Pietro Riparbelli - 4 Churches

Pietro Riparbelli - 4 Churches
Spire 4
4 tracks - mp3 download - 42:09

Mastered by Giuseppe Verticchio

Track listing and notes:

1. The Dome, Orvieto

I was in Orvieto for 3 days and recorded some sound during the morning, trying to avoid the tourists. I always try to find the cathedral without too many people but at the same time there must been some, because their sounds allow us to perceive the reverb of the space.

Moreover, I’ve recorded voices from a choir during a celebration and I’ve utilised a sample of the organ of the cathedrals. The Dome of Orvieto is a fantastic gothic church. Orvieto is an Etruscan city and it’s on a hill in which caves were excavated by the Etruscans. During the Second World War the Nazis didn’t bomb Orvieto because of the amazing cathedral that they wanted to take back to Germany!

2. The Basilica, Assisi

I was for one week and recorded sounds within the interior of the Basilica where the relics of Saint Francis are kept. It is a really dark place where there are a lot of passages with stairs to reach the crypt. There are many frescoes by Giotto - really wonderful. It is a place of meditation and there is an incredible silence, although you have to find the Basilica without tourists early in the morning. I was seated in front of the stone of the relics for a long time each day. There are a lot of guards that control everything - especially people like me who were there everyday. At the end of the track you can hear a chant by nuns recorded from within the Basilica. They were behind a window and it was a fantastic experience.

3. The Cathedral of Saint Germain, Paris

This was the first Cathedral of Paris built around 500 A.D.

I found within this cathedral a crazy English woman that was telling stories and laughing to herself. I stayed close to her and she thought I wanted to kill her; so she attacked and punched me. I’ve recorded organs and chanting voices. The distorted sounds are pitched organs.

4. Notre Dame, Paris

This is the leasst organised composition because it is almost impossible to recorded the reverb of this place because of the tourist that are there all the day at every hour. But I’ve managed to record an organ session and a mass.

For these recordings, made between 2005 and 2010, i used a 4-Channel audio recorder (Edirol r4) and an Edirol CS50 Stereo Shotgun Mic.


Audiodrome (Italy):

Con questa uscita per il progetto Spire (iniziativa sotto l’ombrello della Touch, con la quale a una serie di sound artist viene chiesto di confrontarsi col suono dell’organo, “l’imperatore degli strumenti?), Pietro pubblica quattro tracce realizzate presso il duomo di Orvieto, la basilica d’Assisi, la cattedrale di Saint Germain e Notre Dame. Se in Metaphonic Portrait i suoni della chiesa sono sopraffatti e coperti da quelli “riportati in superficie? delle onde corte (l’obiettivo della sigla K11), qui i rapporti di forza si rovesciano: sono i cori, gli strumenti musicali, i passi e le eco a diventare oggetto – quando serve - di manipolazione, per essere trasportati in un contesto onirico e lontano, ovattato, solo avvicinabile alla realtà e non a essa sovrapponibile, come accade nelle tracce di Caretaker, nelle quali la musica sembra arrivare da un ricordo confuso e non da un disco. Alcuni frangenti sono più aggressivi, perché vengono alzati i livelli di rumorosità ed elettricità, ma si tratta di (salutari) eccezioni e non della regola. Impagabile e inquietante l’involontario featuring di una vecchia pazza inglese nel corso della traccia su Saint Germain: la signora si è sentita minacciata da Pietro e l’ha picchiato, rischi del mestiere che però tornano utili.

Forse non siamo al livello d’efficacia delle uscite a nome K11, ma - visto il formato solo download dell’uscita - la si può considerare come testimonianza utile di una tappa del più ampio percorso di ricerca dell’autore.

PAUME features: Pietro Riparbelli


The moving and at times quite haunting sound art pieces arising from a conceptual idea, sound art pieces related to the world of contemporary art too, by Italian composer, artist and musician Pietro Riparbelli are principally linked to the perception of the sonic landscape and of the inner state(s) of consciousness, as related to other dimensions of awareness.

His K11-project deals with the world of radio signals, trans-communication and other invisible phenomena. Field recordings and shortwave radio receivers picking up signals, make up the dimensions and uncanny atmospheres captured in his compositions, bustling with the dynamics of noise and drone. (He has also worked with EVP and PAUME recommends the cd-release ‘The Ghost Orchid – An Introduction to EVP’ to all uniniated…) Under the PT-R moniker Riparbelli navigates his way through a world of rhythmic landscapes using environmental sounds (by means of field recordings), electronically sampling these real life and / or natural sonic sources into rhythmic patterns, frames, shapes and phases.

Riparbelli, a graduated philosopher and multi-media artist based in Livorno (Tuscany), has seen his works published by Touch, Radical Matters Ed/Label, Old Europe Cafe amongst numerous others. He has performed live at a wide array of festivals and art events, most notably at Equinox Festival (London) and the Fundació Tàpies (Barcelona).

Pietro Riparbelli’s study of the phenomenology of perception with particular reference to the dichotomy between the visible and the invisible is closely connected to his conceptual address of the ‘sonic landscape’. He delves into deep investigation of particular places, taking in the history of the location as well as the current site specifics to reconfigure a sonic panorama (or diorama) through its inherent transcendental aspects in order to create a dimension beyond the purely or merely sonic: a total perceptive and receptive capturing of the place and its visible and invisible tangents, transporting the listener to a new and hitherto literally unheard form, kind and ‘content’ of sensory experience and therewith: perception. From a specific time and place, to another (listening) time and place and in between, found (!) in Riparbelli’s transmutation and compostional interpretation: an altogether new and invisible (maybe even: non-existing) ‘vista’…


Recently released by Touch, as part of Spire, Riparbelli’s ‘4 Churches’ download only release marks a new endeavour into the nether- or, better even: upper world (literally here) of the sonic characteristics of – nomen est omen – four churches or cathedrals in Europe.

In Orvieto’s Dome, early in the morning, before the massive tourist influx, he captured the spatial reverb, which he mixed with the choir singing and samples from the church’s organ. Impressive spatial reverb is captured in a totally different way in the interior of the Basilica in Assisi: a dark, cavernous place. A venue for meditation, reverence and of incredible silence too, with prized relics from bygone ages on display; with a daunting and haunting enshrined and thus mute(d) echo towards and in the present; forever silent, eternally silenced?

In the first church built in Paris, France around 500 A.D. – the Cathedral of Saint Germain – organs and chanting voices fill the sonic room. At the infamous Notre Dame (Paris, France) tourists disturb the solemn peace and quiet of the immense reverberation of the cathedral at almost all hours, but Riparbelli managed to catch an organ session and a mass at this one of the most prominent churches in the world.

Riparbelli’s ‘4 Churches’ presents a sonic architecture: immersive and impressive, even to listeners that don’t know the massive and cavernous constructions in Assisi or Paris. His field recordings are treated electronically, but, wholly different from most so-called ‘dark ambient’ artists, his work is not buried in, drowned by, covered under: the artificial glum of so-called ‘gothic cave reverb’. Riparbelli’s is the factual, the actual upper worldly reverb of the architectural structures of the churches or cathedrals; cut-up, put back together, assembled, disassembled, stone by stone sonically building the church or cathedral: wholly sonically.

What you hear, is no longer what you get. What you hear, is what’s there in the building; plus: more, much more. You see with your ears: the enormous resonating building. The sanctity and history of the specific places; of the relics enshrined; of the sacred music played; the hymns sung, is immersively impressed upon the listener. These are no netherworlds in hellish caves; no paradises lost. These are places of hearing without seeing; places of knowing without ‘evidence’: places of believing, true places of: belief. Places of the belief of seeing by hearing, too; QED.

The church or cathedral historically is considered to be one of the main visual focal points of a city’s landscape; just see the spires protruding into thin air… How fitting to have Touch present not only BJ Nilsen’s ‘Invisible City’, but also Pietro Riparbelli’s likewise invisible, but evenly so pregnant and remarkable sonic focal point in the ongoing Spire series.

Pietro Ripbarelli’s ’4 Churches’ is available for download in the Touch Shop.

[PS: PAUME recommends: listening on headphones or hi-end equipment to catch the minutest of genuine real life reverb details which bring to life these amazing (acoustic) architectural structures.]

kulturterrorismus (Germany):

Pietro Riparbelli (K11), der in Fachkreisen oft mit Bad Sector Vergleich findet, gehört mit seinen Werken “Waiting For Dark- ness?, “Metaphonic Portrait 1230 A.D.? & “Sacred Wood? wie der Split “The Hauting Triptych?, die er in Kooperation mit dem Franzosen Philippe Petit bastelte, zu den absoluten Aufsteigern des Jahres 2010. In alle dem schönen Überfluss, den der Italiener in 2010 kon- zipierte, erschien auch die sehr persönliche Arbeit 4 Churches, wofür er Feldaufnahmen nutzte, welche er im Dom von Orvieto, der Basilika von Assisi, der Kathedrale von (Paris) St. Germain & dem Notre Dame aufzeichnete!

Mit einer gewissen Arroganz lehnt das englische Label Touch sämtliche Demos ab und geht nach eigenen Angaben ausschließlich direkt auf die passenden Künstler wie Pietro Riparbelli zu, dessen “4 Churches? als hoch qualitativer Download erschien, der zum fairen Preis von 5 Pfund (5, 20 Euro) über den Tisch geht.

Ohne irgendwem auf die Füße steigen zu wollen, stelle ich die These auf, dass “4 Churches? nur Personen gefällt und berührt, bei welchen der Anblick (& die Atmosphäre) von riesigen Kirchen eine totale Faszination bzw. Vereinnahmung auslöst, ansonsten “verpufft? sämtliche Authentizität der Ton- & Sprachsamples, die diese Publikation ausmacht bzw. auszeichnet, ab dem Drücken der Play-Taste.

Ob “4 Churches? überhaupt eine Veröffentlichung im üblichen Sinne darstellt, müssen Hörer am Besten selbst beurteilen, die hier Feldaufnahmen mit unzähligen menschlichen Sequenzen erwartet, welche der Protagonist mit vereinzelten Einsätzen von “dronigen? Ambientschleifen akzentuierte, wodurch überwältigende Hörkulissen entstehen, deren Dichte auf die jeweilige “letzte Bank? des Gotteshauses versetzt, wo man Führungen, Chöre von Pinguinen, Messen usw. hautnah miterlebt – Wahnsinn!

Wer das absolut Besondere schätzt, erfährt mittels „4Churches“ intensives Kopfkino, das von der ersten Sekunde an tief in seinen Bann saugt, wenn sie/ er für diese besonderen Stimmungen empfänglich ist, welche bei genauerer Herangehensweise den “Schlüssel? zur Religion liefern.

Anspieltipps? Love it or hate it! – im Fall von “4 Churches? gibt es keine Zwischenstufen, sondern nur Ja oder Nein!


Pietro Riparbelli offenbart auf “4 Churches? seine komplette “Klasse?, obwohl die Mehrheit des Releases “fremde? Strukturen bestimmen, bloß diesen muss man erst einmal so verarbeiten, dass daraus ein einnehmendes Highlight entsteht – meine absolute Empfehlun

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Pietro Riparbelli - 4 Churches

MP3 sample

Track 1:  Orvieto (extract)

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