daniele brusaschetto | AUTO6 | summer 1998 by paola sorrentino
Doesn't this guy's name sound cute and melodic? Well, it's the only thing that does. Daniele Brusaschetto (and no, he won't change his name to something more commercial...) has just released a CD that's one of the darkest things you'll hear this year. The guy has been around for ages, first in the bands Mudcake and Whip, then as a solo artist. 1996 saw the 7" Paturnie ("Bad Moods"), a no-wave, rather Eighties-sounding four-track single that The Editor himself reviewed as "art-damaged noise" and "awesome". Last summer Daniele released Bellies/Pance, nine weird tracks of postindustrial proto-pop pain.
Proto-pop??? "In a way, the songs are pop because they're four-minutes-with-lyrics and all that, but on the other hand they aren't exactly pop, so I invented this definition..". Being a solo artist is surely the most congenial thing for his personality - he describes himself as a solitary person who doesn't go out very much, and listening to his music gives you no doubts about it. His opinion on being a member of a band instead of an autonomous musician: "When I was in Mudcake we tried to be equal, and we probably were, although the idea of having four people who have exactly the same impact on decisions is quite utopian in nature. But we were so equal, that every time I had some extra idea or wanted to do more work than the others, I'd think 'why should I work more? We're all equal...'" Now you understand why he plays on his own, backed by fellow musicians who are also long-time friends.
Brusaschetto himself doesn't know where the impetus for his music and his cryptic lyrics come from: "The last time I read a book was two years ago, it was 'America' by Franz Kafka, which is beautiful. Then I started to read 'The Trial', but I was staying at a friend's place at the time, and after having read about twenty pages, I had to move...And now I'm moving to a new house, so I can't even watch TV." Yes, but what Freudian corner of his mind gives birth to lyrics like "The man of deliveries was living / white whales, quintals of soup / my tearful prostate" or "The rapist thanks the householder / intrusion / breaking / welcome" or "Broken capillaries / skin clots / difficulties in learning / disinterestedness" ? "Usually I listen to a sentence and I think 'mmm, it sounds good', and I write it down otherwise I'll soon forget it, then some time later I listen to another sound-bite and think 'this goes well with that other one', and so on". (In that case, I wonder what kind of conversations Daniele is usually exposed to...).
Does shy, silent Daniele write for himself or for an audience? "That's a good question." (yeah, sure, and original, too...). "I could say I write for myself but if I make records and gigs it means I do write for somebody else. Perhaps I write out of selfishness, I'm selfish and I want other people to know what I have to say, who I am".
The CD was recorded on a very ordinary four-track, using old drum machines on a couple of songs. Nevertheless Brusaschetto creates very sophisticated, hypnotic, menacing sounds. The only thing you won't find is a tune and a singing voice. "I could never sing a proper song with a real tune. My singing voice is like a trombone, neither too high nor too low...But I'm rather happy with my voice on the CD, it sounds quite anguished and suffering, and I like that. I don't want melodies. My music deliberately hides melodies, I try to make it as minimal as possible; sometimes there is a tune but it's not played by the guitars as it usually happens, it comes mysteriously from somewhere else in the song."
Every single review of Daniele's work compares him to a different artist, which means, in the end, that you really can't get a mental image of what it sounds like. Is this intentional? "Well, not really, maybe it comes from the fact that every reviewer finds bits and pieces that remind him of something he likes, it's a projection of the reviewer's preferences." (He must be right, because to me he sounds like early Neubauten).
Daniele also owns a distribution label, the aptly called HHETHH (he probably thought Brusaschetto was too commercial...) and has a rather impressive catalogue of tapes and CDs distributed at fantastically cheap prices. (He personally recommends Kirlian Camera from Italy and Origami from Holland). The business was mainly born out of necessity: "Distributors usually requested very few copies of my tapes. So I told some of them we could swap our catalogues, and trade tapes between us. Now my house is so full of tapes and CDs it's bursting, but it's a rather successful thing, quite a lot of people write to order records. And some friends of mine have recently opened a shop here in Turin that specialises in this kind of music".
Bellies is distributed in 22 countries, literally in every continent except Australia. "Distribution is very much linked to the economy of the country. I am distributed in Bulgaria too, and I would have liked to play there, but the guys I contacted told me that the average Bulgarian earns about three dollars a month, so there were some little practical problems..." And has he played abroad? "Last year we played in Germany, Holland and Switzerland. We toured with Krankheit der Jugend, who are great guys and great friends too". What do his gigs look like? "My concerts are quite minimal, just two people on stage and some machines. I remember a gig in Florence - they'd called us to play before a rave (of all things) together with other bands, we were the first to play, but ten minutes into our set people started to ask loudly 'when do the other bands play'? so we understood and walked out...
why they called me for a rave, I really don't know."
· Paturnie, 7", HHETHH-Hax_Dumbo (It), 1996
· Senza (split tape with G. Gasparin, M. Nomized, M.Milanesio), HHETHH (It), 1996
· Di circostanza - suitable to the occasion, tape, Music and Elsewhere (UK), 1997
· Caldo/Warm, tape, F.L.A.S.A., (UK), 1997
· 3 way split tape (with XV Parówek and Xipperstein), tape, Break Even (Canada), 1997
· Bellies/Pance, CD, Hax/HHETHH/RRRec/Snowdonia/Soundbuster/Zona libera rec. (Ita-USA-Germany), 1997
Tracks in compilations:
· Gene, in Water and iron scraps, HSSG (It) 1996
· Lucido, in Post a tape vol. 4, Fraction Studio (Fr), 1996
· Drammatico, in Andreas n.11 - les jouets, Fraction Studio (Fr), 1996
· Here she...., in Velvet Underground Covers, Fraction Studio (Fr) 1996
· Inverno casuale/casual Winter, in Andreas n. 13, Fraction Studio (Fr) 1997
· Movements, in Orchestre meccaniche italiane, Snowdonia (It) 1997
· Puerile, in Zona libera, Zona Libera rec. (It) 1997
· Promo tape, Free Side Factory (It), 1994
· Water resist demo, Free Side Factory - Suck Cops (It) 1994
· I love supercake, split 7" (with Superjack), Circus - Blu Bus (It), 1996
Tracks in compilations:
· Show, in Logorato, Cimba (It), 1995
· Senses cave, in Get the usual suspects out, Supportings (It), 1996
· Me, in Control me, Itself (It), 1996
· Boxed again, in 23 bombs to shoot, Blu Bus (It), 1996
DANIELE BRUSASCHETTO * via Scotellaro 71* 10155 Torino (Italy) * fax ++39-11-2051326