||A diary, not a press sheet
"Tales from an Underground River" is a record that has transformed many times before it was ready to be released in Fall 2022. Here is its diary.
2019 (Winter) Enrico Coniglio gave birth to it, musically speaking, in 2019 when he recorded two long and multi-layered sets of improvisation with piano, guitar and synths.
This material was, as is true with any other OttS record, sent to Matteo Uggeri. He added and removed sounds, arranged tracks with a few beats and a wide variety of instruments (violin, drums, trumpet, cello…) played by his long time collaborators.
2020 (Winter) The tracks were then dismantled into shorter bits and re-assembled, while a concept started to take form from amongst the sounds. The floating and fluid but mysterious nature of the tracks conceived in 2020 the "underground river" idea, which afterwards became a true driving force for the further steps of the record.
2021 (Spring) The titles were then created in 2021 by Matteo's daughter, Olivia (7 years old at the time), in a brainstorming session with her sister Nora (4 years old) and their mother, Gaia, in an attempt of creating a sort of 'full poem' made of the titles of the 12 songs, which coalesced into the “tales” told by the waters.
2022 (Summer) The thirteenth one (the closing track) was created in 2022, a long time after the rest of the tracks, when Saverio Rosi, a Netherlands-based Italian musician, officially joined the OttS band, now making it a trio.
Such songs include the vocals of Roberta Casini, mother of Uggeri, singing a lullaby. Indeed, the whole record hides, in its field recordings, the voices of her nephews (the two above mentioned little girls). The artwork is a painting made in (circa) 1985 by - again - Roberta. Her name might not be well known, but she was an inbetweener animator of cartoons in the '70s and '80s, including "La Linea" ("The Line") by Osvaldo Cavandoli and "Tofffsy" by Pierluigi de Mas.
2022 (Fall) After more than 20 years of illness, and a few days before the publication of this record, Roberta died, leaving that kind of emptiness that makes no sense to celebrate with a mere musical release. Nevertheless, the band and the labels are somehow happy to exploit part of her artistic legacy making “Tales from an Underground River” finally public.
Yes, this description may sound weird, convoluted and depressive, but that's the story of this record, whose musical nature develops into a continuous stream of sound, from ambient to progressive, to post rock, embracing jazz and an overall new-wave melancholic attitude.
Involuntary, the main references that the band itself quotes are the 4AD records of the eighties (This Mortal Coil in particular) and the quietest ECM releases.
OPEN TO THE SEA are ENRICO CONIGLIO and MATTEO UGGERI.