Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, June 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Coming Back Around with Lee Fields Share Your Memories and Win a Pitchfork Festival 2013 3-Day Pass »

Concert Wed Mar 27 2013

Valerio Tricoli and the real Art Of Noise(s) at Lampo


Valerio Tricoli

To fans of harsh noise and experimental music, the name Luigi Russolo is intoned solemnly the way jazz buffs call upon Buddy Bolden in their hour of reverence. The two share a shortfall -- they were innovators in their form who existed just before the advent of readily available mechanical reproduction. Russolo, a painter, theorist, and member of the Futurist art movement, created The Art Of Noises (ring a bell?), a manifesto that suggested that life after the Industrial Revolution had created an evolution not just in production, but in consumption. He believed that people living amidst the audible detritus of modern life had become more able to appreciate more complex sounds, and looks fondly toward the day when the composer "strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange, and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound." He even created his own pitched noise instruments, which he called Intonarumori. The trouble is, these noise-machines were created in the mid-1910s and never really properly recorded or documented. The few acetates that exist give us only a bit more flavor of their existence than the scores of legends and second-hand stories about Buddy Bolden walking through the streets of New Orleans, wailing so loud he could be heard five blocks over.

2013 marks the 100th anniversary of The Art of Noises, and a number of celebrations are happening this year in Italy. In additional, Chicago's avant garde music organization Lampo will also be celebrating Russolo's shot heard 'round the heavens this Saturday (March 30, 8:00 p.m.), as Valerio Tricoli performs two pieces at the Graham Foundation's Madlener House (4 W. Burton Ave., Chicago). The pieces have been written exclusively for Lampo, and are tributes to Russolo and his groundbreaking ideas.

In the words of the composer, "'An Homage to Luigi Russolo' [is] a live electro-acoustic improvisation for electronic devices, self-built instruments, found sounds and voice. This structured improvisation will deal with all the sonic practices and possibilities suggested by Russolo in "The Art Of Noises." A tuned noise mix that includes references to F. T. Marinetti's free-word concrete poem "La Battaglia Di Adrianopoli," which was sent by the author to Russolo only a few months before the conception of "The Art Of Noises" and indeed represents a major influence on Russolo's revolutionary ideas."

The second piece, "La Solidità Della Nebbia," was created in part from samples of Tricoli's homebuilt mechanical devices based on the ideas of the original Intonarumori, though different in their creation. Says Tricoli, "they aren't really imitations of the instruments in themselves, but personal (or more "up to date" ) ways to achieve supposedly similar sounds, which are "tuned noise". So for instance, the sound of a "Gurgler" is obtained by a mix recording of scraping metal, water, etc... Then I repeated it many times, so that i obtained a main single-pitch version of it, and then processed it accordingly with the tape machines (which is: modulate the tape speed to modulate the pitch of the "gurgling")..."

Regardless of whether "authentic" Intonarumori are used or simulations based on the original concepts, Tricoli's pieces (and the many other 100th anniversary performances happening around the globe) reaffirm Russolo's original faith in modern listeners to accept harshness and complexity in organized sound in an artistic context. From the riots that broke out at his own performers to modern listeners who find beauty in abstraction, sounds and ideas that were once thought to be impossible and unbearable are now available to all.

The show is free, RSVP here.

Here is one of those early recordings of Russolo's music. Notice that the Intonarumori's inventor has not yet felt he was ready to unleash the noisemakers as stand-alone music, instead pairing them with a classical orchestra. Even in this context, reaction was uniformly negative, and often aggressive.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15