Music For No Movies is Federico Fantuz's electro-acoustic / ambient tunes. With his guitar strings and ambient pads he creates a warm cinematic atmosphere. Violent Zen is his 11 piece debut. As the Italian journalist Aurelio Pasini (Il Mucchio Slevaggio, Radio Città del Capo) points out “Not only does Music For No Movies turn the very idea of sountrack inside-out - it also succeeds in creating experimental yet intriguing and deeply fascinating soundscapes. Very well done indeed.”
Here is what he says about his music:“My name is Federico Fantuz (Bologna - Italy) and I am a guitar player, or better a musician. Or at least this is what I aim to be. I started playing guitar when I was 12, and carried out scattered studies under the influence of a wide range of music styles. I started on my own and only later on I took a few lessons both for electric and acoustic and classic guitar.
But the most precious sources for my musical growth and development have been the encounters with my fellow musicians. I've always shared my knowledge with them, but most of all I've learnt and tried to learn those vital elements that are never taught in schools: the importance of jamming, of confronting with different instruments, the search of a personal sound that goes beyond the techniques, finding the personal space within an arrangement, listening ceaselessly to the “music continuum” and one’s own personal “voice” within the “chorus”, and last but not least learning from all the mistakes, and in fact use them to create new modes and worlds. For all this and more I thank:
Beatrice Antolini and her band (among which Luca Nicolasi, who helped me thoroughly in my soloist project), Vittorio Carniglia and Nave Cargo Parampampoli, Nicola Barilli and CuldeSac, Sergio Altamura, Antonio Stragapede, Luca Bernard, Tim-Trevor Briscoe, E.L. Quartet, Edgar Cafè, Shiva Bakta, Marcello Petruzzi (33ore), Simone e Luca Cavina, Tubax, Pino Basile and Sergio LaViola, La Fionda Teatro and Jorge Bosso, Loungedelic and Pippo de Palma, Mattia Boschi, Alberto Fiori, Carolina Pintos and Paolo Poggio, Tristan Honsinger, Niccolò D'Ambrosio and Laura Caressa, Mariposa and all the musicians that I have met, even for a short span of time, on my way.
My music path does not have stages, but just passages; it has never followed one single direction, but on the contrary it has met different genres without concentrating on a particular one.I've always tried to mix and match everything that my intuition and experience suggested me on the spot without following any rules .
And after wandering through never ending and spontaneous jam sessions and bands with different music backgrounds, finally I've got here, in this room, from where I am writing now. And right here I composed Music for No Movies. Alone, but with many voices inside.
Rolling Stone Magazine / Paolo Agnoletto
Music for No Movies is a new project by Federico Fantuz, a very talented guitarist that has put together a group of beautiful instrumental songs in search of the right motherhood movie: the aim of the author is in fact to find for each theme a film in which it can fit and hopefully be used. This interesting collection of tunes, inspired by artists such as Brian Eno (in particular “Original Soundtracks 1”, written with U2 under the name Passengers) and Vangelis, international masters when it comes to writing soundtracks and atmospheric songs, is enhanced with a personal and gentle touch that makes this album a genuine and fascinating listen.
"Waterquake" is an exhilarating and haunting track suitable for a great dramatic picture whereas the opener "Air Games" operates in the area of a crepuscular and gently melancholy. Other outstanding songs are the irresistible "Earth Job", adorned with unconventional sounds like chair creaks and coins falls, perfect for a mystery picture, "Wind Wash", particularly fitting for a positive final sequence in a sad drama that ends full of hope, and "Fire and Sky", that only asks to be used in an historical movie, maybe in the Spain of the eighteenth century. The intriguing and obsessive "Arvo Moon" is instead suitable for a sequence in which is described the passage of time: in general the instruments' assemblage is excellent and the arrangement very smooth in order to create a music in which you can pleasantly lose yourself.
Some songs like "The Dog and The Downpour" partly remind of Dire Straits' "Private Investigations", others like the meditative "Glace et Soleil" seem coming from the early Sting material while "Gold Snow" and “Space Trees” are atmospheric and contemplative tunes that surely can be appreciated by Air's lovers: all these ecstatic tracks are really soft and relaxing and make the listener think about emotional feelings and images in movement.
The only composition that differs a lot from the others is the funny "Stupid American Elephant Drunk Joy Joke", inspired by the presidency of George W. Bush, an instrumental that is likely to fit well in a comic movie that still doesn't exist, perhaps an open mockery of the American military unit force.
To summarize, "Music For No Movies" is an interesting and intriguing piece of work that deserves to be listened to and appreciated: this soft music requires an attentive and aware audience that has to be keen on being cradled by these evocative and imaginative tunes and, hopefully, a film, a sequence, an history in which it can function as soundtrack.
The Silent Ballet / Matt Gilley
An atmospheric, creeping pizzicato. Shadowy eastern melodies. A thin mist of electronics rises from the damp ground, curling around the trees. A snap betrays movement close by. A dog stands and sniffs curiously through the rain. The protagonist warms his hands by the fire. An ominous rumbling shivers through the ground. This is a slow-moving ‘no movie’, unfurling through subtle changes of tone and the hints of track titles. If not for some strange contradictions, Violent Zen's cinematic talewould have been completely exquisite. While most of the titles evoke nature, "Space Trees" suggests sci-fi, and contains an intrusive vocoder. "Stupid American Elephant Drunk Joy Joke" is as comedic as its name. Although these two tracks amount to only a few minutes of running time, they disrupt the narrative. There is also very little evidence of the violent part of Violent Zen. Nevertheless the album is descriptive and accomplished. Next time around Music for No Movies may well become the sound-painters they aspire to be.
Indie Eye / Michele Faggi
Violent Zen is the first full length with the name Music For no Movies, a project by Federico Fantuz, a Bolognese guitarist known for his long artistic co-operation with Beatrice Antolini and a large number of other musicians such as Vittorio Carniglia and Nave Cargo Parampampoli, Nicola Barilli and CuldeSac, Sergio Altamura, E.L. Quartet, Shiva Bakta, Loungedelic and Pippo De Palma, Mariposa, Edgar Cafè, just to name a few. The cd includes 11 instrumental tracks generated, in a way, from a certain landscape intuition that Federico describes with an image of the absence. “Music for dead moments, dead tempos”, acoustic illusions in search of an optical effect. A path that has a lot of the traits of the acousmatic search, at least in that double movement capable to immediately generate sounds disconnected from a phenomenological environment and in fact, both from an inductive and deductive process, able to produce imaginary spaces, mirages, real Doppelgänger. This process is very close to the idea of immaginary soundtracks that we have been loving for a while and that for several reasons encounters part of Bruno Dorella’s music. The structure of Earth Job, the introductory track, brings together all these elements with a time rhythm that seems to be taken from Danny Elfman’s imaginary chronometry, plunged in an amplified phenomenal context.
Recorded with Luca Nicolasi, Beatrice Antolini’s bass player, this track distorts the acoustic perception of daily object, in a plot that lies halfway between mechanical and imaginative, inorganic and spiritual. In several tracks Fantuz uses the technique of reverse recording as a simulacrum that follows from very near the material concreteness of his acoustic guitar, a reflected image that not only maintains a bare and minimalist trait, but also splits in two the sound, in order to represent the changes of the inner landscape. It is the very sheer and vital juxtaposition between surface and emptiness that confers creative energy to all the tracks included in Violent Zen, starting from the amazing Space trees, imbalanced between aerial openings and a grotesque and monstrous electronic, somehow close to Jay Chattaway’s experience for William Lustig’s cinema (Maniac, Vigilante) in drawing the wrecks of a dehumanized urban landscape. It is not a case that on some online interviews, Fantuz refers to Blade Runner (Vangelis) and After Hours (Howard Shore) as possible and indirect influences on his music, opposite points of an aesthetic that gets the best from the mimetic “triviality” of electronic music for popular cinema as if it were an acoustic image of the world and that at the same time goes beyond the sensible experience thanks to an idea of orchestration – to quote a famous Pierre Schaffer’s intuition - that rewards the listening with a “complete” perceptive ability, a sense that under different circumstances would count on familiar sensible experiences. In order to understand the use of these principles in a narrative plot, you only need to think of Shore’s work in annihilating the range and timbre function of the traditional orchestra. It is also for this reason that we believe Federico’s definition of his own music is simply true, an experience orphan of images.
Tracks such as Waterquake developed with all the senses in apnea in a fusion between analogical and electronic; Arvo moon, moon desertification very close to the more famous Tindersticks, those for Claire Denis’s cinema (in particular Vendredì soir); the astral country of Wind Wash or the grotesque pace of Stupid American elephant drunk joy joke, another episode of “monstrous” perceptive distortion. All of them seem to go towards sense annihilation. Together with the music of another big illusions weaver, Alessandro Stefana (reviewed here and here on Indie-eye.it), that of Federico Fantuz owns a very rare sensibility, capable to describe a sensorial space that has no function, a place with no hypertrophic images or encyclopedic simulacra and for this a possible visionary.
SentireAscoltare / Gianluca Lambiase
After all if it wouldn’t be that difficult to imagine a movie for the debut album of the Bolognese Federico Fantuz, Beatrice Antolini’s guitarist, and it would more likely be an extension of Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi Trilogy. In reality the acronym used by Fantuz, Music For No Movies, hides a clear declaration of intentions that he uses to protect himself from any doubts presenting a work that can’t be easily identified in a genre and prefers to follow a tiny, temporary and flexible line of post-modern liquid contemporary state, without taking himself too seriously, but yet with a wealth of details.
Cinematically orphan, the eleven tracks that compose Violent Zen are colored with both electroacoustic and minimalist tones with an eye on Brian Eno’s experience and Marc Ribot’s incandescence. An androgynous ambient-folk fresco in search for the unconditioned reflex that gives a sense to the sound in the no space of modern alchemic hotchpotch. A sense that can be found in those elements that confer an original, magic and current taste to this work. This instrumental record gets the edge over thanks to the never ending repeated arpeggio of Wind Wash, in the crescendo of Waterquake and in the percussive divertissement of Stupid American Elephant Drunk Joy Joke. It is that passionate element that confers a tangible and warm taste to the reassuring and ethereal composition created by Federico Fantuz. The same element that works as a counter alter to the reversed devices such as Earth Job, to the grotesque groove and the alienating structures like Arvo Moon.
Federico’s guitar ability is never temped by the pure bravura, instead it comes out from these tracks composed for inexistent organs virtuous and wisely balanced, never aggressive, but with a cinematic taste. His skill is built in the evocative tracks of the cd that finds his best expression in the oneiric Glace Et Soleil, where all the elements regain their place and the circle, as magic, closes down.
Ondarock / Francesco Giordani
The Bolognese guitarist Federico Fantuz, more recently seen performing with Beatrice Antolini’s band, through his project Music for No Movies accomplishes an ambitious music fresco that is able to take nourishment from ambient-folk, neoclassic, impro and post-rock suggestions with balance and fine compositional research.Halfway between Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and John Abercrombie, his dry and incisive touch loses its way but finds itself again drawing cinematic landscapes and splendid melodic abstractions that bring back to the mind some algid ECM patches (“Space Trees”) like some Ben Chasny’s psychedelic epiphanies (“Waterquake”).“Violent Zen” structures and creates a sequence of very intense milieu and atmospheres by opening a dream of imaginary movies to be watched with closed eyes (“Wind Wash”).
Rockit / Gioele Valenti
Perfect monniker that disguises the musician Federico Fantuz at his new record that proves successfully the meaning of music blend, rather than fusion. A crypto-anarchist reversed crooked tango - "Earth Job" - introduces this eclectic work, incoercible in its never ending making and unmaking process, in its invincible nature of drawing escaping lines without leaving any trace – because as you think you got him, he’s already gone.
Ambient guitar suspended between lo-fi inspiration and electroacoustic backdrops for “Air Games” that could remind Marc Ribot’s globalizing and disenchanted approach, more for its inclination that its style as well as in the electronic crescendo of “Space Times” a plethora of names ranging from Sergio Altamura to Tortoise’s electronic drifts can be found.The obstinate percussions of "Stupid American Elephant Drunk Joy Joke" represent a playful interlude apt to underline a sarcastic view on things before leaving space to the oneiric "Glace et Soleil", a long prologue to an hypothetic sepia mockumentary.
Fantuz is a guitarist with excellent technical skills, and more important without that overambitious guitarism typical of his more or less famous colleagues. His technique is just a function of his substance or better a simple methodological fiction and a bridge to a well designed and formed elsewhere, although, to be totally honest, not always free from a mystic self-indulgence.
Here there is an hybrid milieu suspended between ambient, electroacoustic and classicism tout-court where it is difficult to find a precise direction, but only stations that represent a limbo where many voices are yet to be soon translated into body again.
EtherReal / Fabrice Allard
We follow here the discovery of the label Fluttery Records, generally very anchored in the kind of post rock. We browse their catalog diagonally, and when a record seems to stand out, we decide to talk about it here. This is the case for « Music for no Movies », a solo project by the italian Federico Fantuz, who signes here his first remarkable album.
The disk begins with « Earth Job », which reminds us of something...sounds played backwards, a fractured style, we are not far from the awesome madness of a Leafcutter John. A music which gives the impression of chaos while sliding along melodies both simple and powerful. The instrumentation is not very clear, this first title swarming with various sounds, both acoustic and electronic, while « Air Games » demonstrates simplicity with sounds of acoustic guitar accompanied by layers and chrystalline slidings.
So we have difficulties knowing where to turn. Federico Fantuz never ceases to amaze. On the beautiful « Space Trees » he is cleverly mixing synthetic choirs and acoustic guitar, enchaining uncluttered piano break and bold keyboards, forking to a solo of six strings using both folk and blues as well as improvisation (The Dog and the Downpour). Eventually we want to shout to a genius while listening to « Waterquake » with its tension, its cinematographic style with a western atmosphere.