Text by CLOT Magazine
The last instalment of the year arrives from the hands of Furtherset, the musical project of artist and musician Tommaso Pandolfi, with a mix especially suited for the melancholic nights of December, with a title that reminds us of the southern tales of William Faulkner.
With Furtherset, the artist has defined and crafted his personal sound, mainly composed of layers of timbre-modulated sounds and dense rhythmic geometric passages converging towards a single harmonic plane. His music touches on ambient, modern classical and rave, building on his approach to composition with shifting modulations, synthetic clusters and sampling alongside rhythmic and embracing harmonies.
Furthersetmentions that the project, which began in 2011, is envisaged as formal research that follows a path towards saturation and layering but is always capable of generating voids in which the listener can take their place and fill them according to their own focus.
Furtherset has released several EPs and two albums with the record label OUS, with whom he’s signed with. His most recent one, The Infinite Hour, released in October, puts together all the artist’s compositional interests over the years. Six compositions resemble the laboured breathing of one who mourns a disappearance and fears oblivion. The album was created between 2020 and 2022, in a slow process of writing and continuous refinement parallel to the previous EP, Auras. The compositions found their final form during the mixing process carried out together with Bienoise. They were later named based on references to authors who influenced and are dear to Furtherset: Amelia Rosselli, Vladimir Chlebnikov, Hubert Damisch, Dante Alighieri.
Furtherset mentions that when preparing mixes, he tries to create listening environments with moments of extreme stillness or sudden changes, but always having the latter have their own general organicity: I also fixate on certain artists, such as Simon Fisher Turner, whom I now propose in every mix. In this case, I added Michèle Bokanowski to my fixations. I found pleasant similarities between Moritz Von Oswald’s latest work and Ligeti’s. Everything then begins and ends with two voices: with Patti Smith’s words and Glenn Gould’s whispers over Bach. I look for emotion in the music I listen to.
Your new release, The Infinite Hour, arises and transfigures loss into a space that is always extending: the hour is infinite, the melody is circular, and even stasis has its own measure that is exceeded into eternity. Could you expand more on this conceptual framework?
My greatest desire is to make music that resembles clouds, which can float in the sky as well as disappear or fall on the listener like boulders. I want the music to embrace the listener. I always think about the rendering of my music live as I compose, how it will be reworked, and how it might be received in a concert. I also try to figure out how I can capture attention, to create paths that have a beginning and an end but with a lot of circularity and repetitions that disintegrate. Somehow I try to look at the sky by making music, where I can leave room for interpretation and emotional engagement.
The Infinite Hour is one possible manifestation of an ever-changing musical landscape, a universe with unmistakable sounds but always on the verge of disintegrating, collapsing, and opening up spaces, times, and infinities. What were you more on the technical side exploring with this album?
Since my first release on -OUS in 2018, I have been trying to make the sound of my music less caustic. Thanks to the advice of Alberto Ricca (Bienoise) and Manuel Oberholzer (Feldermelder) in these releases, I have been trying to clean my music a lot already in the pre-mix stage so that I don’t end up with heaps of sonic sludge that they then have to handle between mixing and mastering. I also eliminated most of the VSTs I was working with from the creative process, using mainly a few stock plugins from Ableton and free libraries. In 2020 I felt a great nausea in the face of all the digital instruments that I knew only superficially.
Was your creative process for this production similar or different to your previous EP, Auras?
‘Auras’ and ‘The Infinite Hour’ were composed at the same time; they are part of the same creative moment. They are a continuum. I don’t listen to my music after it comes out, but in my head, the two releases can be heard looped together, coming from the same sound palette and the same instruments and methods.
Each track has been named based on references to authors who influenced and are dear to Furtherset: Amelia Rosselli, Vladimir Chlebnikov, Hubert Damisch, and Dante Alighieri. What are your primary inspirations for your artistic practice these days? What has excited you the most recently?
I am reading Clarice Lispector’s short stories. I have a deep love for her writing that leaves one breathless as if they were spells. In the last year, I have read almost all of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, which in their brutality are the opposite of Lispector. I always read a lot of poetry, like Emily Dickinson or Rilke. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to Simon Fisher Turner and his score for Derek Jarman’s “Caravaggio.” Last month I was impressed by the James Lee Byars exhibition in Hangar Bicocca in Milan.
What is your relationship with technology nowadays, and how do you deal with technology (screen/digital) overload?
I make music exclusively through software, and it doesn’t cause me any problems; I haven’t had any hardware instruments for years now except for a keyboard and controller. I feel liberated by not having any emotional attachment to external hardware when creating music. Only for live performances, but not even all of them now, I use samplers and pedals without a computer. But it all comes from there anyway. When I make music or videos, I spend too much time in front of the computer, so I try to spend as much time as possible drawing or reading if possible.