Andrea Belfi
“Between Neck & Stomach”

Häpna H.29, CD
6 tracks, 38 minutes
Listen to: “Sandglass” 
Reviews of “Between Neck & Stocmach”
Release date: September 2006

Andrea Belfi was born in 1979. He has been playing drums since the age of fourteen. He studied art in Milan and has been working in the experimental music field since 2000. In 2002 AB embarked on a vast project, which, in time, would become Between Neck & Stomach. The first recordings took place at Valerio Tricoli's (member of 3/4HadBeenEliminated) house in Bologna.

Between Neck & Stomach is grounded on two core elements: the first is the material collected during the unique experiment of turning a house into "a living creature with its own voice" (just one example: a synth emitting one continuous note shaking a cupboard filled with pots, pans and plates). The second core element is the choice of just one thematic note per song, around which each track is built and balanced.

In this challenging album the acoustic elements and the electronic ones mingle, intertwine and sometimes switch places: the acoustic sounds are treated as they were electronic, and the actual electronic ones are played at the very moment. Rhythmic patterns go beyond the mere beat as AB shapes them in cycles, ever-circling but ever-changing, both reassuring and surprising. This album sketches imaginary landscapes where drums, guitars and voices blend into a bunch of eclectic tracks, which, in spite of their radical minimalist roots, are definitively worthy of the name 'songs'.

Andrea Belfi's skills in composing and editing is electro acoustic works were clearly perceivable in his 2002 debut album, Ned n°2, warmly welcomed and well reviewed by magazines such as The Wire, Bananafish, Sound Projector.


THE WIRE (December 2006)

The Italian underground has been gathering strength these past few years, with the Fringes and Bovindo labels documenting key sides from Giuseppe Ielasi, Valerio Tricoli, Domenico Sciano and Alessandro Bosetti, while American label Last visibile Dog has released solo disc by Renato Rinaldi and Stefano Pilia. In additino, several great groups have stemmed from the friendship between these players, includine the elecroacoustic of Oreledigneur and the concrete rock of Medves and 3/4HadBeenEliminated.

Andrea Belfi is a member of both Medves and Rosolina Mar, and Between Neck And Stomach is his second solo album, featuring contributions from Tricoli and Pilia. These artists share an interest in mapping the space between rock, electroacoustic, improvvisation and weightless songs of figures like Graham Sutton and Mark Hollis. Between Neck And Stomach feels like the contiuation of one particolar interface of song and sound, following in the footstep of This Heat, Talk Talk’s final two albums and Dean Roberts’s The Black Moths Play The Grand Cinema.

Belfi’s compositions work through various tableaux. The album is fortified by it’s conceptual underpinnings, namely the activation of a house as a musical instrument, and the arrangement of each song around one note. Belfi uses these structural conceits as opportunities, not endpoints:over its ten minutes, “Extraevil” departs its introductory blasts of martial drumming and lonesome melodica, knitting spiderwebs of guitar around pregnant silences. The clatter of percussion and household objects scores the album, unsettling the percolatine drones that rumbe through the disc. The real victory of Belfi’s astonishing record is the ease of its cohabitation of melody and experiment. Few do it so well.

Jon Dale



Some weeks ago I visited an evening at Extrapool which I anticipated very much. 3/4Hadbeeneliminated played, together with Fear Falls Burning and Andrea Belfi. I very much looked forward to the first, but was disappointed by their loud volume which took away the tension of the music, the second was very consistent in his high quality but it was Belfi who blew me away. He closed the evening of loud music, with something that was the entire opposite. Playing drums and some ancient synthesizer it was as sparse as it was beautiful. You can imagine that I picked his CD out to play first from the three new releases on Häpna. How much I like the CD, it's not what I heard at the concert. Here he plays along with a lot of people, playing guitar, slide guitar, drums and various big band like sounds (wind instruments and such). It seems to me that the material is generated by methods of improvisation, but in the stage of mixing elements have been added or deleted, so that a less improvised sounding and more coherent, even composed record was made. It's not that I'm disappointed with this at all, it is just sounding so different from the concert. It took various rounds of playing this before it unfolded it's beauty. A lot of small things happen on this album. Explorations of one note, getting expanded upon. Acoustics and electronics mingle in a very delicate and gentle way, making it at times very hard to tell the difference between the two. In all a great release, fitting very well on the Häpna label and perhaps next time the real solo thing?

Frans De Waard



Italian musician Andrea Belfi has come up with something truly wonderful on his second album ‘Between Neck & Stomach’. Originally trained as a drummer, Belfi created this album over the last four years using two key ideas; the first was that he felt the house he was recording in should be a “living creature with its own voice”. By that he meant that if he was playing something in a room which would cause vibrations or a specific sound, all that should be recorded and emphasized – so you might hear pots and pans rattling as a synthesizer note resonates, or the specific reverb from a bathroom used as the primary part of a track. The other idea was that each piece should be based around one thematic note around which the rest of the track is built. This might sound limiting but over the course of six tracks Belfi shows just how far he can take these themes and how he can mould them to fit his needs. On ‘Extraevil’ what begins as a raucous and frenetic percussion and melodica track halfway through strips down to almost nothing, just a rumble of toms, the melodica drone and the tremble of guitar strings, elsewhere ‘Her Own Desert’ takes a Thomas Koner-style cavernous drone and punctuates it with metallic sounds and bizarre field recordings. The album comes to a close with ‘Footprints’, probably the most traditional sounding track of the six, but it is no less expressive or indeed impressive than the rest. Building melancholy melodies around a glassy hit note and gorgeous percussion this could be the soundtrack to countless European films - in itself an apt summation of all the themes Belfi has approached and mastered over the course of this intriguing album. An engrossing and striking record and one which will lodge itself in your memories for a long time to come.



Rosalina Mar's drummer Andrea Belfi has delivered with Between Neck & Stomach an album of delicate sound constructions in tune with Häpna's unwritten aesthetics: dreamy sound pieces sitting restlessly between abstract constructs and pastoral tunes, electronic treatments and folk music on the porch at sunset. Belfi being a drummer, it should be no surprise if percussion occupies the center stage throughout the album, from the ominous snare drum-pressed roll of "Sandglass" to the treated metal cling-clangs of "Sleeping with Extraevil." The other main instruments are harmonium (evoking previous Häpna releases signed or involving Andreas Berthling), guitar (evoking Giuseppe Ielasi's two Häpna CD's), and voice, all wrapped up in electronics ranging from a gentle popcorn to harsh wails. Belfi's music is attuned to the label's artistic direction, fine, but it also follows its own course. In that regard, the 11-minute "Extraevil" provides a highlight, for its careful pacing, immersive mood and highly skilled composition. On the other hand, "Sleeping with Extraevil" feels somewhat more predictable, plus the start-stop samples, loop-driven structure and overall sound palette simply get too close to Ielasi's territory for comfort. Thankfully, "Sandglass," "Footprints" and the aforementioned "Extraevil" all showcase a talented composer with a fresh voice. Also working for Between Neck & Stomach are its smooth listening curve, thematic unity, immersive quality, and short duration, all factors that make it easy to listen to in one sitting, despite the demanding nature of the music.

François Couture



My favorite albums from the last quarter of 2006 — Jandek’s Glasgow Monday, Tim Hecker’s Harmony in Ultraviolet, Sunn O))) and Boris’s Altar, The Drones’ Gala Mill, Alexander Tucker’s Furrowed Brow — have all used a similar technique to catch my attention. In each record, chaotic elements — drones, atonal guitar, feedback, electronically produced overtones — are corralled into rich, architectural songs. And now Between Neck & Stomach, the second full-length by Italy-based electroacoustic musician Andrea Belfi, comes along and pulls the same stunt remarkably well. Fuck, some blogger’s going to hear this and swear that a new genre has arrived.

In comparison to the other albums I’ve mentioned, though, Belfi leaves much more room for chance. Some of his percussive tracks come from a cupboard of cookware vibrated by a one-note synthesizer drone. The real drums on "Extraevil" also sound animated by inhuman forces, sounding like a series of solos from 1960s free-jazz drummer Sunny Murray run through a shredder and hot-glued back together. And when "Sleeping with Extraevil" fizzles into an electroacoustic horror house after a few minutes of melody (melody via spliced vocal fragments and gentle guitar feedback, but still melody), it’s as if Belfi acknowledges that his interest in preserving the illusion of order is extremely limited.

Like composer Ekkehard Ehler or labelmate Giuseppe Ielasi, Belfi makes these derailments count. All of these artists seem driven by the knowledge that you can set out to make a Laughing Stock and very easily end up with a ( ), that attempts at fragile beauty can quickly become overly precious aural wallpaper. In the case of "Footprints," a few dabs of pink noise prevent a mélange of vintage synths, mischievous slide guitar, sinewy bass, and syncopated percussion from drifting toward groove-oriented, Tortoise-y sleekness. Perhaps there’s a problem here; maybe good composers don’t have to undercut themselves to avoid sounding too polished. When Belfi’s at his best, though — when Richard Youngs-ish vocals, a never-ending drum roll, electric guitar shards, and shortwave radio signals collide in "Sandglass" — the question of which sounds are working with and against one another evaporates. It’s hard to imagine that song developing any other way.

Using the illogical to "enhance" the logical often becomes an overly abstract, even academic exercise — ever tried slogging through a volume of Lacan? Belfi’s made all the right "wrong" choices in Between Neck & Stomach, though. Perhaps the album’s element of chaos isn’t supposed to offset clever arrangements — maybe it’s there to draw our attention away from the innately spiritual harmony that arises when perfect and imperfect mesh so fully.

P Funk



We’ve had our share in accessible music for the last few weeks, so now it’s back to experimental stuff. One CD that got my attention was 27 year old Italian artist Andrea Belfi’s “Between Neck and Stomach“. He’s been playing drums since he was 14, that gives you enough time to get bored of playing it the conventional way for sure!.

“Between Neck & Stomach is grounded on two core elements: the first is the material collected during the unique experiment of turning a house into “a living creature with its own voice” (just one example: a synth emitting one continuous note shaking a cupboard filled with pots, pans and plates). The second core element is the choice of just one thematic note per song, around which each track is built and balanced.”

Apart from the conceptual framework of the music, what really grabs you is the ambience from the beginning, the constant tension in “Sandglass” by Belfi’s snare and single guitar hits paint a truly picturesque scene. It’s dark but not spooky, doesn’t tell a story yet it’s totally cinematic. The last song, “Footprints” is more accessible and not as abstract as the rest of the album, which left me wanting more from both sides of his musical spectrum. Should easily be one of the top electro accoustic albums of 2006.

Let me also talk about Häpna, the label which presents us Andrea Belfi’s album and a slew of mp3s for download on their official site and is also selling their back catalogue through Klicktrack for 5.5E an album, which is a bargain. I’ve also gotten the “A Taste of Ra” album, which is some strange freaky folk psych, electronica melting pot. The offkey and offtopic flutes and symphonic samples in “37 Turns ‘Round You” sums up an interesting collage piece. Buy the album you won’t be disappointed.

Some other stuff for free download by electronica artists Tape, glitch / laptop music pioneer Pita, weird moog-pop/folk songs by Sagor & Swing, prepared piano/IDM by Hans Appelqvist and more are up on the page, so check & buy some music from these Swedes.



Working on the recordings bound to become an album for four years is an enormous feat, showing passion and will and a distinct  stubborness of following what artistic vision tells you to do. When reading that Andrea Belfi's second album "between neck and stomach" took four  years to be recorded, mixed and produced I had to think about David Lynch's debut movie "Eraserhead", which was also five years in the  making, with many weeks and months of pauses in between, when money ran out and things got in the way. But both works of art, the one musical the other cinematic, have some tings in commen apart from the remarkably long period of production. Mainly, both carve out their own worlds, one visually and the  other auditively, that are both superficially derived from the habits and common practices of their expected audience but also challengingly avant-garde in their overall making. Both also seem to be revolving around  themselves, as if the world carved out is also the centre of gravitation, the centre of the whole universe. This, at the one hand, effects a feeling  of staying still and non-movement, which is only dissolved by forcefully looking back and counting the changes afterwards. But during the movie / record / songs the feeling is as if things stood still for ever.

Andrea Belfi started playing drums as a kid, and still the drums are of a lot of importance on "between neck & stomach". They are not mixed into the foreground as in big beat music or weirdly a rhythmical as the genius free form jazz music of Sinistri (check "free puls" for more info, also on Häpna) but they provide a unique  backdrop to the minimalist pop-songs come avantgarde tracks on this record. They spread in the back with the use of a lot of rolls on the drums that put emotion and sensibility in the focus instead of heaviness. On top of that  there are quite large number of instruments manipulated by electronic means  and electronic means played as instruments. The production notes put special emphasis on the fact that the house Belfi was residing in was also used as a recording tool, almost as an instrument, but that, in my opinion is going too far. The usage of echo and reverbing outside noises is quite unique, but from the music alone it is hard to say were it comes from - the house, the  mics or some digital effect added during? Or after the recording? These differences are becoming harder and harder to separate, but one of the main messages of this record might be that thes differences don't count for  anything anymore. They don't matter anymore. This is the electro-acoustic century, let's get over it. Let's get it on.

The atmosphere of distance and of detachment is remaining all through the varied tracks. The instruments fuse in their own sacred brew and mix time, rhythm and arrangement throughout. Nothing stays the same for longer than a few moments and then some more. Cues are taken from modern classical composing, fusion jazz, avantnoise and electronic programming from all  sides. Sometimes there are hints at rather akward sources, such as the pressed vocals during "Sleeping with extra evil" that can't decide  between New Age in their search for harmony and Diamanda Galas in their search for distortion. There are parts closer to harmonic doodling, were you expect the track to break into the jazzy theme of some mid Seventies tv series, and other moments that are pure electronic noise of the more hacked and subtle variety. The end of aformentioned "Sleeping Š" is a terrible scream and some frustrated real noise.The songs sound denser and more compact than my descirption, actually, but it is hard to describe  properly. Anyway, if the tracks want to convey a story or storyline each, then I wasn't able to decipher it. But I am on it. This fascinating little record makes you want to open its secret.



In the last ten or so years, vibrant and highly productive music micro-scenes have not only evolved in Finland, Belgium and the other usual suspects. Also Italy has caught up a lot. While I´m not familiar with all the intertwinings between the different musicians and groups, it seems like two major scenes have evolved. One is located in the Torino region and is centered around My Cat is an Alien and the Opalio brothers. The other seems to have its center in the Emilia Romana region and involves people like Giuseppe Ielasi, Valerio Tricoli, Stefano Pilia, Renato Rinaldi and also drummer Andrea Belfi whose new album on Häpna is not the first from an Italian artist on that label.

Next to pursuing his solo career, Andrea Belfi also plays in the group Medves alongside the above mentioned Ielasi, Pilia, Rinaldi as well as Riccardo Wanke, and Stefano Pilia with whom Belfi had already procuded a track for the fantastic “Invisible Pyramid” compilation actually appears on this album. Another interesting connection is that Häpna labelmates 3/4 Had Been Eliminated consisting of Pilia, Claudio Rochetti, Valerio Tricoli and Tony Arrabito almost entirely play on “Between Neck and Stomach”. Before it gets really boring and the confusion of Italian names will reach its peak, one last connection has to be pointed out. Valerio Tricoli and Giueseppe Ielasi also appeared on Dean Robert´s fantastic 2003 album “Be Mine Tonight” and at this point, all the names and groups and regions come together. Because if you would want to compare the sound of Andrea Belfi´s second album, you would not be able to pass Dean Roberts and his post White Winged Moth half-improvised art-pop.

Like the music of Dean Roberts, Belfi´s tunes go deep. There´s shuffling jazz inspired drumming and there are enough sonic waves to fill the Atlantic ocean. “Between Neck and Stomach” consists of two lengthy, two short and two mid-level tracks, all of which radiate a different kind of energy. Common to all of them is that they come and go in waves, not in a new agey kind of way, but mostly due to the harmonica or accordeon present on almost every track, respectively the wailing pedal steel guitar on “Footprints”. Even at those points when the music gets rather disturbing like half way through “Extra Evil” or during the shorter “Her Own Desert”, no feelings of anxiety prevail. Rather the soothing nature of Belfi´s music always remains. What is most stunning about “Between Neck and Stomach” is that the album is both easy to listen to as well as so incredibly deep that you can probably listen to it 100 times and still discover small details that you have not heard before.

8/10 --- Stephan Bauer



Il debutto su Häpna di Andrea Belfi è il frutto di un progetto di raccolta e assemblaggio iniziato già nel 2002 che, come tutte le opere elaborate per lungo tempo, porta con sé i segni di una lavorazione estremamente tormentata e una densità di sfumature e di dettagli notevole. E’ proprio la ricchezza di dettagli il punto forte di uno dei dischi più singolari che ci sia capitato di sentire da parecchio tempo a questa parte in ambito ‘avant’:”Between Neck and Stomach” è un’inafferrabile creatura sonora che elude ogni tentativo di incasellamento e che si articola nello spazio d’ascolto mostrando ogni volta un diverso aspetto della sua mutevolezza. Prestate attenzione a questi suoni da vicino, magari in cuffia, e scoprirete la lucidità percussiva di Belfi creare piccole concrezioni minuziose, cesellate con precisione di tempi e di intervalli (Sandglass o Extra Evil); lasciate respirare le stesse tracce nello spazio, a volumi alti e ascoltate da un’altra stanza, e sarete invece raggiunti da suggestioni cinematiche, dilatazioni percettive e inconsueti punti di fuga. In Sleeping With Extra Evil, complici i 3/4HadbeenEliminated, Belfi mette su una mini suite obliqua, magma vociante di melodie rifratte e amalgami assurdi. Assieme a Stefano Pilia apre invece il disco con un pezzo che rasenta lo scultoreo nella sua fissità allucinata: enigmatico quanto basta, e pieno di promesse.

Daniela Cascella


SODAPOP (Ottobre 2006)

Belfi ormai inizia ad esser un nome conosciuto, ma per quelli di voi che non sapessero nulla dei suoi CDR solisti e di questo nuovo episodio in pompa magna su Häpna, stiamo parlando dell'uomo che siede e sedeva dietro le pelli di Rosolina Mar, 3/4 Had Been Eliminated (e i Gilda per quei pochi che che come me possiedono il 7"). A scanso di equivoci i dischi solisti di Belfi non hanno nulla a che fare con i gruppi rock da cui proviene, anzi, nel caso specifico di Between Neck And Stomach si può tranquillamente parlare di avant-psichedelia, morbida, depressa e in piuttosto minimale. La maggioranza delle tracce si sviluppa progressivamente ed in modo molto tranquillo: batterie, voci, fisarmoniche, armoniche, rumori acustici e/o concreti, tastiere, molte chitarre e malinconia senza troppa parsimonia. Sia per l'effetto globale che per il gusto nella produzione (non a caso affidata a Valerio Tricoli oltre che a Belfi), o vuoi per le melodie, mi vengono in mente alcune delle cose più morbide dei This Heat, dei Faust e dei Can. Citare questi tre gruppi è un po' come dire tutto e niente, però mi sento di aggiungere che i nostri fricchettoni quando volevano rendersi ascoltabili portavano in aree non così distanti da quelle di questo cd. Belfi non è che l'ultimo di una nutrita schiera di italiani atterrati in terra di Svezia e se la strada è stata aperta dai Sinistri (ex-Stafuckers), gli altri baldi incursori sono stati Giuseppe Ielasi ed i 3/4 Had Been Eliminated. Non tutte le tracce di Belfi vanno a colpo sicuro, nonostante ciò si tratta di un ascolto piacevole ma allo contempo interessante, credo che brilli di alcuni momenti incredibilmente ispirati di cui Footprints ne è un buon esempio. Si tratta di materiale che giustamente ha dignità di stare all'estero e su di un'etichetta di tutto rispetto: se vi stavate domandando se si trattava di un italiano qualunque? No, non è un italiano qualunque.


SANDSZINE (Ottobre 2006)

Una costola dei 3/4hadbeeneliminated che fugge a tempi di rullante.

Andrea Belfi è personaggio molto frequentato nell'underground italiano, ora elettroacustico ed ora rock. "Between neck & stomach", per quanto ne so io, è il frutto di un lavoro molto travagliato e forse gelosamente custodito nei suoi cassetti, dato che l'arco temporale della sua composizione si estende dal 2002 al 2005, ed è probabilmente il prodotto di diverse riprese. Il disco è stato sviluppato in un periodo: - 2003 -, in cui iXem appariva come scena elettroacustica collettiva, unica ma principalmente pluralistica, periodo in qualche modo susseguito da una serie di esperienze molteplici che hanno visto il consolidarsi di molte realtà italiane che hanno pubblicato all'estero, e che l'hanno fatto sganciandosi in buona parte dai meandri di basse frequenze droniche che quella prima realtà/emanazione di "Superfici sonore" conteneva. Buona parte di quei musicisti che al tempo avevano già pubblicato, o stavano per pubblicare qualcosa, hanno abbandonato i panni di impegnati escursionisti del lowercase per impugnare strumenti acustici, folk, con un pallino principale: riscrivere, sempre con un apporto computeristico, un nuovo modo di riscrivere la massa sonora: vale a dire l'elaborazione di una forma compiuta di 'canzone', l'interesse per la costruzione armonica, l'innesto percussivo e molto altro. Si tratta di un fenomeno che ha preso piede non a caso con il primo 3/4hadbeeneliominated, poi si è manifestato in talune opere del Rocchetti, del Pilia, di Rinaldi, di Ielasi... Quello che prima era l'uso di uno strumento o di un ambiente soltanto, si è fatto carico di un quantitativo di tecniche, di modi, di strumentazioni sempre più varie, tra analogia, musica digitale, riassestamento computeristico, field recordings, dando vita ad una vera e propria manifestazione materica che si sta a sua volta agganciando ad un fenomeno mondiale che è la riscoperta del folk, l'interessamento al tribalismo, alla techno, all'elettroacustica intesa come riadornamento spaziale del suono. E Belfi appartiene a tutto ciò perché questo suo lavoro, nonostante i tempi di progettazione, che forse presagivano molto anticipatamente quanto citato, esce solo ora, e non suona 'vecchio'. A differenza del 3⁄4, la batteria percossa da Belfi, si fa più dinamica: materia d'accompagnamento ma anche sorgente di funzione lirica, e considerandone i collaboratori, potrebbe non a caso, essere un ulteriore disco, né più bello né più brutto del 3/4hadbeeneliminated. È un disco che si muove tra sfumature non troppo lisergiche, dislocazioni microfoniche che lo rendono spazializzante e con profondi effetti di tridimensionalità, intecci chitarristici liberi con molte pause riflessive. Un disco in parte improvvisato, in parte più umano e fragile di quelli citati e che lascia spazio al lowercasing o al tuorato max/msp se non una parte marginale o di missaggio, in favore dell’intero lavoro 'fisico' che c'è dietro. Da segnalare lo sliding enormemente ispirato dell'ultimo pezzo e gli interi fraseggi di batteria hawaiana. E tutto il lavoro di Tricoli in veste di produzione, che era lo stesso che aveva reso il Kranky di Dean Roberts un gran lavoro (dal momento che ascoltato dal vivo, in solo, faceva piangere!).




L’improvvisazione a misura d’uomo, quello che caratterizza il lavoro di Andrea Belfi è la pura espressività delle tracce mnemoniche, il giro di vite esperenziale. Il quadro sonoro del batterista di Rosolina Mar e ¾ Had Been Eliminated è la trasposizione di luoghi immaginari dove sia il protagonista-ascoltatore che la musica stessa vengono trafitti e fusi assieme e trasportati all’interno della matrice batteristica di rara ecletticità del Belfi, capace di trasportare attivamente qualunque brano come di posarsi sullo sfondo per lasciare spazio ad una musica evanescente e melanconica. Tutto quello che si vive in qualche modo si ricorda, tutto quello che si ricorda prima poi torna a vivere e non c’è nessuna continuità logica nel viaggio: quello di ‘Beetween Neck And Stomach’ pare essere il diaro sconnesso delle nostre radici storiche e non, sinestetico nella misura in cui il suono si trasforma in località vere e proprie fatte di fiati, piccoli rintocchi di chitarra, ritmi tribali, marce arrese, feste a New Orleans, riti oscuri hawaiani. La batteria di Belfi è curiosa e zingara e ci rende partecipi del suo vagare e forse non c’è cosa più bella di seguire le rotte casuali della memoria e della libertà. Non fate l’errore di lasciarvi sfuggire questo disco.

Giorgio Pace


andrea belfi est un jeune musicien dont le dernier projet constiste à jouer litéralement avec sa maison, lieu où il enregistre ses musiques. on entend le frigo résonner et tutti quanti. c'est superbe, très bien spacialisé, avec des accords de guitare entre ennio morriconne et fred frith et des vocalises vraiment prenantes. son nouveau disque between neck and stomach vient de sortir chez hapna (très bon label, décidément). une découverte.



De muziek die op het Zweedse label Häpna houden over het algemeen het midden tussen muziek en pure kunst. Releases van Tape, Anders Dahl, Pita en Sinistri passen daar allemaal bij. Nu is er een nieuwe bij, te weten de Italiaanse muzikant Andrea Belfi die op het label debuteert met zijn tweede cd Between Neck & Stomach. Hij werkt met eenvoudige middelen, een enkele noot om daar vervolgens van alles over heen te bouwen of een rinkelende vaat of druipende kopjes die hij dan bewerkt en verwerkt. Vooral die geluiden in zijn huis spelen een grote rol. Niet alleen de bestaande geluiden, maar ook de geluiden die gegenereerd worden als hij een instrument in een bepaalde ruimte speelt. Hiermee maakt hij een avant-gardistische hutspot, waarin klassieke flarden, ambient, musique concrète, jazz en filmische elementen terug komen. Veel lijkt op geïmproviseerde wijze aaneengelast te zijn, nummers zonder kop en staart. Aan de ander kant lopen er ook weer gecomponeerde stukken doorheen. Het zit weer tussen muziek en pure kunst en tussen hoofd en hart. Erg sterk is het 11,5 minuut duren “Extraevil”, waarin een soort Ennio Morricone-achtige sfeer wordt neergezet met mondharmonica en orgel, terwijl de jazzy percussie richting Tied+Tickled Trio koert. In de laatste track krijg je een prachtige gearrangeerd toetje, wat het meest in de buurt van een normaal nummer komt. Het is een caleidoscopische mix van de eerder genoemden en Tape, Tim Hecker, Thomas Köner en Dean Roberts. Belfi schept een wondere, intieme wereld vol knap gevonden combinaties.



Andrea Belfi unternimmt mit Between Neck And Stomach die unglaubliche Anstrengung, nach Songstrukturen in einem Niemandsland zu suchen. Frei von Definitionen verliert sich das, was unter Musik laufen soll, in einem Grauschleier aus minimalistischen Klangexperimenten.

Extraevil ist der Soundtrack ohne Bilder, eine Mikrostudie ohne Sehhilfe. Akribisch ausgewählte Einzellaute vereinigen sich zu einem Orchester der Heterogenität, die in ihrer Strukturlosigkeit eine Einheit bilden, um geschlossen ins Leere zu laufen. Verirrte Stimme gesellen sich bei Sleeping With Extraevil hinzu. Beunruhigend scheinen Fingerspitzen im Sprint immer schneller über schlechte gespannte Trommelfelle zu trippeln. Der Wahnsinn liegt direkt daneben. Ein schriller Fiepton zerschneidet Song und Verstand. Durchgehend auf jede Art von Melodie verzichtend, dekonstruiert sich Andrea Belfi selbst. Mit Mitteln der Zerstörung wird in Her Own Desert ein bewusst zerstörter Song geschaffen, der sich jedem Verständnis entzieht. Wenn wenig klingt und vieles lärmt, muss man sich zwingend die Sinnfrage stellen.

Between Neck And Stomach verwehrt sich jedem Versuch der Interpretation und bleibt so ohne jede Anleitung, ohne bewegte Bilder für den Hörer unverständlich und damit auch vollkommen unzugänglich. Welche künstlerischen Ambitionen Andrea Belfi auch gehabt haben mag, für den Rezipienten ist dies nicht mehr und nicht weniger als eine Zumutung.

Nina Heitele



ANDREA BELFI Between Neck & Stomach (Häpna, H.29):  Der italienische Schlagzeuger verdankt seine Häpna-Connection vermutlich seinen Landsleuten von 3/4HadBeenEliminated. Die ersten Aufnahmen für Belfis Zweitling fanden schließlich in der Wohnung von deren Soundarchitekten Valerio Tricoli in Bologna statt. Anders aber als  deren ziemlich säuseliges A year of the aural gauge operation (H.26) beeindruckt  der 27-jährige Veroneser, optisch übrigens ein bärtiger Renaissancetyp mit stahlblauem Condottiereblick, mit Musik, die von ihrem perkussiven Zentrum mit akustischen und elektronischen Tentakeln transgressiv ausgreift. Gastmusiker und Samples geben dem Ganzen Fleisch, aber es ist Belfis Geist, der für die surreale Verformung von Raum und Zeit sorgt. Nicht sehr begabt zum Asketentum, malt er sich erst seine Wüsten und dann auch gleich die Versuchungen. Die inneren Widersprüche werden zelebriert, so wenn beim fast 12-minütigen Meisterstück ’Extraevil' rockiges Drumming von Melodica- und Akkordeonwehmut gekreuzt wird oder dunkles Paukenkollern von verträumter Gitarre und Harmonika. ’Broken Shoes' wird von Bigbandklangschüben aufgebohrt und durchgeistert. Klackernde Percussion und Singsang begleiten die Wiederbegegnung mit Belfis Sukkubus bei ’Sleeping with Extraevil', das zwischendurch zur nur noch knisternden Mikrophonie ausgezehrt wird, bevor noisige  Schübe für die Wiederbelebung und sonore Drones für Beruhigung sorgen. Nichts ist hier nicht faltig und mehrschichtig. Bei ’Her Own Desert' scheinen Klingen aneinander zu klirren, Martial Art, die sich als Cutup von Radiowellen und arhythmischem Händeklatschen weiter spinnt und nahtlos übergeht in das pinkfloydeske Gitarrenintro von ’Footprints', das sich als unerwartet grooviges Postrockinstrumental stabilisiert. Häpna hat nach Sinistri und Ielasi mit Belfi einen weiteren Glücksgriff getan, einmal mehr in Italien.



Andrea Belfi ist Trommler und mehrere Titel des Albums werden auch von seinem kraftvoll repetetiven Schlagzeugspiel beherrscht. Das ist aber nur eine Seite seiner Musik, denn seine Tracks drehen sich meist nnerhalb von fünf bis zehn Minuten mehrmals um die eigene Achse und verändern komplett langsam und fast unmerklich ihr Gesicht. Das Spektrum der verwendeten Klangquellen ist äußerst vielseitig, er benutzt Mundharmonika, Akkordeon, Bottleneck-Gitarre, Gesang, Keyboards und Bläser gleichberechtigt neben konkreten Geräuschen und Field Recordings, arbeitet dabei mit folkigen Arrangements sowie harsche Verzerrungen und dubbigen Ambienrsounds. Interessante Hörstücke zwischen Song und Hörspiel.

Rated 5/5