on sandro mussida’s ventuno costellazioni invisibil, via metrica

Sandro Mussida – Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibil (2017)

Note: This is an expanded and amended version of a text, originally published by SoundOhm.

When glancing over Sandro Mussida’s activities over the last five or so years, it’s hard to avoid wondering why the Italian born, London based, composer, cellist, and electronic musician, is not more well known. Producing stunningly beautiful work, over that period he has performed and written extensively within orchestra, chamber, and solo instrumental contexts, as well collaborating with figures like Oren Ambarchi, Mark Fell, and Alessandra Novaga – his composition In Memoria,  notably gracing the first side of Novaga’s brilliant Movimenti Lunari, released by Blume Editions last year. Mussida’s relative obscurity is a testament to the power of recorded media, as well as the character of our relationship to it when recognizing artistry. Up to this point, he hasn’t release an album entirely under his own name. In the face of the brilliance contained within his debut solo LP –  Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibil, issued by the fledgling imprint Metrica, it seems that the shadows which have shielded him, are likely to fade.

Mussida’s practice is a form of sonic conceptualism, centering around the consequences of compositional choices on musical matter, and questions surrounding the identity of musical languages and traditions – the underpinning ideas of Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibil, a composition for violin, flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano, percussion, and computers. The album was realized by an ensemble made up of Enrico Gabrielli, Yoko Morimyo, Susanne Satz, Alessandra Novaga, Giulio Patara, Sebastiano De Gennaro , Giovanni Isgrò and Mussida, during the Spring of 2015. Fascinatingly, to emphasize the importance of the work’s ideas over the final result, it is presented in two distinct realizations on each side of the LP.

Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibi is a work defined by meditative depth and space, built from a focus on transfiguration of perceptual time – pitches played at different speeds, musical cells generated by the rotation of triangular figures distributed in time and space. The result is a sonic landscape of startling intricacy and beauty – one marked by openness, experimentation, and elegant restraint – a long standing hallmarks of avant-garde gestures from Italy. Vibrant and full of life, it blows the dust from Minimalist Classical Music, diving toward an optimistic possibility of what it may become, while reminding the ear of the remarkable and forward thinking from which these forms initially grew. It’s rippling sonorities, the inheritors of the ground once sketched by Battiato and Pio, take radical steps into the unknown.

A brilliant debut by an incredible artist who is likely to make waves across the years to come. One of the most elegant and beautiful albums I’ve heard all year, made all that much more thrilling by the diversity and possibility, presented by the differences between its two sides. Limited to a numbered numbered edition of 300, with artwork by Mark Fell, it also includes a digital binaural download which slowly rotates through the piece, two visual works, and an original print of the score. Check it out below, and pick it up from SoundOhm or a record store near you. I can’t imagine this one will sit around for long.

-Bradford Bailey


Sandro Mussida – Ventuno Costellazioni Invisibil (2017)











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