A lively and essential part of a living mosaic of misaligned music on Italian soil, which in its multiplicity has discreetly marked an entire exploratory panorama of this century, ranging from free improvisation, to electronica to minimalism or bastard rock forms through dissident names like Jookloo, Valerio Tricoli, Andrea Belfi or Massimo Pupilo, Stefano Pilia has also had a loyal relationship with this country, between more or less regular visits and collaborations with people like David Maranha or the migrated Ricardo Dillon Wanke. Drawing a gifted trajectory over these two decades, full of encounters, records and an indefatigable urge for discovery, Pilia returns to Portugal following what is his most ambitious work to date.
Released early this year by the Italian Die Schachtel – also central to the action of that microcosm described above – ‘Spiralis Aurea‘ takes its title inspiration from the Golden Spiral, a mathematical formula and geometric shape that has for millennia carried with it a cache of mystical meanings and creative solutions, and has Pilia humbly and bravely assuming his role as composer. Bringing together an ensemble of musicians among varied instrumentation – strings, woodwinds, guitars, piano, synthesizers or organ – in various configurations, the twelve themes of ‘Spiralis Aurea’ resonate in the same orbit of visionaries such as Arvo Pärt, La Monte Young, Pauline Oliveros, or Terry Riley with a sensitivity all of their own, where chamber music, drone, and electro-acoustics meet in an emotional and sensorial space where time is suspended and memory is reflected as a projection of the future.
Given the human undertaking undertaken for ‘Spiralis Aurea‘, impossible to accommodate for life on the road, Pilia brings the album to the stage in a luxurious trio format, where he himself is accompanied by Adrian Utley, member of the legendary Portishead, whose influence and weight are so enormous that no words about his work are necessary, and Alessandra Novaga, Milanese guitarist with a considerable body of work – including a beautiful album together with Pilia – and collaborations with Loren Connors or Elliot Sharp. At a time when more and more artists are taking their place as fully-fledged composers outside the canonical regimes of academia, Pilia appears here as one of its valued creators. BS