Atomic City

atomic city.jpg
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Catalog Number




Dark Companion




980 | 500 hand-numbered


01. Atomic City 1 [8’27]

02. Atomic City 2 [9’17]

03. Atomic City 3 [8’45]

04. Atomic City 4 [8’55]

05. Atomic City 5 [9’34]


Renato Ciunfrini: clarinet

Vincenzo Ramaglia: electronics



about Vincenzo Ramaglia

Vincenzo Ramaglia is a Roman composer active in contemporary music experimentation and in what he calls PEM ("Popular Experimental Music").

After the academic training - at the end of which he wins the TIM (Tournoi International de Musique) with an orchestral work - his music research insinuates itself into the alchemy between score and improvisation, between electronics, acoustic instruments (often investigated in their extended techniques) and voice. He collaborates with exponents of the music avant-garde, including Massimo Ceccarelli (virtuoso of contemporary double-bass), Renato Ciunfrini (multi-instrumental improviser), Laure Le Prunenec (singer of the French group Igorrr).

Between various Italian universities and academies, he carries on a parallel activity of teacher, musicologist specialized in audiovisual aesthetics and education on music applied to images. He is also director of the Griffith Academy of Cinema and Television in Rome, where he is educational manager of the Film and Video Soundtrack course.

He composes the soundtrack of "Ore 2: calma piatta" by Marco Pontecorvo (Mikado Film), with John Turturro (Nastro d’Argento 2003).

In 2004 he publishes "The sound and the image: music, voice, noise and silence in the film" (Dino Audino Editore).


"Atomic City" is the fourth album by Vincenzo Ramaglia, landing of a long research path that begins more than ten years earlier and is marked by the three recording projects before this unexpected electronic turn.


In 2007, the critics defines his first CD, "Formaldeide" (score for flute, clarinet, sax and piano), as a "place of impossible meeting between Coleman Hawkins and Salvatore Sciarrino" (Michele Coralli, Blow Up), and also as an interesting attempt - "erudite and at the same time approachable, [...] antithetic to some piano pop, pimp and intimist, with contemporary pretensions" (Vittore Baroni, Rumore) - to reach an ideal "‘medietas’, right compromise between agreeableness and research" (Daniele Follero, Sentireascoltare).

Regarding the second CD, "Chimera" (2008, score for double-bass and loop station with improvisations of sax and drums), the critics talk about "bravery and obstinacy", and "an admirable interface at the zenith of the starry sky of intelligent and improvised jazz and new contemporary music" (Max Marchini, Rockerilla), about "aesthetics of the contrast" (Michele Coralli, Blow Up), about a "changeable dissonance between free and reiterated figures" (Vittore Baroni, Rumore), about a "union of very different kinds of music elements: the composed/interpreted and the improvised, the predetermined and the unexpected" (Zeno Gabaglio, Azione), about an "antidote" able to avoid "every banality, every possible easy way, with a singular purity of intent" and about "a disc ‘not for the faint of the heart’, but readable with the innocence of a child, or the competence of a wise man. Often the same thing" (Max Marchini, Ondarock).

"PVC smoking" (2011), his third CD, is an "IDM score" with improvisations, combining electronics, acoustic instruments (cello, bass clarinet and sax), fretless electric bass. In the opinion of the critics, "always moving with courage along the perilous boundaries between improvised and contemporary art music, light years from irritating diatonicisms and empty new ages, the young Roman composer distills a new masterpiece" (Max Marchini, Rockerilla), through "a schizophrenia that can probably become also a new synergy of listening" (Michele Coralli, Blow Up).


After seven years of reflection, silence, construction and deepening of an electronic setup without a computer, "Atomic City" is a surprise, an album finally naked, devoid of any score, but with an intricate maze of analogue sequences, composed on the machines as on a pentagram, almost in a thoughtful orchestral counterpoint, and manipulated in real time by the author, to which Renato Ciunfrini - already sax of "Chimera" and "PVC smoking" - this time reacts with clarinetist improvisations. In a sense, "Atomic City" is the promised land of all the peregrinations and breaks that precede it. The synthesis - unexpectedly coherent and explosive in his unprecedented language - of a vast collection of seemingly contradictory urgencies. And it is, in fact, PEM. Popular Experimental Music.


The words of Vincenzo Ramaglia confirm that: "I have always aspired to a music that can integrate experimentation and approachability. I think that to experiment does not necessarily mean to bore or to distress the listener: you can also experiment by blanding the ear, not just wounding it. to experiment, in my opinion, means to pursue - and therefore to determine - the present day by day (rather than to lean nostalgically on the past or opportunistically on the already felt). I’m not a big lover of ‘four-on-the-floor’, so when I embraced the electronics I immersed myself in more restless, schizophrenic, elusive contemporary rhythms. Drill’n’bass, breakcore, glitch... Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, Autechre, Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda... All artists who do a great deskwork of editing to produce their phantasmagoric and always changing sound textures, a work that is often masterly and of great impact for me. The challenge is: to recreate with my hands that same ‘organized restlessness’, but in an impromptu way, without editing, treating the machines as musical instrument. Maybe also for this reason, the clarinet of Renato (whose improvisations have always evoked me the paintings-sculptures with destroyed instruments of Arman), in ‘Atomic City’, crosses the threshold of the acoustic instrument, interpenetrating into my electronics, whose slippery rhythm - in turn - often suddenly dissolves and leaves room for the most impalpable rarefaction. Like a pendulum that oscillates, decomposed and humoral, between a crazy drum machine and the meditative tintinnabulum by Arvo Pärt. Between the most intricate and cramped gear of a clock and the bare vastness of a desert. ‘Atomic City’ is the result of these walks in another, unknown place. Impossible ridge between two antipodes. And that is how, several years ago, I perceived that ghost town of Idaho - Atomic City, in fact - which gives the title to the album. A place of consciousness. A non-place. Abandoned but inhabited (by two souls who run a bar). Forgot but kept alive. Remote but familiar. A handful of houses, ruined signs, vestiges, that few know, reached as a coveted and improbable destination, like a new planet, through hours and hours of driving in routes that cleave the nothing".

Here is a video for you of "Atomic City 5" from Atomic City