Artists On Albums: AOA#30 (Eternal Tapestry’s Jed Bindeman on Dialoghi Del Presente)

Eternal Tapestry’s Jed Bindeman on…

Luciano Cilio’s Dialoghi Del Presente (EMI Italiana, 1977)

Luciano Cilio – Dialoghi Del Presente

There are albums that grow on you, and then there are ones that have an immediate reaction, where you know from the first note that you’re hearing something special.  Both situations can have their benefits (there are many records that took me five or more listens to really ‘get,’ most recently A Certain Ratio’s Sextet, which I’ve liked for awhile, but now I’m like “holy shit, this is incredible”), but knowing from the beginning that a piece of music is already resonating so strong can be a very satisfying feeling.  One of those albums that knocked me flat the first time was Luciano Cilio’s Dialoghi Del Presente LP, released exclusively in Italy in 1977.  I, like most people familiar with the album at this point, discovered it in 2004 via the great label Die Schachtel’s CD reissue, which paired together with a series of unreleased tracks, was released as Dell’Universo Assente.  The extra tracks on the CD are very good, but the original album stands on its own as a masterpiece.  Also, and very importantly for me, being exposed to this album led me to discover a whole world of Italian avant/minimalism from the 1970s, from the likes of Franco Battiato, Roberto Cacciapaglia, Lino Capra Vaccina and others, which have remained as some of my favorite music of all time.

When the Die Schachtel reissue came out I was living in Brooklyn, New York, plagued by the stress of living in such a busy metropolis.  Cilio’s pieces offered a feeling of respite for me, a classic form of musical escapism.  Everyone has soundtracks to certain parts of their lives, music that brings back specific times and places after hearing only a few notes.  For me this music reminds me of New York in the fall, walking around listening to these songs on my headphones, enjoying the crisp weather while simultaneously becoming more and more overwhelmed with everything around me.  I started realizing more and more that I was not living in the right place, and the move out west to Portland, Oregon wasn’t too far around the corner.

I’m always looking for music that is perfect to dive into, allowing me to get fully lost and emerge afterwards all bleary-eyed and slightly confused.  Cilio was composing a sound I didn’t know existed, but wound up being exactly what I was trying to find.  The music is very emotionally heavy, which comes as no surprise hearing of Cilio’s tragic life, releasing only the one album during his lifetime to little acclaim, followed by a suicide at the young age of 33.

It’s no small feat to be able to create music that is on the surface so light and fragile, but just underneath has such an intense feeling of unbridled melancholy.  It gives me the sensation of floating, or the sound of a breath hovering in the air, unmoving.  Movement without moving.  A lot of my favorite art, in any medium, has the ability to physically affect the audience.  Sometimes you wind up being dragged along on a journey with the composer or filmmaker, going through the same sets of emotions they had during the creative process.  Cilio was able to do so with a subtler touch than just about any I’ve experienced before or after.

Notes On The Artist:

Jed Bindeman (pictured centre with Eternal Tapestry bandmates)

Since 2006 Jed Bindeman has been the drummer for Portland, Oregon’s Eternal Tapestry.  Although now part of the heavy-psyche division of Thrill Jockey’s latter-day roster, the band has previously issued a slew of rare vinyl, CDR and cassette collections for smaller labels such as Not Not Fun, Three Lobed and Solar Commune as well as on a self-released basis.  After signing to Thrill Jockey, Eternal Tapestry’s muse has reached a wider audience through 2011’s atmospheric Beyond The 4th Door and the Sun Araw-collaborating venture Night Gallery and via this year’s vinyl-only space-jamming Dawn In 2 Dimensions and the new more studio sculpted A World Out Of Time. 

Outside of Eternal Tapestry duties, Jed has also given his time to the likeminded and prolific but currently dormant Heavy Winged, longstanding noisecore outfit Rattledick and the recently expired electronically-slanted Operative.  In addition to said bands, Jed is also lending his talents to a recently formed new outfit called Helen, with Grouper’s Liz Harris and Eat Skull’s Scott Simmons.  The trio plan to self-release a 7” imminently.  In the interim, Eternal Tapestry will be taking Jed on stage for select live dates in Portland and San Francisco (some of which form part of Thrill Jockey’s 20th anniversary celebrations).

Eternal Tapestry – “When Gravity Fails” (from A World Out Of Time)

Eternal Tapestry and Sun Araw – “III” (from Night Gallery) Eternal Tapestry – “Doorways In The Sand” (digital-only bonus track to Night Gallery)