Dave Morecroft writes: With Brexit clouds still looming and mass uncertainty hanging over the UK and Europe’s jazz and improvised music scene, it seems more important than ever to strengthen existing ties, continue transmitting work across borders and forging new collaborations. Touring work into Europe and importing European artists into the UK, especially for the experimental end of the music scene will potentially be in serious jeopardy, especially in the still touted (as incredible as this may be) ‘No-Deal’ scenario. That said, after the many years of Match&Fuse and my numerous links across Europe, my work finds me pressing ever-onwards along European pathways.
Fall-Out is a new project of mine featuring Marco di Gasbarro (drums) and Simone Memé (video/visuals), both from Rome, seeking to explore a unique and genuine dialogue between improvised music and video in an immersive, live context. I caught up with both of my counterparts to discuss all things Fall-Out, Brexit, the UK and improvisation:
Dave Morecroft: Give me a quick introduction, guys.
Marco di Gasbarro: Hi, I’m Marco Di Gasbarro, I’ve been playing drums and percussion since I was a teenager, producing music and touring Italy and other countries in Europe, US and Asia with my bands; Squartet, Ay! and others.
Simone Memé: Hi, I’m Simone Memé, visual artist, video editor and motion graphics designer for over 15 years. My research is oriented to the creation and experimentation of visual environments, especially dedicated to performative projects of music and theatre.
DM: How would you describe Fall-Out as a concept?
MG: The idea is of something that happens after an important event, that can be viewed in different ways from different perspectives; take Hiroshima as an example, often described using the words ‘fall-out’ in English – the ‘fall-out’ included the mass loss of life from a Japanese perspective, but also the ending of Japanese concentration camps in China, the end of the Second World War from a Western perspective, but of course then the huge sense of guilt and responsibility from the American side in the years that followed. From each perspective, this event was lived in many ways, with the ‘fall-out’ resonating differently according to each subject involved.
SM: In my opinion, the collapse that occurs in the ‘fall-out’ of an event, be it a war or a catastrophic event, often comes with negative connotations. In reality, from the rubble comes growth, transformation, and an analysis of what was there before; therefore, often results in positivity, it renders us conscious of what is within the collapsed material, and its meaning.
For example, another ‘fall-out’, the ending of a passionate relationship, with tears, depression, anger, often lasting years; two people meet each other, love each other, and when this ends, it can in fact take a long time for those people to return to serenity again. In these moments, one truly analyses what happened.
I think musically and visually, we as a trio are starting from just before the ‘fall-out’, moving into the moment of suspension in which one must remain, one has to be present, not moving forward, analysing, thinking and reflecting. We can also learn to enjoy this space, this pause in time, outside of reality.
DM: Talk a little about your artistic role in the group.
SM: After many years of working with visuals accompanying music, starting even from drum ‘n’ bass nights, I was working with a group of people giving clear meaning and connection between image and music, but this project represents the image instead as a clear part of the improvisation. It asks for a ‘visual listening/concentration’ from the audience, an experience to be had with eyes fully open, which I enjoy a lot.
MG: For me, it’s the first time that I work with live video. I worked in the past creating live soundtracks for existing silent films, which in some ways restricts the musician to follow what there is already, producing mixed results – sometimes you feel a little behind the image as an improviser, as you receive input, but what you produce sonically is not re-elaborated in the image. Instead, in this group, I feel much more inside an organism that responds to external stimulation; the video responds to music and vice-versa. It’s the first time I work with video that is also improvised, which is very rewarding.
DM: How you both feel about coming to the UK for this tour? You both had previous experiences working in the cultural scene there no?
SM: It’s my first ever music-tour of this nature, so very excited first and foremost. My previous experiences were a London-based exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute and an interactive installation in Doncaster. In the former, we focussed solely on the exhibition and therefore I had very little time to interact with anything outside of that, and after a week we went away, which was a shame. In the latter instead, we had the opportunity to partake in workshops with children which generated the material for the installation, therefore through communicating with English children and working with them left me with many ideas. I really came home with a different experience, seeing how English children might react to artistic work compared to Italian children.
For this tour, I’m very curious to see how the UK audiences respond to Fall-Out and am particularly interested to see how reactions differ from metropolitan to rural areas.
MG: I toured the UK with my trio Ay! alongside Hot Head Show, in London as well as Nottingham, Bristol and the Unorthodox Paradox festival. Having seen the UK scene from the point of view of a musician, I was happy to experience different parts of the country and how it, and the people, change depending on the region. From this tour, I’m expecting something artistically and culturally stimulating, like the UK itself, and social contexts very similar to what we have in Italy. I think we’ll meet both people who hope for and believe in union, interactions with European people, and also people who perhaps have fear for or about the future.
DM: Which brings us nicely onto Brexit, what are your thoughts from an Italian perspective?
MG: It seems the population is very split, as I was saying, and in Italy we have a very similar situation. Politically, it seems that what is happening in the UK in a way is happening in the whole of Europe, maybe it’s the ‘fall-out’ of what has happened in recent years, a consequence of the ‘third industrial revolution’, of internet, social media, etc. We find ourselves, perhaps across the world, with divisions in society more evident than before. For good or bad, this is the future we have in front of us, what our generation must live through and/or change. Maybe our role as artists, instead of augmenting these divides is to ask why this has happened and give time to reflect on the causes. Brexit is just another way to discriminate against all people on both sides, that doesn’t necessarily reflect the state of things.
SM: This is what we must work on, instead of looking immediately for the easy answer, that is true. I’m worried about potentially having to get a visa in the future though!
Fall-Out play six dates across the UK alongside German trumpeter John-Dennis Renken, who will feature next week in an exclusive interview on LondonJazzNews.
27 April – Take Over Festival, Colston Hall, Bristol, BS1 5AR – 3pm
30 April – Number 39, Darwen, BB3 2AA – 8pm
2 May – Tin Arts Centre, Coventry, CV1 4LY – 8pm
3 May – The Regal Theatre Bar, Minehead, TA24 5AY – 8pm
4 May – The Curator, Totnes, TQ9 5DR – 8pm
5 May – The Vortex Jazz Club, London, N16 8AZ – doors 7.30pm