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Akt

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote toroddfuglesteg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Akt
    Posted: November 30 2011 at 17:09


AKT was born 1998 in Bologna/Italy. Four members made up the original line-up, sometimes they were in five, now the band is consisting of Simone Negrini (drums, keyboards), Marco Brucale (guitars) and Alessandro Malandra (bass). Initially they produce single songs then collected in emotionally moulded albums which are available for free on their homepage so far. The band hopes the music will be often downloaded and requested, observed and criticized: 'Music should be made known, spread abroad, communicated, should be free, open and shared in order to be managed and edited as a discovery' as they say.

I got in touch with the band and Simone patiently answered my many questions.

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When, where and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band? Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?
Hmm, the birth of the band was both a bit complicated and a bit funny. The first contact between current Akt members occurred around 1995 when Iovis Lacrimae, a classical/melodic-prog band in which Simone played as lead guitarist, was auditioning for a bass player and Marco showed up with his Chapman Stick. During the audition itself, it became quickly apparent that the band’s and Marco’s aesthetic priorities didn’t match that well, and he didn’t join. The next auditioned bass player was no one else than Alessandro, and he became Iovis Lacrimae’s bass player for a few years.
In the meanwhile, Simone and Marco decided they wanted to explore other musical areas and they founded their own (then nameless) band, recruiting the singer/songwriter Federico Colli, “drummer extraordinaire” Nicola Fanci and multi-instrumentalist Emanuele Girotti. Several other players came and went, while the ideas were defined (and refined) until around 1998 the name “Akt” was finally chosen for a formation including Nicola, Simone, Marco (who in the meanwhile had sold his stick to Stadio’s Roberto Drovandi and became a guitarist), and Alessandro.
“Akt” is a german word meaning “nude”, but it also has strong connotations of “taking action” in many languages. Akt is meant to be a band in which one’s musical self must be expressed “as nakedly as possible”, with the explicit provision that its members must “wear no musical clothes” in the sense of hiding one’s self behind established musical clichés when at all possible. This means fully embracing the sometimes nonsensical, sometimes trite and sometimes embarrassing nature of spontaneous creativity. This also means that if you hear strong influences by, say, King Crimson or Banco in our music, it’s not because we want to pay some kind of homage to them: it’s because we emotionally internalized their music so deeply that now our spontaneous creativity includes those languages.
Anyway, the bands that influenced us most are King Crimson (Red and Discipline lineups mostly), Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Area, Gentle Giant, Oregon, Stormy Six, and a few selected others. We also like newer stuff like Porcupine Tree or KTU, but it doesn’t make the same big impact on what we are as the older stuff does, for some reason.

Over to your releases. Please tell us more about... Déntrokirtòs from 2007
Did you ever see the so-called “sensory homunculus”? http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ksyy9hQRv21qz8j06o1_400.png It shows what a man’s body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its sensory perception (but I’m quite sure they got it all wrong regarding the, hmm, reproductive apparatus). Well, Déntrokirtòs is an imaginary island that could be a good representation of what a place would look like if each part grew in proportion to the perception we have about an ideal world. Every place in the world has some facets that we may feel as perfect, small parts that correspond to our need of “being there” in that very moment. But there’s no place that has all of these aspects at the same time. Dentrokirtos is our attempt to describe the place that combine all of these aspects. Each song was created with to model sensations brought up in us by some small natural detail. For instance, Helichrysum is a flower that grows on a wide area along Mediterranean Sea, its particular feature is the incredible, strong, mysteriously sweet fragrance lingering over the valleys, mountains and seasides that host it, giving them a precise and unmistakable identity. The fact is this flower keep on smelling like thus even if it’s cut off.
Many others aspects that we consider perfect lies on Dentrokirtos, as the crystal-clear sky that enables us to watch even the furthest comets, a lighthouse, a light drying wind, the presence of the wind turbine assuring clean energy, clean water, charming spots, impressive landscapes and wonderful panoramas. On our website you can get this island and virtually walk up and down its paths choosing where you want to go. Keeping in mind all of these visions we have made up this album.
To give the project a bit more coherence, we wrote the pieces as the diary of a journey, and if you listen carefully each piece begins with a theme based on something that was introduced in the finale of the previous song, forming a continuous chain except in one carefully chosen occasion. The lyrics are a narration from the point of view of someone that departs from everyday life (spazzadiluvi), arrives to the island (elicrisio), becomes an inhabitant, merges with that place’s nature, then watches back at what he was before coming here. The last glimpse of description we have of the unnamed protagonist is him/her approaching “the gate” at the end of “le sette impressioni del fauno scorpione”. Nothing else is said, as the finale is quite open. But the more perceptive listener might notice an extremely specific hint at the very end of our latest LP that might explain… OK, I won’t say more than this…

Please tell us more about... frAKTal.one from 2008
The point is that in our LP releases, we don’t care whether a given piece of music is actually doable in a live setup or not. If we feel we need five interlocking guitar tracks, two mellotrons, four different percussions, double-bass and electric bass, we happily overdub everything we need. But we also want some material to play live! And, the band is now a trio, so this means we had to redistribute roles a bit to be still able to function as a live band. Simone abandoned guitar for drums and programming, Marco gradually shifted to classical guitar and looping, and Alessandro expanded his sonic palette with electronics and other weird stuff. The point is that we don’t really care about shining as players of a given instrument, we just try to channel Akt’s stuff as effectively as possible.
The “frAKTal" series of color-coded EPs contains those pieces of music that we arrange specifically for live performing. The crimson EP, frAKTal.one, is genuinely, 100% recorded “live-in-studio” without any overdubs or corrections (as you might tell from the large number of blunders), just a huge headache-inducing amount of live triggering and looping by the three of us. It’s very funny to play this stuff live, but also really demanding!

Please tell us more about... Blemmebeya from earlier this year
The title Blemmebeya has a very funny origin. Some time in mid 2007, as we were finalizing the last details of Dentrokirtos, joking with words, as we usually do, one of us wrote “Blemmebeya” on the wall. That was very amusing for us due to the sounding and accents of this nonsensical word, although the context that brought this phoneme up are lost forever. As a half-joke, we decide it should definitely have been the name of our next album. Later, when we were discussing the plot and concept of our new album, we investigated this word more seriously and we discovered it matched exactly what we intended to express through this album. As a matter of fact this word is composed by Blemme and Beya. The first is the name of an ancient tribe described in Roman histories of the later empire, from Wikipedia we read: “ (…)They also became fictionalized as a legendary race of acephalous (headless) monsters who had eyes and mouths on their chest”. It was perfect for our album since we wanted to describe the effects of the media on italian population, the result is a “headless” people indeed, but this is strictly between you and me!  The word Beya is the name of a people living in the horn of Africa (in this case you can find it on Wikipedia searching for Beja), in Roman times this people have been named Blemmyes. Moreover Pliny the Elder asserted that Blemmyes people lived also in Ethiopia and one of the word they used to describe themselves was “Beya”. There were more spooky coincidences around the word, like our recording studio “Nellarmadiostudio” being located in a street that bears the name of a renaissance-era erudite person who also wrote about the blemmyes…
So, we think fate has decided the name for our album. Then, about the concept-album itself, we tried to stage a contrast between the product of the cultural crisis of our people, and the dynamic agents of reality represented by weather: funny to say, but people must deal with weather everyday, either it rains or snows or it is sunny and hot, nature is something that goes over and over the people’s ignorance in the sense of people who has been beheaded by controlled information media. The album is constructed as a continuous juxtaposition of pieces referring to the “assault of the media” (as we call it in “l’assalto”) and to more naturalistic pieces referring to the names of winds. There are spots of hope and desperation throughout, although the very end of the album might feel totally depressing and pessimistic if you can follow the lyrics (we should put translations on our site sooner or later). We don’t feel this is necessarily true, although we’ve left a small hint in the track “la fine” that might put things in perspective…

Please tell us more about... Your brand new frAKTal.two
After finalizing Blemmebeya, we wanted to do something less demanding and simpler. We had these small embryonic pieces that felt like a coherent whole but didn’t seem able to develop in a full-size concept album. This small EP is somewhat like those quick notes you take on the margin of what you’re reading. We’ve chosen a very simple instrumentation for these pieces, we’ve cut everything down to acoustic instruments only and practically no overdubs. Try to listen to this pieces when you’re close to a large body of water.
All these are free downloads. Why give your releases away for free ?
Ah, the big question :-D We have strong opinions on the contemporary concept of “editor”. In the ages past, an “editor” was someone who made it possible for an intellectual product to reach the audience. Nowadays, in the internet era, they exist to do exactly the opposite, to prevent people to just download, copy and share intellectual products. They are nonsensical enforcers of an “artificial scarcity of commodities” and have no reason to exist.
We do believe all forms of art including music should be shared as a work of love, and not sold as a product. A close parallel is what happens (or should happen) in the scientific community: when you create a musical idea you are the author of a discovery. The song, as the ensemble of notes, tempo and moods, has always been there and you should not make it private. In fact there is a great reward for you as the author: that is your discovery may reach other people. Art should definitely be open source. We don’t “give away” our music: we “share” it.
The music is a bit difficult to pinpoint. But how would you describe your music and which bands would you compare yourself to ?
Don’t worry, we cannot pinpoint our music neither… Or to put it in another way, our albums represent the different attempts we make at creating coherent stories out of the wildly disparate stuff we constantly come up with. I’m pretty sure that lots of prog bands did, and still do, exactly this. For us, the only absolutely anti-prog thing is to just do derivative stuff, or to do something that turns out to be exactly what you’ve foreseen, just according to plan. We prefer to take risks and even sound stupid and embarrassing at times, if that means that we’re true to the original vision.
What have you been up to this year ? What is your plans for this year and beyond ?
At the beginning of this year we finalized Blemmebeya, then we quickly recorded frAKTal.two as a kind of de-compression routine. We are very satisfied because Blemmebeya has been downloaded hundreds of times (500 and counting) from our website and people keeps grabbing it from all over the world. Dentrokirtos is also downloaded quite regularly… Sooner or later we’ll put some stats on the website, to say a big thank you to everyone who actually contacts us to give their opinion after downloading. BTW, downloading the files actually requires that you promise us to send your opinion on what you hear… So it’s not 100% free after all :-D
The future is currently like a giant cauldron of possibilities. We have a small group of ideas that are currently fighting for supremacy, they all want our undivided attention. But there’s this lingering premonition of the overall look and feel of our next LP. It might take years for it to take shape, but don’t worry, it will eventually reach maturity. We might need to do a few more frAKTals, smaller projects helping us to pinpoint the right direction. But the new LP will come, and it will be free!
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
Music doesn’t need to be a commercial product in order to exist. Feel, create and share.

Thank you to Simone for this interview
Their PA profile is here and their homepage is here


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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rivertree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2011 at 17:45
another great band to be worth experiencing Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2011 at 18:40
Fantastic band!!  Great interview guys!!

Everyone, check these guys out, you can hear their all of their music on their website for no charge other than your opinion. 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote memowakeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2011 at 00:45
What a wonderful interview!
This is one of my favorite (modern/recent) Italian bands. They are great!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote someone_else Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2011 at 02:46
I downloaded Blemmebeya a short while ago after hearing it for the first time on progstreaming.com and I have listened to it three or four times now. I still owe them my opinion (and I will not withhold it), but my first impression is that this is an excellent album (in ratings: the uppermost part of the 4-star range) to which I will listen quite a lot during the next months.
 
Strongly recommended!


Edited by someone_else - December 01 2011 at 02:47
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