Despite a long series of reissues and rediscoveries that are throwing the ultimate light on one of the most fascinating and enigmatic periods of Italian music history – that of sonifications – the project that goes by the name Braen’s Machine continues to evade categorization, and positive information. If you are among the many who got their hands on the beautiful “Underground”, republished by Schema a few months ago, you will already know of the involvement of, among others, Piero Umiliani, Alessandro Alessandroni – the name Braen seems to be his alias – and Oronzo (Rino) De Filippi, real name of the other credited author, the mysterious Gisleri. For this new chapter from Braen’s Machine, the beautiful and hard to come by “Quarta Pagina (Poliziesco)”, published apparently in 300 copies, there are few available pieces of information, pointing to an involvement of Giuliano Sorgini, hidden under the name of Raskovich, and author of five out of the eleven tracks on the release.
The lack of reliable information and the enigmatic flavor surrounding the project Braen’s Machine, as opposed to the ease with which the music allows us instant identification, are among the secrets that make their records unique. Unlike “Underground”, “Quarta pagina” portrays with great skill some possible – who knows if they ever have been realized – crime scenes, with hard-boiled and dark atmospheres, alternating with the psych funk rides that have always characterized many of the projects related to the Italian cinematic genre. All this without excluding, however, avant-garde attitudes and atonal passages that makes “Quarta pagina (Poliziesco)” comparable to the best pages of the Gruppo d’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
The track titles, fascinating as usual, tell of “Fraud”, “Shadowing”, “Remorse”, “Soliciting”, and emphasize decisive moments as in the case of “The Victim”, “On the Run” or “In Prison”, while the indications that accompany the pieces will be a treat for fanatical collectors of sonifications. It’s not that hard to imagine situations of “exotic full moon, preparation for a violent action, spiritualism, facing fear, sexual freedom, preparation for a revolt” while listening to these precious eleven tracks, which alternate between “slow and animated”. And, believe it, you don’t even need a dose of LSD (as per the advice of “The Den”) in order to travel back to 1971, the year of the album’s first release. A page 4 (“Quarta pagina”) crime story perhaps, but a legacy of sound that largely deserves a nine-column headline on the front page…
Stefano Gilardino and Fabio Carboni