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Neil Leonard | For Kounellis

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Electronic: Ambient World: World Fusion Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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For Kounellis

by Neil Leonard

Meditative, evocative electronic music created for a performance on Mount Vesuvius, Naples featuring samples from Jannis Kounellis' sculpture, local voices and soprano saxophone.
Genre: Electronic: Ambient
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1. For Kounellis
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Album Notes
The music on this recording was initiated when Grazia and Gianni Bolongaro, owners of La Marrana di Montemarcello asked me to record the sounds of Jannis Kounellis’ installation and make a piece in response. Kounellis’ untitled installation comprises 23 large church bells that appear to spiral out from a cylindrical chamber rooted in the Earth’s core. I was struck by the intensity of this chorus of silent tongues, facing the sky and projecting a colossal resonance that is felt but is not heard. Once convinced that structure could endure my pounding, I began to play and record source material.

Later the same month, I created sound for Gabriella Riccio’s dance performance “Echoes, Resonance & Memory” premiered in Naples. This work combined the Kounellis bells with my recordings of local heavy metal diva Alessia de Capua. The piece was premiered on Mount Vesuvius, a now silent tongue that was reportedly heard as far away as Rome when it erupted. Like Kounellis’ inverted bells on the hillside of La Marrana, Vesuvius’ mouth is a sonic hallmark of local history. Both face the sky, and suggest a tremendous capacity to transform the environment and civilization. The Mount Vesuvius performance began with a sounding of Kounellis’ bells followed by saxophone and live electronics.
I first used the Kounellis recordings in May, 2008 for Rondò da Passeggio (Rondeau to Go), a 400-meter, 60-speaker collective sound installation, under the porticos in the heart of the medieval city Padua. My site, titled “uscir ad ascoltar le stelle... (to go out and hear the stars)” was a play on the last line of Dante’s Inferno (34.139), in collaboration with Maura Capuzzo. Our piece, a 3 speaker audio triptych, was located at the door of Santa Maria dei Servi Church and consisted of 10 hours of non-repeating sound. Kounellis’ bells combined with recordings of calls to worship from around the globe formed a tapestry of sound that established the sonic language explored in For Kounellis.

For Kounellis is the culmination of my work with Kounellis’ sculpture. The music was performed at Music Acoustica in Beijing, China; Nuits Sonores Festival in Lyon, France; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba before this studio realization. The work is dedicated to Grazia and Gianni Bolongaro whose generosity, imagination and friendship inspired many artists.

Neil Leonard - soprano saxophone, sound design and composition
Alessia de Capua - voice
Produced by Neil Leonard

Mixed 2011 by Neil Leonard and John Hull
Mastered by Jonathan Wyner
Graphic design by Chantal Zakari



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