to GIUSEPPE VERTICCHIO/NIMH, by Philippe Blache
From the book "The Art of Duration and Resonance - The experimental
stages of italian industrial drone music",
by Philippe Blache, Première Edition, April 2009
First of all I would like to discuss about the stylistic approach
of Nimh. Your music admits a wide range of styles. Your long evocative
pieces for electronics contain lot of noisy, brutal metallic,
industrial elements. These sounds seem to fluctuate into blackness
whole. What are the technical conditions which produce this range
of sounds? From which sources do they come and what are the treatments
and processes required?
In some ways we have already spoken a little bit about it when
we met here in Rome... About sound sources I use software and
physical synthesizers, a lot of ethnic instruments, various objects
(made of metal, wood , ceramics), field recordings and electric
guitar... At the "centre" of my composition process
there is the PC and my favourite software Wavelab. For the treatments
I use many software effects and plug-ins in combination with physical
pedal effects (delay, reverb, distorsion, wah wah...). As you
have seen my equipment is not over sophisticated, and not very
These noisy, abrasive fragments are intertwined with expressive
static drones focused on duration and frequency. How do you reconcile
these two sides of your music in one movement?
When I make music, first of all I work a lot researching various
“special”, and in some way "original" sounds...
Having good and "effective" sounds to start, it almost
becomes "easy" to mix and join them into a single track
with good results... My general approach is first of all to collect
a lot of parts and good sounds, of different natures, without
limits in choice of sound sources and "style" of recordings,
parts and "melodies"... I use ethnic sounds, noises,
guitar, electronic sounds, drones, field recordings... and each
time I search a new way to "combine" them obtaining
something of good... I work a lot to decide on duration of single
parts, fades, the layering of different parts and dynamic of composition...
I think that there is no problem in using static drones together
with noisy parts or with other kinds of sound, and sometimes the
contrast is very effective and surprising... The "secret"
on my opinion, as I already said, is before everything else an
accurate research of "special" sounds and recorded parts
to work with, and afterwards in a very accurate, "fanciful"
and technically "rigorous" effort in montage/mixing/layering
Guitars seem to reinforce a certain tragic, emotional tense. How
do describe the function of guitar sequences in the musical process?
I think that guitar, used in different way, can effectively offer
a special "emotion" when combined with drones or generally
with obscure sounds and parts... On my opinion, when used in "melodic"
way, guitar represents a little ray of light when it emerges from
masses of dark, disquiet, and deep and obsessive background sounds...
On the contrary when used with heavy distortion effect, it can
add a sense of heavy anguish, desperation, "dram"...
Sometimes the sound of the guitar is heavily treated to became
unrecognizable, and its function is just that of "background",
as with some drone textures... Guitar, used in combination with
effects and sometimes treated by software, can offer a wide range
of sounds and possibilities, and some tracks of my recent CDs
are born just starting from a single recorded guitar part...
Maybe I’m wrong, but after several listens I was thinking
that you could be sensitive to “music as a gradual process”
(classic minimalists). I mean the duration of sound is almost
unlimited (like a buzzing droning raga). We can only perceive
subtle series of contrasts in sounds and moods. It seems to be
spacious music with a non linear but circular sense of time, only
admitting punctual picks of excess and distortion. Do acknowledge
a certain filiation with these groups of avant-garde experimentalists
or do you act more spontaneously outside of methodological / conceptual
To be honest my music is not born directly from influences of
classic minimalism, but probably from the music (and the artists)
that for many years I've listened to who where in some way substantially
influenced by the experiences of classic minimalism... So I really
would not be surprised if you find in my music elements that seems
to have analogies and connection with classic minimalism, but
I think that these analogies are "filtered" by the experience
of more recent generations of artists and musical experiences
that probably influenced me in a more "direct" way...
The voluntary hermetic, dark, sinister dimensions of your music
seem to penetrate the “underside” of meaning, decoding
secrets, lost memories, what is obscurities and mutation. Can
you give me your interpretation about this prevailing aesthetic?
I think this musical aesthetic simply reflects in some way my
inmost, hidden and unrevealed sentiments, doubts, contradictions,
fears, hopes and anguishes...In ordinary life I need to connive
daily with other people, in determinate situations and contexts,
and I have the consequent necessity to "control" in
each moment sentiments, manners, reactions... On the contrary
in my music I can capture in each moment without any constrictions
everything I have in my mind and everything I feel in my soul;
so probably the content of my music describe better than a lot
of words my real but unknown self way to be as person and my inmost
and unknown personality...
Have to made some live electronic works, do you make some live
performances and improvisations, if yes, when?
My music is generally birth in studio, through long and articulated
processes of composition, recording, treating, layering and mixing,
and for these reasons it's not technically possible to recreate
live in concert in the same way as you can listen to on a Nimh's
CD... At the same time I don't like (even if some do it frequently...)
to undertake "live" performances using massive pre-recorded
parts and playing live just a minimal part of what you can listen
to during the "performance"... So my live performances
are very rare, a kind of "event" for me... Generally
I do them in collaboration with some friends/musicians, we compose
together the music and prepare our performances for months, and
during the performances we never use pre-recorded tracks, apart
from little parts such as field recordings, ethnic voices or similar
kind of stuff...
You’ve released several important albums in collaboration
with the great composer, sound creator and avant garde-industrial
pioneer Maurizio Bianchi. Can you describe the history and objectives
behind this cooperation?
As I said to you when you were here in Rome, when Maurizio asked
me for a collaboration, I didn't know too much about him and his
music... At that time Andrea Marutti (Afe) had just published
my "Frozen" CDR and a CD of Maurizio (with Telepherique),
and somehow Maurizio got a copy of "Frozen", and I got
a copy of the Maurizio's CD, and we started to keep in touch ...
After three or four emails, Maurizio asked me to work on a collaborative
CD, we spoke and agreed about various details, and after some
months we meet for the first time in Milan at the home of Andrea
Marutti... Then Maurizio gave me a tape containing some recorded
parts (loops, drones, buzzes...) and a picture to use for graphics,
and when I come back to Rome, as already planned, I started to
work on our first collaborative CD (Secluded Truths) using his
parts in various ways which were then re-edited and mixed with
other my musical stuff... The "concept" we agreed to
work around was the spirituality, so this concept has been in
my mind during the entire time I was working on the music. When
"Secluded Truths" was finished, Stefano Gentile from
Silentes, who had already agreed to publish it, proposed that
we work to one more collaborative CD, the "split" "Togheter's
Symphony", and to make a special 4 CD Boxset edition containing
the two collaborative CDs, my solo CD "Subterranean Thoughts"
and the solo CD of Maurizio "Niddah Emmhna". These last
two titles and the CD "Secluded Truths" are now available
also as single separate CDs, but the split "Togheter's Symphony"
is available only with the complete 4 CD Boxset "Toghether's
P.: What are your
impressions about the increasing interest of artists in electronic,
computer, programmed music?
Obviously I see generally with great pleasure to the growth and
interest for electronic, programmed, computer and electronic music,
even if this interest often especially grows around a certain
kind of "popular" and much too "easy" electronic
music that is not close to my interest and my preferences... Anyway
I know that for some people the interest in "popular"
electronic music is just the first "step" in a process
that, in the future, probably will open for them the door to knowing
electronic and experimental music of different style and higher
artistic level, so anyway I think that the general diffusion of
interest around computer/electronic music is a a positive thing...
P.: What are your
musical projects for the future?
I have a lot of ideas for my new music for the future, but at
the moment I have nothing planned in a definitive way... At this
moment I'm working on the possibility to re-releasing, my old
CDRs "Distant Skylines" and "Lanna Mamories"
as a single official CD, in a different, re-edited, enriched and
completely remastered version... At the same time I hope soon
to see published the second CD of my collaborative project with
Amon/Andrea Marutti "Hall of Mirrors" , the CD "Forgotten
Realm" that you already listened here in Rome.