Tag Archives: RAI

Berna 3 + Axoloti announcement


Berna 3 is currently in the last phase of development and it will available on December 22 and it will run on Axoloti.

During the last two years I’ve got a great number of feedbacks around Berna and surprisingly many of them concerned a use of Berna, both in live and studio situations.
I originally designed Berna as an educational aid for schools, but many people want to use it also as a live instrument, so Berna 2 must be ported to a more effective efficient platform.

As you imagine, Berna 2 has too much graphics, and some of its functions are not stable; that is the price for packing so much graphic in a Max runtime.
To build a precise instrument for performance, that simulates the RAI functions and at the same time offer great precision in control, a programmable hardware with more efficient code is desirable. Axoloti offers a number of electronic “primitives” that fits the resources’ of a Studio di Fonologia emulation on a standalone device;  you’ll just need an Axoloti card and your laptop,
and if you want, you can add pots, trimmers, faders, midi controllers and build your own Berna studio hardware ready to gig without a computer.

Beside Midi mapping being ultra-easy in the Axoloti software, analog GPIO programming is equally easy, and with the use of a single object, a specific ADC can be mapped to any function of the simulation in no time. This way the user chooses freely what of his Fonologia’s work can be assigned to analog controls with hi def 4096 points sampling (arduino has 1024). Analog like feeling included!

Simulation of tapes is partially implemented this time.
I find my tape-simulation extremely bad, and I offer a different approach this time.
The software will not be able to record audio. In other words if you want to manipulate on tape your work, you will actually need a tape recorder to do that part of the job.
Naturally you can use an audio interface and Logic, to record and edit… or, a real 1/4″ tape machine (Revox, Nagra, Tascam, Teac…) and have the best of the worlds.
Files of edited “tapes” can be uploaded to the SD card in RAW format 48KHz 24 Bit and played in the mix. But that’s up to you. Tapes could be actual from beginning to end, and use Berna 3 with historical accuracy.

Berna 3 is currently developed for Axoloti, a portable, programmable, standalone hardware with Audio, Midi and GP I/O, 24 Bit 48Khz / cross-platform (Mac, Win, Linux).
Berna 3 will be distributed here as a free .axp file.

All about Johannes Taelman’s Axoloti, go to this link.




The year of John Cage

Celebrating the Centennial Anniversary

This year the music community celebrates the most prominent figure of experimental music, the maestro of the great opening to all sounds: John Milton Cage Jr.
To join the celebration I will post news and works of mine in honor of the composer through the whole 2012.

In my classes I never stress enough how much the music and the ideas of this genial American composer have influenced the contemporary concept of music. Uncertainty, poetry, interaction, anarchism, curiosity. The great lesson of John Cage lies in using of every sound without sacrificing the intellect and the love for music or art.

Cage’s music is not an act of nihilism, it’s a profound act of love and intelligence, and as Umberto Eco wrote, it is one of the true rare examples of Zen Art in the western culture.

Whenever I take a walk to my girlfriend’s place, I can’t avoid thinking to John walking in the very same streets in November 1958 when he was invited by the RAI electronic music studio of Milan (Studio di Fonologia Musicale della Radiotelevisione Italiana) to compose what it become Fontana Mix, with the assistance of the skilful RAI engineer Marino Zuccheri. The studio was then located in the RAI building in Corso Sempione street, an architectural opus by Giò Ponti. Today the custom made electronic equipment of the RAI studio is exposed at the Museum of Musical Instruments of Sforza Castle in downtown Milan. The exposition includes also a precious manuscript by John Cage that portraits a scheme of the RAI equipment. He made that sketch before starting off with scissors and scotch tape (and talcum powder!). I will take a visit at the museum and catch some pics for you soon.

If you haven’t done it yet I would like to invite you to visit the John Cage Trust official page curated by the excellent Laura Kuhn, and the best-place-on-the-web ubuweb curated by Kenneth Goldsmith, both websites are rich of Cagean contents and a worth a long list of visits.

Hommage à John Cage

To conclude, a few weeks ago I’ve decided to inaugurate the spring with a 38 minutes long soundscape composition dedicated to John  and called JOHN 1/179/20″. The work is a selection of field recordings that I have taken in the last 3 years spanning from the French Switzerland hills to the tropical forests and chenotes of Yucatan in Mexico, trough Northern Italy lakes and airports, the temple of Asakusa and the Ikiabara district in Tokyo, a steel foundry in Reggio Emilia and the streets of Milan under a night rain.

The composition represents an ideal voyage trough the world. The message of John Cage is universal: sounds are life. The title refers to the first book of John Cage, Silence, page 179, 20th second.

JOHN 1/179/20″ has been accepted by the Ear To The Earth (EMF) John Cage Centenary Anniversary call for works (100 x John) and it will be hosted on their website soon. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Giuseppe Cordaro with which I’ve taken some of these wonderful sounds.

You can listen to the piece here and download it from the sounds page


James Joyce and Electronic Music

Unexpected Word Space: the theater of sound


My latest work was a collaboration with the Italian composer Francesco Paradiso. Together with Massimo Marchi at AGON and the actress Adele Pellegatta, we have created a very singular performance of words and sounds based on a Finnegans Wake extract.

Of course there is a link between this work and that of Berio/Eco in the famous Thema, Omaggio a Joyce. We’ve honored it creating an 1950s electronica soundscape that well represented the paradigm of the RAI Studio era, but we headed on a different use of language. We didn’t chopped words, we used them taking care of their semantic value.

Adele Pellegatta read a chapter of Finnegans, while a 9 channels PA system is filled with delays and live electronics constantly moving in space and interacting with the voice. As a matter of fact each electronic event is controlled by the voice. The text itself is music, it has a vast number of onomatopeic sounds trough all the lyrics. Located across a river with an incredible number of words (or segments of words) that refer to rivers’ names, it is very clear that Finnegans Wake has an aquatic soundscape. For this reason the synthesis section and the delays were all imagined as “pictures” of water, or allegories to better say.

Adele PellegattaThe performance was premiered at the San Fedele Auditorium of Feb 27th, 2012






Unexpected Word Space by Francesco Paradiso
Excerpt from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake


Concept and direction by Francesco Paradiso
Voice: Adele Pellegatta
Programming, sound design, live electronics: Giorgio Sancristoforo
Sound direction: Massimo Marchi
An AGON production

Francesco Paradiso (left) Massimo Marchi (right)
The custom software for the performance