:Ritual: #1, 01-02/2000

Kirlian Camera - The Great Cold

Few times the title "cult-band" has been used so properly as the case of this Parmish formation. And just true cult-air, especially from German goths, we breathed in the last edition of the Wave-Gotik Treffen of Lipsia just before our KC went on the antler. Luckly there is somebody that begins to note their quality here in Italy too. For whose doesn't know them we could say that KC's music is not easy to describe, being based especially on a complex sonic-emotional plant that changes from track to track. Simplifying we are talking of quite minimal electronic, fundamentally disquieting and dark, but beaming in some passages of a chilly and dazzling brightness, owned only by polar scenarios.And just to a desolate polar "landscape" was entrusted the task to underline the felt protest of KC, expressed under the track rom form put at the beginning of their last Mcd "The Burning Sea" (taken from the new "Unidentified Light", reviewed on this number), against all that fringe of people, obstinated to comment, accuse and really defame the band basing simply suppositions thought from everything but the music, fundamental component of Kirlian Camera identity. Let to subjective sensibility the choice to throwing or not in the diatribe and to reading the communicate that courageously Angelo Bergamini wanted release at the opening of his last Mcd, and focus on about this emotional and emotionally band...

Before everything we are interested to underline the "advanced" degree of sound research that KC is taking forward from some year to now. The arrangements are become lean, essencial, reaching a depth and an originality difficultly findable in the Italian bands. Do you think, as an entire modern architect school thinks, that "the less is more" (I mean that there's the need of a great experience to put off hand by hand project elements remaining at the end with few but very precise guide-lines, that at the end they are true gems synthesised from all that you wanted to say at the beginning)?

Yes, sometimes it's better, at least for me, trying to avoid the overcrowding of sounds inside a track, or better, perhaps even to use different ones, but alternating them and not always and only putting upon. In the last KC works and especially on "... Light", we tried however to unite a certain arrangement complexity to a "fruition" that takes off nothing of the passionate aspect. I believe it's major clearness and a clean refusal against the usual selfish attitude about elaboration and analysis of the sound, that in underground scene and not only it's a frequent thing. An unforgivable attitude in a band not at the beginning, however. The easiness with whose one searches the audience that buy records is unacceptable and it seems like a bad joke. We tried to demonstrate the contrary, then it's clear, many persons will not like the work, but nobody can say that we didn't care it. Often, the most difficult thing to compose and arrange it's trying to not lose the nuances and, at the same time, avoid to fill the sound with dozen effects, so, it's difficult search a personal way that can fund feeling, various architectures and complexity, trying to not result not understable and not unpleasant toward who hears us. We try, then who listens to us will decide.

Talking about music it seems that a particular attention to percussive and equalizative stamps was dedicated to, giving great importance toward vocal lines too.
We temporary avoided the use of "big keyboards" sometimes with too much effect, to mostly cure the ambience of vocal and percussive sound, letting space to a cold "presence". When we go toward this direction, in those tracks that need it, there is a quite difficult decision to take, because adding only a vague filter needs really a lot of time, for the bareness imposed to sound. The game on the frequencies is always more decisive in this moment for us. Sure it's better avoid being maniac, even because many "impulse" things are nice for their nature, if effectual.

Would you talk to us about principal differences between the new "Unidentified Light" and the previous mini, "The Desert Inside" and "Drifting"?
"The Desert Inside" signed the passage from "intermediate" KC, those ones of end '80s/first half '90s, to a further growth of interests, even if already with "Solaris", recorded from '92 to '95, you could already see electronic orientations not in full syntony with the past of the group, in that case based on the recover of certain wanted "B-series" sonorities. In "Desert..." begins to (re)born the interest for a quest that often goes to realizate into the song-form, but maybe it's just with "Drifting" that everything is focused on and lose its ingenuity. We wanted to build an electronically cold music, glacial, but not a copycat of Kraftwerk, thing that too much often occours. They are very fine, their clone sometimes are appreciable, but it has to be some other solution! The solution came from the life of shit I live... I cannot create an "electronically chilly" work and untouchable, I just need to throw in my anguish... So, the coldness was united to passion, creating the amalgam that I wanted from time but I didn't still understand how to realize, maybe because I was still too much tied too much to epic explicit of "large" pads and strings, that I truly love till now, but that they often conclude the things quite hastily and don't help to understand the more complex structures, but at the same time they are more able to represent the feelings. With "Unidentified Light" we are tried to evolve complex rhythmicals toward their relative understanding, uniting mostly with even openly melodic vocal parts, avoid the reef of "spoken" or "screamed". Pratically we wanted to create a sort of personal pop-music, quite chilly and dependent from not sampled electronic, given space to sometimes "difficult" rhytmical structures, that however could offer a good support to voices. This album needed a quite long working but I cannot accept any simple attitude. It must sounds like I wanted, I cannot risk to be too much misunderstood. The same lyrics, they are in this direction... They are "true", and they lost the emphasis often present in past.

The electronic instruments become wonderful interpreters of researched musical textures in the hands of KC, but talk about your "weak points": synths that you must have, the sonorous sources that you mostly love to sample, your passion for the use of Vocoder, that in "Your Face In The Grey Sun" reachs summits of unreleased expressiveness...
I always take care of the releases of new electronic instrument and I try to be informed, trying to deepen the usage, when it's possible. Therefore I had a notable exchange of various apparatuses along the years. I never got to rid of my midi Roland Juno-60, that it's present on the last work too... This instrument survived to the half of '80s, when the tremendous DX-7 played the master with their horrible sounds... I always used it, even in those moments of "death of analogue". Then I'm very attached to EMS Synthi A/AKS, that I'm quite using recently, and, about vocoding, I like the old Korg DVP-1, quite good for polyphonic parts; I use too a Boss VT-1, especially on gig, avoiding the presets. I'm still looking for the perfect vocoder for my needs... Maybe that one on the Quasimidi Sirius, at least for live, it could be good.

Your career like musician incredibly begins in 1974: which was the atmosphere of that period in Italy?
Yes, I played my first concert in '74 and I started to record in the end of '60s, when I was child, on a broken tape recorder that I used like a sort of Theremin too... There was much excitement in the air for what was "alternative sounds" and the so-called "avantgarde", that labels like Bla-Bla and Cramps fairly fed. A not-cultured electronic scene existed, but it toiled to impose, apart this the synths were still very expensive and little versatile, therefore you needed more than one if you wanted to build part of the real sounds you searched for. Who was without money had to go to broken balls to anyone built various electronic caissons, which often were true ungovernable shits. If you don't like to play guitar or traditional instruments and don't like to play covers of Cream, it was a problem, especially for who, I repeat, couldn't spend not even a thousand liras for cinema... Sure, Cream was fine in their genre, but... they already exist! About at the beginnings of '80s, with the electronic new wave explosion and the development of musical electronic, some helps arrived. I remember when I bought the Korg KR-55 and then the TR-808 Roland... the nightmare of electronic organ drums and those unarrivable unreachable with punched card was finished...

How did you live the passage from '80s to '90s? What do you foresee about the sound of KC after the fatidic date of 2000?
I have to admit that the beginning of '90s feared me... the momentary death of acid house and the rap/hip hop tempest worried me. Even the creative stop of new wave in the second half of '80s was a bad announce of impotence of the "dark sound" about a progressive growth. In our scene the situazion was grotesque: in Germany and Benelux human copycats of Sisters of Mercy or Front 242 continued to born! If you looked for new solutions you were considered "post-industrial"... but I don't care that shit scene, because I hate the snobs... And then to play a shit and combine it with two trashcans to condite everything with high citations makes me sick! I never cared the '90s industrial scene, everything was already old, a sort of not-cultured spectacleness... but why did all make cultured? It sucked... I followed my way, helped by Emilia Lo Jacono and Simone Balestrazzi, nothing more...

When in your life did you feel with precision to wish invest everything into music?
Well, it's a quite had choice, just because I came from a worker family. But already my father was a "strange" people, luckly, a juror guard that listen to Kraftwerk, Morricone and mountains of records it's already a strange thing, therefore he always helped me, when he could. For a while, in the '80s, I tried to play electronic disco and some things sold quite good, but nobody paid me a cent more of what I really sold. I wanted play music in every case, I cannot adapt to other and then... I wanted to play "my" music. I tried to fund the KC sound with pop requirement signing with a major label and playing fool on television... and I was not sorry, because I never feared pop-music, because I had my convinctions even about that genre and I liked build music in that sense, respecting the market and personal requirements, but the usual snobs and various sons-of-dad still again don't understand, for them you were only a traitor, a sold-one. Probably I was only hungry and will to play, but, in fact, nobody gave the due money, and I strongly felt the need to backing working on not much "lined" sonority too, so in '91 we self-produced "Todesengel" without hopes, and instead that record sold very good and definitly helped us to work a little more, alive too, and to survive. Complexitly... the real life of shit.

To conclude: which suggestion you feel to give to a young italian band to break this "Ice Curtain" that oppresses our scene?
The only suggestion is to reach in time a personal style, even if not appreciable by anyone, but unique... and to have very strength, because if there is not possibility to live on and you don't want to throw at the same time, then you need to do a really difficult choice, even because you should never forget to make attention about anything musically around, to avoid copying and contemporary having goads. You need to study a lot, make pratice and forget everything you learnt in a second time. It's not easy... I'm dangerously becoming mad... I don't know the others...

  • Riccardo Chiaretti

  • English translation: Adalberto Orrigo