Review and interview by Jamila Campagna
Arpeggios, strings, percussions push their way through the refined sounds of I Maestri del Colore, sixth album of Corde Oblique, the eclectic band led by the Master Riccardo Prencipe, released on the 2nd of May for the etiquette Infinite Fog – Audioglobe.
An album looking for the synesthesia, starting from the title till inside every track: the first one, Suono su tela, is an instrumental track vibrant and rhythmic that evokes the possibility to bring music into the universe of image and it’s also the first single released, with a video set in the mysterious and stunning Villa Bruno at San Giorgio a Cremano (Naples). From here we get inside a track-list built on many levels, in a sequence of instrumental tracks and songs enriched by voices, with persistent rhythms, all of them based on the color input. I Sassi di Matera leans singing on the music to tell a place suggestion and its culture, so as Amara Terra Mia, a cappella cover of Domenico Modugno’s famous song, and the instrumental Papavero e Memoria bring back musically the cultural roots and the sense of belonging, putting together folks music with the personal and intimate breath of life experiences. From the strings of Urlo Rosso to the wind instruments of Giallo Dolmen we find ourselves submerged in a colour palette that reveal, by listening, the outcome of a wide research not just musical but also more extensively historical-artistic. In this research A Fondo Oro – Spanish medieval song of the XII centur – emerges and it’s the occasion to use string instruments like the lute – made by the lute maker Vincenzo Cipriani from Assisi and played by Riccardo Prencipe – and the oud – here played by Peppe Frana of the Micrologus -; the song Il Cretto Nero stands out for its complex text, a fairy tale that homages the South of Italy with a deep and wistful tone.
We talked about the project Corde Oblique and about the album I Maestri del Colore with the maestro Riccardo Prencipe, who shares with us an interdisciplinary and open gaze.
Here is the interview!
1 – Corde Oblique is not just a band but it’s a real artistic project directed by you. How did the collaborations start with the musicians who played in your several albums and, in particular, with those of the last album I Maestri del Colore?
Corde Oblique was born in 2005 as a solo project. I was convinced to want space and freedom to invite in my records musicians and singers from the most different music realities. I’ve always had strange music taste, from death metal to contemporary music, from medieval music to renaissance, maybe my collaborations reflect what I would define a free and enjoyed incoherence. I’ve always tried to invite musicians whose projects I musically esteem more. Now Corde Oblique is basically a band directed by me, there’s a good feeling and harmony with the musicians who collaborate to this project with a lot of patience, particular thanks go to: Alessio Sica, Edo Notarloberti, Annalisa Madonna and Umberto Lepore.
2 – The last album title – I Maestri del Colore – and the cover – a landscape picture by the master Franco Fontana – recall a series of art books published by Fabbri in the ’60. Which is the role of the historical-artistic heritage and visual arts in the creation of Corde Oblique’s works?
During the years at university I used to spend whole days flipping through I Maestri del Colore, buing those books everywhere and using them as instrument to understand the artists’ style. It’s not needed to memorize hundreds of images, concepts or documents, but abstract from the image itself to learn to recognize the painter language; it’s in that moment that one’s doing Art History, or rather History of Style. I’ll be always grateful to my masters Stefano Causa e Ferdinando Bologna for parting me the essential importance of these part works. As I wanted to give big prominence to the tonal, rhythmic and chromatic importance of music, this seemed to me the best tribute-title.
3 – Recently you took part in the event Comicon Live in the ambit of Comicon, the big comics fair of Naples. Will you tell us about this experience that combines music and comics art?
I’ve always been very sincere: although I appreciate the effort made by the Comicon organizers to create a graft between live music and comics, I must admit that the Comicon audience has been mainly deaf to music. Not just with us, but with all the band that performed, honestly it seemed we were playing for nothing, to throw a ball against a wall and it won’t bounce. That’s not because the Comicon audience is guilty, but simply because we’re living in a historical period where lovers of a creative sector don’t often care about other sectors (except some cases). It would happen the same if they would insert Theatre to the Sziget Festival (just for example). Let’s hope people will learn to open their senses to the new: in the century of the hyper sectorial specialization, a good bunch of sensorial versatility is missing. While the experience with the master Milo Manara in 2015 edition was beautiful, I’ve appreciated to get to know a man with a huge competence, humility and sensitivity.
4 – Your music is a progressive folk that brings in it a strong Italian matrix, but your production finds space also in the international field, for instance last December you made an important tour in China. What differences do you notice between the Italian audience and that abroad?
I don’t think there’s a difference between the Italian audience and that abroad. There’s only a suitable audience and an unsuitable one. Unfortunately and luckily all over the world there are suitable and unsuitable audiences. We found in China fabulous situations, in front of hundreds of people who knew and appreciated our music and, situations less suitable to our music (luckily just a few). I have in my heart the German audience. I think their music sensitivity is incomparable, not just about us, I noticed it also at other musicians concerts in Germany. Also in Italy we have often performed in front of wonderful audiences who paid attention. The relationship between audience and musician is like love relationship, it takes two to make love in a good way.
5 – To conclude, will you tell us which are for you the focal points of the album I Maestri del Colore?
A strong creative irreverence; one doesn’t get bored (I hope) simply because the songs go through very different styles; the sound is very good; the musicians have made the most. It’s not only about a record to listen to: one needs to get deep inside it. I do hope that in this time of confusion, stress and little time for everything (but so much time for facebook) people will -have the patience and feel like to get in it.