Saigon

How To Cure Our Soul

How To Cure Our Soul is an audio-visual duo based in Abruzzo, Italy. Founded in 2010 by Marco Marzuoli and later joined by Alessandro Sergente. Both artists graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts where they explored a universe of vision and sound. Through an intense process working with digital and analogue instruments, How To Cure Our Soul evokes a reflective space - philosophy, landscapes (natural and human) and communication. They work with videos, music and photos, finding new outcomes from a reinterpretation of reality.

Saigon

Saigon is the second official release of HTCOS. It is a long meditation in two pieces featuring the recovery of sound and identity in a dimension beyond time and space. Each imperfection is built into the atmospheric experience. Saigon provides an intimate low-fi catharsis, a chance to float in a soundscape. It invites the listener to be here, to experience here and to embrace both beauty and imperfection.

Marco Marzuoli: tape, mixing board, laptop
Alessandro Sergente: guitar, bass, electronics  

AB061 | May 2015

 

 

 

Reviews

  1. Infinite Grain

    To compose sounds is to reuse cosmic debris, to relate universal forces together in order to create spaces, atmospheres and states able to free the imagination and invite us to full presence, to make our way in the meditation towards the (in)audible forms. As Saigon, a magnificent work by italian artists Alessandro Sergente and Marco Marzuoli; a delicate journey in which subtly harmonic masses converge and manage to build, from the same point, a sound tissue that in turn ignores but at the same time values the fact of deterioration and distortion, in this case using the softness of tonal processing to achieve dronning clouds that get extended beyond time thus revealing a portal for isolation, introspection, detention at the present time, that for sure, is not only the only real moment of sound, but of our life in the world as such, as if listening was just an excuse to delight the universe itself through sound.

  2. The Answer Is In The Beat

    Life has been stressing me out a bit lately, so it’s important to have plenty of warm, soothing drone music on hand to calm me down. This album is entirely hitting the spot right now. Both tracks are over 25 minutes long, and the first one, “Aurea”, basically sounds like staring at the most gorgeous landscape you’ve ever seen, in perfectly warm, comfortable weather, and doing absolutely nothing else. It’s perfect. “Opium” is darker, so maybe it’s more like the same scene at night, but it’s still not cold or unpleasant, so it’s more like enjoying a moonscape. But man, “Aurea”.

  3. Igloo

    Italy definitely figures among the most representative and interesting countries when we have to refer to sound design and modern ambient experimentalism. We can relate to the pioneering electroacoustic and proto-minimalist works of Pio Rossi, Enore Zaffiri, Mario Bertoncini, Horacio Vaggione as well as the more contemporary experiments of Simon Balestrazzi, Luciano Maggiore, Giuseppe Ielasi and many more sound artists. The duet HTCOS (How To Cure Our Soul) founded by Marco Marzuoli and Alessandro Sergente confirms this tendency.

    The two sound architects offer here an immersive and engaging meditative post-ambient release on the sympathetic and recommended Audiobulb label. A beautiful sound map made of sinuous and long-form textured ambiences interact with slow moving variations, short fragmented motifs and soothing harmonies, with a vibrant emotional impact on the listener. The two soundscapes are rather intuitive, narrative with sonic insights for an exquisite invitation to listening meditation. The organic, smoothly imaginative and temporally vertical qualities of the music make this album easily seducing and efficiently evocative to guarantee an emotionally experienced sound journey. Siagon attempts a clever association between atmospheric lounge music and a catchy sense of experimentation. In some way the album can be appreciated inside the range of music therapy technique or at least as a spiritually invigorating musical trip of a great influence to reach quietness and plenitude. A creative calmscape and sophisticated aesthetic listening experience.

  4. ATTN:Magazine

    The chord is never correct. It squirms and mutates forever. Frequencies burrow into silence like earthworms; others wriggle into audibility in their place. Can we call the 25 minutes of “Aurea” a continuous drone when it so actively decays and rejuvenates itself, like evolution sped up a trillion times over? I’m not even sure about the instrument of origin; either it’s an electronic instrument rendered lively by the failing medium of old tape, or it’s a strange, spiritually conjuring acoustic instrument I’ve never heard in my life before. As a premise it’s so simple – a tilted chord, pulsating and winking like a strobe on dying batteries – and yet I have so many questions.

    Second side “Opium” ignores my queries and poses further conundrums instead. It’s a lower drone, with overtones occasionally catching my ears like lens flare. The only consolation I can take is that it sounds tonally at rest – the lubricated motor of a giant machine doing exactly what it should, emitting a throbbing low hum as it revolves at speed, maintaining balance and stasis. And where many continuous sounds fade into translucency in my conscious mind, settling into my peripheral awareness like ghosts, there is just enough activity on Saigon to keep my ears flicking back. A chest rising and falling during sleep. I stare into the dancing noise. What are you?

  5. Textura

    While the title of How To Cure Our Soul's second official release calls to mind images, many horrific, of the Vietnam war, it's unclear whether that's what audio-visual duo Marco Marzuoli and Alessandro Sergente intended by their choice. And if Saigon is an evocative title, as suggestive are the ones chosen for the recording's two long-from pieces “Aurea” and “Opium.” Such is the nature of abstract instrumental music that questions of meaning will predictably arise and just as predictably be difficult to resolve.

    Marzuoli founded the Abruzzo, Italy-based How To Cure Our Soul project in 2010 and was later joined by Sergente. Having both graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, the duo, armed with digital and analogue gear, set out to explore concepts like identity, time, and space in sound form and encourage reflection upon such matters in the listener as he/she absorbs the outfit's ambient-drone meditations.

    On the fifty-four-minute Saigon, Marzuoli's credited with tape, mixing board, and laptop, and Sergente guitar, bass, and electronics. Those familiar with the ambient-drone genre will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect: deep, immersive soundscapes whose lulling, lo-fi drift is best experienced on headphones or on a high-end system at loud volume. The two settings aren't fundamentally different with respect to structural design and duration, though the pitches in “Opium,” suggestive of the muted hum of a low-flying plane, are lower. With droning layers accruing almost imperceptibly, time slows if not suspends altogether as the gently pulsating settings unfold. States of peacefulness and calm set in as the minutes advance, and any feelings of turmoil temporarily recede from view. How To Cure Our Soul didn't invent the ambient-drone style, obviously, but Marzuoli and Sergente do it as well as anybody.
  6. Foreign Accents

    The Italian duo How to Cure Our Soul (Marco Marzuoli and Alessandro Sergente) dive deep into the monochrome sanctuary of pure drone on Saigon, released May 20 on David Newman’s Audiobulb label. This beguiling release of extremely minimal ambient music comes highly recommended to fans of Eleh, Janek Schaefer, and, of course, influential composers like Eliane Radigue and Arvo Pärt. Saigon is divided into two long-form pieces: “Aurea” and “Opium”.

    Though Marzuoli and Sergente use digital instruments in tandem with analog instruments, one can see that they favor the almost meditative approach taken by Radigue– monolithic drones as a spiritual space. It is true that this style lends itself naturally to analog synths, but that is not necessarily the gear with which they’re working– working with both digital and analog means, they have created rich textures that invite the listener to engage with all levels of the two soundscapes.  In these grey-blue vistas, the juxtapositions in tone become apparent only when one takes the plunge into the induced trance. The numbing, but not solemn, ebb of “Opium” is particularly absorbing, a noise-soaked lullaby broadcast from within the subconscious. Immerse yourself.  

  7. Merchants of Air

    Music and meditation often go very well together.  Well, some music does.  I wouldn't recommend meditating to the sounds of Slayer or Venetian Snares, but I do have a very worthy suggestion for you.  How To Cure Our Soul, an act that combines meditation and purification with minimal but effective ambient music.  Apparently they found a perfect name for this process as well.  This album has been in my inbox for a while and I played it quite a lot in the past few weeks.

    How To Cure Our Soul is an Italian duo, started out as a one-man project by Marco Marzuoli in 2010 and joined a while later by Alessandro Sergente.  Both artists graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts where they explored a universe of vision and sound.  Using digital and analog instruments and combining them with videos and photos these Italians try to reinterprete reality and create stunning live performances.  Now, I can't judge visual aspect of this act but I can write about the music.

    Saigon contains two lengthy tracks, which are basically drones and soundscapes with other, vague, elements floating in and out.  'Aurea', the opener, has very few variations but still manages to alter and change continuously.  Tiny imperfections in the music make it sound alive and human but at the same time the track has an otherworldly atmosphere and resembles a very minimal journey through space and time.   'Opium' follows a similar path and shows the same minimalistic approach.  This results in a highly meditative character which is brilliant in its simplicity.  

    If you're looking for action, tempo and brute musical force, this is definately not your thing, but it is mine.  I love this sober, dreamy music and I've often played it to relax and to calm down from a stressful day.  So the musical aspect is very satisfying.  I'm quite sure the visual one will be appealing as well so I'm quite curious for live performances by this project.  

  8. Canh Dong Am Nhac

    Italian audiovisual duo How To Cure Our Soul has just released their new album “Saigon”. The album consists 2 long - form pieces: “Aurea” and “Opium”, which are purely drone ones. Extremely minimal ambient/soundscapes elements bring a sense of nature. Using both digital and analog means, How To Cure Our Soul create rich textures and a meditative approach.  

  9. Chain D.L.K.

    This project is an audio-visual duo working with digital and analogue instruments and Saigon is their second release. In the press notes is present as "a long meditation" where "each imperfection is built into the atmospheric experience", so, instead of construct a perfect and hyper detailed sound, they try to use the small glitches of their instruments, asking the listener a closer attention to details.


    "Aurora" opens with a quiet drone whose resonances slowly develops while another one is juxtaposed and starts to create a sort of dialogue creating a sort of static landscape ever changing. The same structure is used also in opium and, instead of generating a boring release, is able to let the listener focus on imperceptible changes or small details.


    This a typical headphone release that lost most of his impact, i.e., in a car listening, in noisy environment but has a charm for all fans of this type of music. Not for everyone but recommended for fans of the genre.  

  10. Music Won't Save You

    Sotterraneo, spesso marginale rispetto alle attenzioni della “critica ufficiale” nostrana, il panorama di artisti italiani dediti alla sperimentazione sul suono ambientale è sempre più ampio, diffuso su tutto il territorio nazionale e, per fortuna, riconosciuto di interesse all’estero. Lo dimostra, da ultimo, la pubblicazione da parte di Audiobulb del secondo lavoro di How To Cure Our Soul, un progetto audio-video che vede per protagonisti gli abruzzesi Marco Marzuoli e Alessandro Sergente, dediti a una miscela tra elettrico e digitale che nelle due lunghe tracce di “Saigon” trova manifestazione estremamente esaustiva.

    Improntato alla ricerca di un paesaggismo sonoro non astratto, non idealizzato, bensì recante con sé tutte le componenti irregolari e organiche incapsulate nelle sue due lunghe tracce, “Saigon” si atteggia a vero e proprio manifesto espressivo del duo. I venticinque minuti del primo brano “Aurea” si snodano attraverso modulazioni sintetiche intessute di oscillazioni ipnotiche, che nella persistenza trovano non il fine ma il mezzo attraverso il quale articolare minute variazioni e screziature lo-fi culminanti nei due minuti di distanti distorsioni finali.

    Si tratta di una sorta di anticipazione di quel che avviene lungo i ventotto minuti dell’altro brano “Opium”, increspato di frequenze distanti e moderatamente disturbate, in filigrana alle quali si svolgono loop ipnotici in progressiva espansione che, appunto, definiscono lo spazio auditivo attraverso il realismo dell’irregolarità, rendendolo mutevole nell’uniformità, come l’osservazione di un panorama urbano da una piattaforma elevata, in lento movimento circolare.

    Per tale via il duo raggiunge la dimensione di un soundscaping coeso e credibile, alieno tanto alla mera astrazione ambientale ma al pari della stessa dotato di potenzialità immaginifiche, ma al tempo stesso propedeutiche a un’esperienza d’ascolto consapevole, vividamente realistica.  

  11. Ondarock

    How To Cure Our Soul è il nome del progetto inaugurato tre anni or sono da Marco Marzuoli, artista abruzzese già attivo, anche come curatore, in ambito multimediale e di video art. Esperienza interdisciplinare oggi condivisa con Alessandro Sergente, è un act sostanzialmente nuovo nel (fortunatamente) sempre più sviluppato panorama atmosferico italiano, all'interno del quale va a proporre un take per certi versi inusuale e, già dal nome, puramente interiore.

    L'ambient music di Marzuoli e Sergente è infatti (curiosamente) più vicina per approccio alla tradizione impressionista degli anni Ottanta e Novanta che al paesaggismo tipico dell'ultimo decennio e mezzo di ricerca atmosferica. Il suono assume nei loro lavori il ruolo, condiviso con visuals e parole, di sostanza riflessiva, raccogliendo al suo interno una varietà di sensazioni, idee, flussi anche distanti nel tempo ma riuniti nello spazio.

    “Saigon” è composto da due lunghi brani in cui il suono sembra addirittura riflettere su sé stesso, facendo venire a mancare il tramite umano e sconfinando in una purezza quasi assoluta. La prima suite in tracklist, “Aurea”, dilata frammenti di melodia sviluppandone singole determinazioni interne fino a trasformarli in droni, affiancati da vicino ma separati quanto basta per generare una vasta gamma di sfumature su una medesima tonalità-base. Uno sviluppo ciclico all'inseguimento costante (e infinito) di un orizzonte, che si materializza solo al sopraggiungere del silenzio.

    Diverso è l'approccio alla base della seconda suite, “Opium”, in cui invece il procedere si rivela lineare, con l'acquisizione progressiva di nuovi elementi. Il ronzio dilatato dei primi minuti sfuma lentamente in un'armonia lontana in costante avvicinamento, visivamente paragonabile a una luce che si fa sempre più intensa e percettibile. Qui il percorso muove a cavallo di due singole sfumature, andando a scoprire una gran varietà sonora anche all'interno di un intervallo più omogeneo, racchiusa proprio nel movimento, nell'impalpabile dinamismo.

    Nonostante la sua analisi faccia apparire la natura del disco studiata e razionale, “Saigon” è un lavoro centrato su quello stesso istinto che governa, a conti fatti, anche la ragione e le sue dinamiche, nonché gli oggetti e le modalità della riflessione. Un gioiello che regala, nell'era del soundscape, della percezione sensibile e del suono come componente chiave di un ambiente sensorialmente tangibile, una modalità diversa e ugualmente cangiante di fare musica atmosferica.  

  12. So What

    Immaginatevi immersi in un paesaggio di straordinaria bellezza. Attorno a voi tutto comunica armonia, ogni dettaglio che man mano scoprite vi rinnova un costante ed immutabile senso di benessere. “Saigon” potremmo raccontarlo attraverso questa immagine. Autori della narrazione sono due giovani artisti italiani, Marco Marzuoli e Alessandro Sergente, d’istanza  in Abruzzo che compongono sotto la sigla How To Cure Our Soul, vero e proprio progetto audio-visual incentrato sulla costruzione di paesaggi sonori.

    Il disco è pubblicato dalla Audiobulb Records, casa discografica di Sheffield che si propone come catalizzatore di giovani e talentuosi autori dediti alla sperimentazione.

    “Saigon” è un’eterea narrazione divisa in due lunghe tracce, entrambe incentrate su un nucleo centrale costituito da una modulazione sonora  senza soluzione di continuità, sulla quale si innestano lievi interferenze, che senza turbarne il senso di equilibrio, riescono ad aggiungere dettaglio e costruire una sorta di scansione ritmica nel loro lento fluire. In “aurea” è la luce ad essere protagonista. Si ha  la sensazione di essere immersi in una dimensione senza tempo e gravità. “Opium” invece, pur mantenendo la stessa linea sensoriale, si tinge di atmosfere più cupe, più consone ad una lunga notte dalla quale lasciarsi avvolgere assaporandone il senso di mistero.

    È un viaggio all’insegna dell’astrazione, della ricerca di un mondo perfetto nel quale rifugiarsi per perdersi e poi ritrovarsi con rinnovata linfa vitale.  

  13. The New Noise

    How To Cure Our Soul nasce come progetto solista di Marco Marzuoli (abbiamo già parlato del primo disco, uscito per Setola Di Maiale di Stefano Giust), al quale si è aggiunto poi Alessandro Sergente. Entrambi sono abruzzesi ed entrambi si muovono in un ambito interdisciplinare, per questo, quando cercherete più informazioni su di loro, scoprirete anche una controparte visiva del suono.

    Dove sta Saigon, piena di sole ma sfocata da smog e umidità? Forse da qualche parte nei pressi del remix diafano di “Spangle” dei Seefeel firmato dagli Autechre (regalato a tutto il mondo da un famosissimo negozio on line) e di “Thursday Afternoon” di Brian Eno. Si tratta di un paragone vero solo in parte (vale più per la prima traccia), ma pare chiara l’intenzione dei due di giungere il più essenziali possibile, così come quella di scontornare e sfumare i drone spesso quasi impalpabili che coincidono coi due pezzi su questo disco appena uscito per Audiobulb. Classico album in cui immergersi cuffiati, seguendo pensieri sparsi e indefiniti, così come il sound consciamente imperfetto di Saigon. Entrambi sono troppo scafati come ascolti, quindi sanno bene di non proporre qualcosa di nuovo, ma questa è appunto una cura per l’anima: deve funzionare, non sorprendere.

  14. Beach Sloth

    How To Cure Our Soul’s “Saigon” explores the lo-fi that defines the world. The two pieces sprawl into the infinite. Due to their quiet nature they are able to convey quite a bit through their sonic limitations. Analog, digital, these two elements intertwine throughout the pieces. Seemingly repetitive at first the evolution of the sound is outright incredible. Every little detail of the sound is captured, lovingly: from the creak of the sounds to the waning fidelity of the recording. By incorporating the small pieces they are able to create something significant. 

    “Aurea” starts from near silence. Throughout the track the layered sounds fall on top of each other. Deep listening is required to fully appreciate the textures that emerge out of this comfortable journey. Calm, almost sedate in its gentle oscillations, the piece is the kinder of the two tracks. The piece cycles through the same phrases slowing building upon them as if it is learning a new language. “Saigon” takes a dramatically different tone on the harsher “opium”. Aptly named “opium” possesses a cruel kind of numbness. Indebted to early industrial music the piece churns along with a great deal of distortion helping it along. Melody hides within these ominous tones. The piece’s shift is very subtle yet by the end the darkened pitch gains an additional layer of anxiety. 

    “Saigon” offers two journeys: one down through the light and the other through the darkness. Both are necessary to appreciate the contrast.