c'est intense, c'est très bien composé, c'est vraiment du bon travail. Saisissant.


Jérôme Noetinger & SEC_ - Testacoda (LP, Bocian Records)

Bon là attention, c'est du lourd. Deux excellents manipulateurs du Revox en duo pour deux faces enregistrées à Grenoble et à Naples, villes d'origines des deux musiciens. Testacoda est un album d'improvisation électroacoustique par Jérôme Noetinger (Revox, micros, radio) et SEC_ (Revox, table de mixage bouclée, ordinateur). Chacun de ces musiciens est largement reconnu pour sa maîtrise du Revox et sa créativité, chacun est souvent qualifié d'artiste de la nouvelle musique concrète, d'une musique électroacoustique influencée par la noise et les musiques électroniques autant que par l'improvisation libre.
Quand deux personnes de cette envergure se rencontrent on en attend beaucoup, et ça ne marche pas toujours. Mais là, aucune déception, Noetinger & SEC_ proposent une musique comme on peut l'espérer de cette rencontre. Des boucles, des cris, de la radio, du larsen, le tout passé, manipulé et repassé sur bandes de Revox, avec irruptions brusques de bruit blanc, de nappes numériques, etc. Les bandes magnétiques, point de rencontre organique entre les deux musiciens, sont traitées de manière très active, très physique. Toute la puissance de ce disque vient à mon avis du fait que l'on ressent clairement la manière dont ces bandes sont traitées : avec les mains. Noetinger & SEC_ ne prennent pas leur Revox avec des détours, ils le prennent à bras le corps, prennent les bandes à la main, les stoppent, les ralentissent, modifient leur parcours, etc. S'ils devaient s'approcher d'instrumentistes, ce serait des batteurs : un jeu direct, sans détour, brut et primitif. Et c'est cette pratique brute que l'on ressent dans toutes ces textures typiques des bandes magnétiques et de l'analogique, dans ce collage hyperénergique et survolté, dans cette créativité rude et cette énergie violente.
A partir de deux enregistrements de Noetinger et SEC_, l'artiste napolitain a monté deux faces d'une musique puissante, énergique, faite d'hommages à la musique concrète, à l'indus, au gabber même parfois, à la noise aussi et à la musique improvisée. De l'improvisation électroacoustique comme on en redemande : un collage brusque et sans concession de manipulations magnétiques, de larsens et de bruits, un collage dense, éprouvant, violent et intense, avec de nombreuses ruptures et quelques passages pulsés. Conseillé.

Julien Héraud -


OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (LP, Bocian Records 2013)

Bocian est un excellent label polonais spécialisé dans le free jazz (Mats Gustafsson) et la noise (Kevin Drumm), ainsi que dans le croisement de ces deux esthétiques : et c’est bel et bien ici que se situe SEC_(Revox, table de mixage en feedback manipulée sur bande, field recordings & samples), artiste virtuose du magnétophone à bande Revox. Plusieurs de ses travaux ont déjà été produits ou coproduits par Bocian, mais c’est la première fois que son duo avec Olivier Di Placido (guitare préparée avec micros non fixés) est publié ici, et en vinyle.

Le duo propose ici sept pièces d’improvisation électroacoustique barrées et puissantes. Les deux musiciens évoluent sur des territoires différents : sur des recherches purement sonores aux bandes et à la préparation des guitares, sur du collage sonore survolté et proche de dada, sur de l’interaction très proche, ou sur une distinction nette entre les deux musiciens. Mais quoiqu’il en soit, le duo évolue toujours sur des territoires hautement créatifs (au niveau des textures) et très intenses. Leur musique est vraiment énergique, pleine de force, de joie pour la rencontre et de passion pour les médiums utilisés.

Un duo qui vaut vraiment le détour. D’une part pour l’approche unique de la guitare avec Olivier Di Placido, et d’autre part surtout pour le talent indéniable de SEC_ avec son utilisation des bandes magnétiques. Le duo propose une traversée épique à travers les déphasages électromagnétiques, à travers les défaillances et les parasites électroniques, à travers le détournement constant des médiums (magnétophone, guitare, table de mixage). C’est brutal, puissant, beau, énergique, créatif et survolté. Parasitage, détournement, collage, et déconstruction comme piliers d’une création électroacoustique neuve et fraîche, unique et belle, très physique et spontanée, mais également primitive et virtuose.

Julien Héraud



OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Mare Duro (cassette, Noise-Below 2014)
A giudicare dal titolo scelto sembra che stavolta Mimmo e Olivier abbiano cercato di sabotare in tutti i modi la nostra immersione (Medusa vi ricorda qualcosa?) nella loro musica. Non ci sono riusciti. Per fortuna.
Mimmo Sec_ Napolitano lo conosciamo, è un amante della materia elettroacustica prodotta dai Revox e conoscitore della “ars acusmatica”. Quella di Olivier Di Placido, invece, è la storia curiosa di un francese pratico della tabletop guitar trapiantato nella capitale partenopea. Beninteso che, stanti oltretutto gli ultimi accertamenti svolti nella recente intervista con gli Imploded, siamo nella Napoli “improvvisa” della musica “parlata”. Canovacci, quelli delle improvvisazioni, nei quali la chitarra preparata è ormai un canone, anche se qua il tentativo di ripararsi dalla pioggia di cliché è evidente, e riuscito grazie all’adozione di alcune “preparatorie” ancora più eterodosse (electric guitar with moving neck, unfixed pickups). C’è dell’autoironia, e forse della parodia, nel palesare così il maltrattamento produttivo di un strumento. Su Mimmo oramai non mi dilungo nemmeno più di tanto, non certo per cattiveria, anzi: visto e sentito in ogni salsa e riesce sempre a scombinare tutti i piani nella testa di chi lo ascolta. Non ho molte memorie di una rilettura a suon di feedback così poietica dei sacramenti concreti schaefferiani. Bello infine anche il disegno in copertina di Tiziana Salvati per questo boccone di quindici minuti offertoci dalla Noise-Below.
Au revoir.

Tommaso Gorelli

SEC_ - Outflow (CD, dEN Records/HCB Records 2013)

Esiste, in musica, un limbo dove, per gli esuli dalle sonorità convenzionali, il termine “sperimentale” diventa il modo per esplorare confini ancora non circoscritti. Territori ibridi sui quali si muovono sapientemente molti italiani: chi affascinato dall’interazione con tecnologie odierne (Ennio Mazzon), chi si rifà a ispirazioni elettro-acustiche para-contemporanee (Vipcancro) e chi invece su questi bordi sottili riesce a camminare da perfetto funambolo. Se dovessi scegliere una categoria per Mimmo SEC_ Napolitano, lo metterei proprio in quest’ultima. Uno a suo modo outsider, anche se le sue collaborazioni potrebbero dire il contrario: oltre alla militanza nella NapoIi Improvvisa! con Aspec(t) e Strongly Imploded, menzioniamo l’esperienza con Ken Vandermark (Spaceways Inc.) nei Rara Avis, poi quelle con Dave Phillips, Andy Guhl e, per stare vicino alle sonorità più brutali di stanza su The New Noise, quella con gli Psychofagist de Il Secondo Tragico. Indizi come l’utilizzo di “strumenti” come TV CRT ci dicono qualcosa riguardo influenze provenienti dalla cracked everyday electronics, la cui la paternità è del non a caso già citato fondatore dei Voice Crack Andy Guhl. La manipolazione analogica, invece, riporta a pratiche concrète, lontane comunque da canovacci manieristi di sorta, creando coni d’ombra elettro-acustici di noise virulento dal taglio power electronics o affiliato alle discendenze nipponiche, del tipo no-input mixing board, la cosiddetta corrente “Onkyo”, che tradotto significa: feedback a manetta.
Ecco, Outflow per dEN Records e Heart & Crossbone è in sintesi tutto questo. Aggiungeteci un bel packaging, il cui font creato ad hoc da Davide Soldarini sembra riassumere l’approccio “forma non-forma” e sghembo di Mimmo.
Tommaso Gorelli

OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (LP, Bocian Records 2013)

Deux oiseaux perchés sur un fil électrique, à attendre. A dessiner dans le ciel des figures que même eux ne sauraient expliquer, des trajectoires incongrues, des mouvements brusques, des virages, des revirements, avant de se poser à un autre endroit. Une recherche, une introspection, un langage. Un instinct. Mimmo et Olivier sont comme deux oiseaux dans le ciel : formant un ensemble, et pourtant portés par des réflexes distincts. Une différence complémentaire. Qu'on ne s'y trompe pourtant pas : il n'est nulle question de collaboration de processus, j'entends de celles où l'un apporterait la brique et l'autre le ciment. Il s'agit plutôt ici à chacun de contribuer, de manière consistante, aussi bien à l'intersection des entrechoquements, terribles triturations à haute vélocité, qu'à l'union des torsions sonores, union qui apporte ici et là de superbes morphismes tourmentés. Si chaque pièce tient tout d'abord par la tension d'une versatilité organique en grande partie due au montage nerveux de Mimmo, le liant se fait également par le matériau sonore, plus cohérent qu'il n'y paraît à priori. Les ondes et chocs métalliques de la guitare d'Olivier n'évoluent en effet pas en opposition des feedbacks distordus, des ondes statiques et des cigales de Mimmo : les sons se rejoignent pour une danse iconoclaste, un plaisir non dissimulé à travailler le son brut à main nue, à le disséquer sous toutes les coutures, comme le ferait un sale gosse d'une sauterelle. Une approche d'artisan, certainement aussi jubilatoire à exercer pour leurs auteurs qu'à écouter pour leur auditoire. Epoustouflant en concert, superbe sur disque, en un mot : enthousiasmant. (dimanche 1 décembre 2013)

Vincent Lenglet

Just Outside


SEC_ - Moscaio (Bocian/Toxo)
SEC_ is Mimmo Napolitano, a member of several Italian electronic and improvising ensembles, here heard solo using recorders, no-input feedback, radio, etc. The music is rough and ornery, partially out of noise but more reminiscent to me of things like Rowe/Lehn/Schmickler, bearing a similarly brutal and awkward aspect. The sounds chosen give no quarter to the soothing or calm--all is agitated, acid, black & white. While "Swarms of Flies", the first track, sounds like nothing of the sort, "Becoming an Insect" sounds like just that, an intense, aggravating swarm of gnats with bangs that may be hand swats. The title track seems more out of classic tape music, filled with conflicting elements--echoey bangs and static, metallic whines and low rumbles. It shows more implicit structure than some of the other pieces and though it's not my favorite area, works pretty well by its own lights. Listeners poised between cracked electronics and pure noise will feel at home.

SEC_ - Outflow (dEN/Toxo/hcb)
In one respect, this recording isn't so very different from the above: solo SEC_ manipulating various electronic instruments. But the music is far denser and has, without anything approaching beats, more of a propulsive feel, a great sense of the surge. At its best, the sounds approach the power of composers like Dick Raaijmakers, SEC_ using a similarly rich palette. There are even moments, as in "Evacuation" where you hear the slightest hints of heavy metal. When it settles down to a simmer, as on the title track, it remains finely agitated, never really relaxing. It's interesting to me why this connects so much more strongly with me than the music in "Moscaio". It certainly has something to do with the intensity which seems far more focussed here, more channeled. Each track has depth and presence--the disc is strong all the way through. Highly recommended.

Olivier Di Placido/SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (Bocian)
A turntable-like sound seems more prominent in this collaboration (an LP release) though none is listed on the credits, welding some of the same kind of material dealt with in "Outflow" to a Tetreaultian soundscape. I get the impression of many rotating devices here, a circular feeling to a large percentage of the sounds. There's also a rapid-fire, sputtering noise assault that, again, has some of the disjointed aspect of "Moscaio", abetted here by some Roweian guitar noises from Di Placido. And, as in that release I find that the music has slid back into an area more concerned with effect than with a deep body of sound. There's a rapidity of action that outpaces consideration for texture, placement, etc., something I think SEC_ managed to handle very well in "Outflow", though the final track, "_que", hints at the wider spaces of Asian stringed instruments, a welcome respite. As before, listeners into this area, say those who enjoy the stylings of Erik M, will likely not have the same problems as me. 

Jérôme Noetinger/SEC_ - Testacoda (Bocian)
I was all ready for "testacoda" to mean something vaguely horrific, like "last head" but no, according to Google Translate, it's simply "spin". Noetinger, of course, is a long-time master of this field and I have to guess that it's largely his presence that swings the music, once again, back into the realm of the thick and juicy. Perhaps not so much thick as ropey, all these strands connecting small nuggets of sonic material, stretched through space, sticky enough to cause small floating objects and dust to adhere. Side A (this is also an LP) works a bit better than the verso for me, the latter having a share of loopiness that I could do without. But here, the fractured, stuttering elements manage to somehow fuse into a Twombly-like surface, isolated items that on their own might not hold much interest acquire a kind of meaning when set down in sequence or overlapped. Tough to explain, but well worth a listen.

A kind of rocky path, then, traced by these four releases but "Outflow" and "Testacoda" are well worth anyone's listen.

Brian Olewnick 


SEC_ - Outflow (CD, dEN Records/HCB Records 2013)

When a parcel arrives from Den Records I usually take a quick look and forward it to Dold Mulder, as it's probably jazz related. Had I not known SEC_ it might have happened too, and I would wonder what Dolf would have thought about this album. He might have enjoyed it, I think, but that's more due to his varied taste than to the fact that this is anything jazz related. SEC_ from Italy is a noise musician, having previous work on Bocian Records, who uses a revox tape recorder, no-input feedback, radio, field recordings, synth, microphones and pick-ups, neon and CRT TV. With this he creates quite some heavy slabs of noise based music, but as you may have guessed not of the heavy wall of noise type of things (it could have ended up with Jliat if that was the case), but more of the kind of intelligent noise, in which things can be loud indeed, but which are put together with some intelligence, some flair for composition, even when, in the case of SEC_ for instance, it's probably all more through matters of improvisation. This reminds me of Marchetti/Noetinger, but even a bit more chopped up, a bit more like a collage of sound. It continues what we heard previously from him, and he does a great job. It takes the noise out of the silly world of power electronics and makes it perhaps into something that is more 'serious', and that's something I actually quite enjoy. Great CD, great cover, no jazz harmed here. (FdW)


SEC_ - Outflow (CD, dEN Records - HCB Records 2013)

Nouveau CD de ce musicien italien que nous aimons beaucoup chez Metamkine. Sec_ travaille avec un magnétophone à bandes Revox, un ordinateur, du feedback de console, de l'électromagnétisme et d'autres bricoles électriques. Il sait allier avec justesse et intelligence analogique et numérique. Il construit des matières puissantes toujours en tension, de véritables coups de poings à la surface de stratifications électrifiées. Il sait aussi les sculpter en mécaniques rythmiques très bien huilées. Impressionnant et vraiment captivant donc recommandé !

 #96 - Juin 2013


OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (LP, Bocian Records 2013)

Autant le dire d'emblée, il y a dans cet album quelquechose de jubilatoire car ces créations improvisées sont foisonnantes, complètement foutraques et pourtant menées avec brio, artisanales et virtuoses.Noise, musique concrète, musique improvisée bien sûr...grotesque arc-en-ciel, pour reprendre le titre, mais grotesque dans le sens éminamment positif du terme: distordu, ambivalent, qui transcende les genres et les styles, n'est jamais convenu. SEC_ utilise un magnétophone Revox avec des enregistrements réalisés en direct et également des échantillons sonores; Olivier di Placido se sert quant à lui d'une guitare préparée avec manche et micros mobiles.
Dans les mains des artistes les sonorités semblent malléables à volonté.Ils les tordent, les coupent en menus morceaux, les pressent, les triturent, les étirent, les secouent dans tous les sens, et surtout les combinent avec une vélocité surprenante.Beaucoup de passages calmes aussi, superbes ambiances souvent sombres et crasseuses.Ce qui est intéressant avec cette approche c'est que tout en sollicitant l'imaginaire, en amorçant des histoires faites de bribes et de rebuts, la musique reste toujours ancrée dans l'instant, dans les sensations immédiates.A écouter sans plus attendre! "
Yann Leblanc



OLIVIER DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (LP, Bocian Records 2013)

In the current wave of Italian's finest improvisation musicians SEC_ is surely at the forefront of that scene. He had a solo release on Bocian Records only recently (see Vital Weekly 864), but now Mimmo Napolitano teams up with Olivier Di Placido, of whom I never heard. He plays 'prepared guitar with moving neck and unfixed pickup', whereas SEC_ takes credit for revox tape recorder, no-input feedback manipulated on tape, field recordings and samples. The whole thing was recorded in Berlin and Naples between 2011 and 2012, but I'm not sure if this is a collaboration through mail or through meeting in person. Somehow I think it's the latter. This is another work of the modern - read: 2013 - version of of improvisation. Loud, noisy, careful and thoughtful. It may open up in a heavy mode, with 'Rain', but don't let this deceive you. These two man will take for you for a bumpy ride across some uneven terrain here. The music hisses, cracks, bumps, collides, is smeared out, silent and loud throughout these forty or so minutes. The improvisations have been edited down, spliced away, trimmed and expanded and sound nicely analogue. Like so many of the works SEC_ is involved in, it's a bit of everything, or perhaps a lot of everything. He blurs the boundaries of all those genres which we all need to hold on to, and creates through his editing process an excellent journey in sound. Wild and vivid! Here with some more emphasis on the the guitar of Di Placido obviously but, by and large, it moves in the same boat as SEC_ solo does. Fine stuff indeed. (FdW)


Olivier DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (LP, Bocian Records 2013)

Voici un excellent duo avec d'un côté une guitare démembrée où manche et micros se déplacent facilement, une écorchée environnée qui poursuit les coups de scalpels de Martin Tétreault ou Pascal Battus. De l'autre, un Italien qui ose avec succès lier ordinateur et magnétophone à bandes, un chant de fréquences devenues magnétiques. Ensemble ils explorent un sonore autant ferrugineux que dense, dans des fragmentations accélérées. Recommandé ! Olivier Di Placido, guitare préparée avec divers micros. SEC_, magnétophone Revox, feedback enregistrements. Enregistré à Berlin et Naples entre 2011 et 2012. Édité, mixé et masterisé par Sec_.



Olivier DI PLACIDO & SEC_ - Rainbow Grotesque (LP, Bocian Records 2013)

Olivier Di Placido and SEC_ show a new face of improvised music. Instead of forced passages of conventional instruments, we get a soundtrack made with waste and garbage. SEC_ uses organic samples, tapes, and a Revox tape recorder, while Olivier Di Placido's guitar has object stuck between its strings. Both introverted and terrifying, the result of their collaboration is sounds from rags, pipe elbows, and bunches of wire. To an academic audience this will be experimental musique concrète, but others, home alone and playing this piece of vinyl instead of a record by Barry White, will find it a trip into emotional wasteland, initially unappealing and unpleasant. Metallic sounds from Di Placido's guitar lead you into staircases of abandoned brutalist buildings; it's a cold night in a staircase of a tower block at the outskirts of a provincial town. SEC_'s actions add an extra layer reminiscent of faint VHF messages from airports and abandoned radio stations. Dangerously absorbing, these areas can put you off going outside; they can make you start personifying household appliances and forget how to speak. A hell of a trip.

(–) Małgorzata Halber / transl. Przemek Chojnacki


 #95 - Mars 2013


SEC_ - Moscaio (CD, Bocian Records 2012)

L'opposition naturel/artificiel, bien que malmenée depuis déjà plusieurs années, reste ancrée dans les esprits comme une idée toute faite. On a d'ordinaire tendance à penser que les nouvelles technologies nous éloignent ou nous coupent du monde naturel. Et si, au contraire, les perceptionsinédites auwquelles les technologies nous permettent d'accéder contribuaient, parfois, à nous rapprocher d'une certaine animalité? Ce disque de SEC_ a d'abord été composé pour intégrer une série intitulée Petit guide du devenir chauve-souris diffusée dans le programme Kunstradio de l'ORF à Vienne (l'ensemble des compositions peuvent être écoutées en ligne sur le site de Kunstradio). Toutes empreintes de philosophie deleuzienne, les réflexions qui sous-tendent ce projet sont passionnantes: comment explorer les zones d'indiscernabilité entre les animaux, en particulier les insectes, et les perceptions humaines? Le texte de Stefano Perna qui accompagne le disque décrit remarquablement bien cette tentative. L'idée, conforme au concept de devenir de Deleuze, n'étant bien sûr pas d'imiter ou de reproduire fidèlement, mais de passer entre, de passer outre, de traverser les genres en traçant une ligne de fuite. SEC_ n'utilise donc aucun enregistrement d'insect: on capte des bruits humains, sons produit avec la bouche, voix fragmentaires, gargouillements... des sons instrumentaux, une multitude de fréquences, d'interférences, de Grésillements radiophoniques, de parasitages et bruits en tout genres, se combinant et se désintégrant à toute allute dans une espèce de magma bouillonnant. On songe parfois à Red Bird: a political prisoner's dream de Trevor Whishart, ou encoreà Dave Phillips (notamment dans le morceau intitulé Moscaio). SEC_ manipule avec virtuosité le Revox et l'ordinateur: une force vive, brute et délicate - naturelle? - se dégage de cet album dont l'écoute laisse haletant. Plus que recommandé.



SEC_ - Moscaio (CD, Bocian Records 2012)

An Italian musician, SEC_ is Mimmo Napolitano, concerned primarily with the possibilities inherent in the old-fashioned Revox tape to tape recorder; a device once seen as the pinnacle of affordable studio mastering technology, but these days more a fetish object for recordists with the patience and deep pockets to keep the ever-decreasing numbers of these machines operational. And parts for these things are running out fast. There’s probably at least one A77 or B77 gathering dust, pushed to the back of a store cupboard in a commercial studio near you, displaced by today’s readily available mastering software algorithms. Which is a shame because even with their relatively spindly quarter-inch tape, these things sound lovely and do lend themselves very well to experimentation given a little time and effort with a razor blade and sellotape. However, Napolitano is no stranger to the digital world either, and declares his arsenal as including “no-input feedback, digital feedback, feeddrum, CRT TV etc”. I take it he is referring to this device, assessed by Wikipedia thus: “The Feed-Drum is an imperial bass drum with a system of electronic conditioning of the skin conceived by composer Michelangelo Lupone”. Quite how he derives sound from a Cathode Ray Tube is not clear, and we’re all familiar with the potential of no-input mixing desk by now, but the result of all this tinkering is an occasionally dense kind of “musique concrète” with a smooth surface of electronic other-worldliness. The fact that he has previous and ongoing projects with artists as diverse as Ken Vandermark, Jerome Noetinger, Valerio Tricoli and Dave Phillips makes listening to Moscaio no less impenetrable an experience.

We begin with ‘Swarm Of Flies’, seven minutes of abstract sonic psycho-drama, unfolding with a somewhat hidden narrative. This is followed by ‘Echolocation’, an electronic chittering, with small arms ordnance going off deep in the underground bowels of gigantic office buildings. ‘Becoming An Insect’ suggests house flies, and electronic flies, swatted by grand piano samples. At only 2 minutes 45 seconds, the fourth track, ‘Small Traces’, is the shortest piece on Moscaio. It is made up of vocal snippets, crackles, manipulated tapes and vinyl, all the time Napolitano keeps the source material obscured. All the elements are re-used and repeated until it attains a hideous climax. Finally, the title track suggests an android call and response routine of synthetic twitters. There are electronic shocks that sound like gunshots. And then, a passage where there are some disturbing looped assemblages of a woman’s gasps juxtaposed with harsh electronic smacks which, despite the metronomic editing, make it sound like we are witnessing some kind of robotic mugging. Or overhearing domestic violence. It came as a surprise to me and I’m not sure why it was used isolated in this way. Unpleasant, unnecessary and kind of spoils the whole record for me.

Overall, I found Moscaio quite a fatiguing experience, listening on the first play. There’s really so much going on, it is quite disorientating. Like if John Wall started working in the genres of Field Recording and Minimalism at the same time. But I’m not sure if that is a good thing. There is most certainly a whiff of the art gallery about it, whether real or in Napolitano’s fevered imagination. There’s no doubt he has successfully created an alien, unnatural soundscape, but I found that it takes a few listens to be able to comfortably inhabit it.

Stefano Perna, who initially included ‘Swarm of Flies’ in his programme “A short guide to becoming-bat” for Kunstradio in 2011, contributes sleevenotes concerned partially with his own interest in the electromagnetic spectrum and partially with Mimmo Napolitano’s possible working methods. He uses the phrase “..a deeply altered technical world…” which I think sums upMoscaio very well. Presented in a three panel foldover card sleeve decorated with monochrome photographs of a piece of redundant industry by Wojtek Mszyca Jr.

Paul Khimasia Morgan




SEC_ - Moscaio (CD, Bocian Records 2012)

La version initiale de ce disque a été composée entre décembre 2010 et septembre 2011 pour le programme radio 'Kunstradio' de l'ORF à Vienne dans une série intitulée 'Un petit guide pour devenir une chauve souris'. Dans son travail à base de magnétophone à bande Revox et d'ordinateur, qu'il sait allier d'une façon surprenante et intelligente, SEC_ joue sur des grandes échelles de dynamiques, des fragments martelées, des voix tortionnées le tout dans une constante vivacité. On ressent cette tentation de devenir animal, de faire renaître celui qui est en nous. Alors oui c'est un travail qui se rapproche de celui de Dave Phillips mais avec ses caractéristiques. On retrouve par ailleurs ce jeune musicien napolitain dans le duo Aspect. Recommandé.



SEC_ - Moscaio (CD, Bocian Records 2012)

Entirely 'now' is the music by Sec_ from Italy. It's the name used b Mimmo Napolitano, who is a member of Aspec(t), Weltraum, Endorgan and Strongly Imploded and active as a solo musician as Sec_. He uses a revox tape recorder, computer, no-input feedback, field recordings, radio, microphones and contact microphones. Here we have five part work of which the first version was commissioned by the series "A Short Guide To Becoming-bat" by ORF Kunstradio. I read the text on the cover, but somehow fail to see the relation between insects and the way they communicate with this music. When I say the music is very much 'now', I mean that these days the computer itself is not enough to create music, even when the possibilities are no doubt endless, but added value can be had from the use of analogue means of sound production. It adds a raw edge to the music, a level of danger perhaps. That's what Sec_ does in his music. The computer, both as an instrument in the process of creating music, and as an end stage to micro edit the recordings, plays a vital role in this. Sec_'s music is not careful, nor easy, but also never really noise, although at times it can become quite loud. Sec_ clever uses the montage techniques found in the analogue terrain and sometimes knows how to sound like the very early Etant Donnes, no doubt thanks to the use of the revox. Improvisation, musique concrete, noise, electro-acoustic and composition: it's all becoming a blurr in this music and that's alright, I should think. An album in which a lot of information is cramped, even when it only lasts just under thirty-seven minutes. Excellent stuff all around here. If you like what this label does, then this release won't disappoint you either. (FdW)



Jerome Noetinger & SEC_ - Testacoda (LP, Bocian Records 2012)

The subtitle to this could have been 'duet for two Revox recorders', as both Jerome Noetinger plays this, along with radio and microphone and SEC_, one half of Aspec(t) that is, who also gets credit for feedback and laptop. At the foundation of this record we have two concerts from last year, April 12th in Italy and in December in France. If you are familiar with the work of both, and how could you have missed Noetinger over the years?, then you pretty much know what to expect here. The more brutal side of improvised music, from an electronic perspective. Musique concrete in action music, or action in musique concrete. The speed manipulations of the reel-to-reel machines are extensively used in feeding sounds to it, and playing back sounds. Harsh and slow, sped up, multi-speed playing. The a-side (I don't know if the two concerts are divided over both sides, or perhaps it’s all a combination of both concert recordings) is the more hectic side of the two, whereas the b-side seems to have lengthier fragments of sustained material, with more careful developments. It ends in a coda of noise like material following these careful procedures. The a-side is more about a constant change; of speed; of color; of input. This side is a rather vivid combination of ancient montage techniques from the world of musique concrete and live improvisation. It's the side I prefer over the other. That one is nice, but seems to be sticking with repeating loops and such like, whereas the constant movement of the other side is a thrill to hear.With Noetinger you can't go wrong, it seems. (FdW)


Jerome Noetinger & SEC_ - Testacoda (LP, Bocian Records 2012)


Jérome Noetinger, magnétophone à bande Revox, microphones, radio. Sec_, magnétophone à bande Revox et ordinateur. Réalisé à partir de deux enregistrements et remonté efficacement par Sec_, ce disque témoigne d'une rencontre magnétique et cannibale où l'énergie et l'action prennent le dessus. Joie du feedback et de la boucle, du cri et de la radio, de l'animal et de l'organique !





Jerome Noetinger & SEC_ - Testacoda (LP, Bocian Records 2012)

Surfing the entire sonic palette, these two titans of the mid-electronic age have the kind of rapport that comes with the best improvised music. Overlapping gestures and inter-twining sonic debris results in the kind of playful extremity that is impossible to ignore. No gear worship here, just the glory of free electronic sound, 21st Century style. A staggering display of reconstructed utopia.
Mark Harwood