Virginia Quaranti’s second album as Bebawinigi is a wild ride, firmly rooted in the worlds of the experimental and avant-garde, yet simultaneously welcoming and compelling. Melding classical composition with metallic intensity and even finding time for a detour into repurposed film soundtracks, it doesn’t defy description so much as offer enough twists and turns that we decided it’d be best to go straight to the source and ask Virginia to break down the record for us herself.
Not only that, but you can also listen to Stupor in its entirety a day ahead of release tomorrow, on Bandcamp Friday. It’s available digitally and on a 300-press double vinyl run (100 red/200 black). Visit her Bandcamp for more details, and listen below, ideally while reading her track-by-track guide – there’s a lot going on across the 13-track record. Trust us, it helps.
Born to be a kick in the teeth, ‘Ayahoo!’ is the perfect opening track of the album. First came the industrial percussion ride, then the vocal overlay, and then everything else. Like other tracks it has two percussive sets, one is the drums and the other is the industrial percussion (metal sheets). The track is sung in anarchic, provocative, nonsense Grammelot, except the last few words in Italian related to the album cover.
- ‘Mr Fat’
A provocative and sensual song dedicated to a fat and lazy man. I wanted a dry and hollow sound on my cello’s low notes and raw, obsessive drums that marks the time enriched by the rhythm of synths. I liked to give it a kind of new wave rhythm and I enjoyed to contrast the dry, close and distorted lead voice with harmonised, mocking choirs.
- ‘Go Back’
‘Go Back’ is a hymn for the redemption of the elderly against a society that considers them a scrap. A little old lady confined in a nursing home, treated badly by the nurses, at one point runs away riding a motorbike with wings. The first sound is made by a modulated piezo connected to my throat.
‘Krisis’ is dedicated to the difficulty that human beings have in taking decisions. It’s a kind of mantra. The overlapping cello lines are manipulated by different types of distortion and flangers. The main pulse is played on a large orchestral timpani, which is also progressively enriched by an industrial set. Like most tracks, it was composed for the live [performance] in solo with overlapping tracks on the loop stations and then enriched for the album version.
Another track born for the live [performance] in solo. It’s a wail of sorrow and pain for a great loss, and it’s like a spell to let the pain flow. It starts as a choral song, and then is enriched by a metal drone with distorted cellos that enter like a giant tidal wave. It is one of the tracks in which I can use my vocal extension of more than 4 octaves.
This track is a tribute to the deep space and the future of mankind, which yearns for an opening beyond planet Earth. The song is composed with cello tracks that overlay at each refrain and a background of sounds from space. It is divided into three parts, a more introductory and solemn one, a suspended one in which only voices and a space soundscape stand out, and a third part that is more rhythmic and that is meant to be a dive in the majesty of the Universe.
- ‘Giù dal cielo’
‘Giù dal cielo’ also known as ‘Sull’ascella’ is a track composed for the credits of the film Guarda in alto. The song gives voice to characters in the film, children who play on the rooftops of Rome and plan to go into space with a sort of rocket they have built. It is a cinematographic choral song performed by me singing as if I was a group of stray children playing on the rooftops, so it is full of calls, shouts, murmurs, jokes, laughter, phrases thrown by one to the other. The long coda of the finale slowly fades away and is swallowed up by the strings of dissonant cellos.
- ‘Guarda in alto’
It is a soundtrack song from the Guarda in alto movie, dedicated to the strange world that lives on the rooftops of Rome. The track is based on the pressing and increasingly tight percussion of the large timpani played by Ivan Macera. In the film there are two actors dancing to the rhythm of the song in an increasingly frenetic way. Above it all there is my voice that guides and incites along with the choristers Lili Refrain, Michele and Giuseppe De Filippis.
- ‘The Call of the Deep’
‘The Call of the Deep’ is also taken from the Guarda in alto soundtrack and also played by myself, Ivan Macera and Lili Refrain in a scene from the film. The first part and also the end of this piece are like the call of a dangerous mermaid from the depths of the sea. Instead the heart of the track is a ride of distorted, menacing cellos with a refrain of voices alternating with two cello solos. Born on the stages of Europe with the obsessiveness of the loop station system, it is also dedicated to Lovecraft monsters.
It is the poignant memory of a lullaby. It starts with a recording of a voice on an old audio cassette, turns into a symphony of strings and guitars and then back to the old audio cassette. This song is also based on the progressive addition of cellos and guitars.
Born for the stage as a joke with the audience. It begins with an annoying alarm clock and a yawning composition. During the performance I usually get off the stage and at the word ‘zichi’ I tickle someone in the audience. The song is full of sounds created with synths and effects, rubber balls, industrial percussions, drums, rickety, out-of-tune guitars and ironic little voices. It is sung in Grammelot and Italian. At the end, the alarm clock is smashed.
- ‘Let the Game…’
It’s a political song of resistance. We’re on a ship of adventurers preparing for a naval battle. The track focuses on the solemn moment before the clash and then on the beginning of the battle. There is a huge amount of work on the soundscape made up of sounds of the ocean and sounds of a ship swaying and creaking with wind and storm coming in. The song consists of two parts: the first is a sort of a pirate song on which enters the vocal solo and then the mantra ‘Let the game start, we will fight until the end of the world’. The second, on the other hand, represents the fury of the attack and the fight, in which there are whistling, distorted riffs of guitars and cellos, metallic percussion and a lot of shouts.
- ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’
This is the only non-original track on the album and it’s entirely composed of my voice. It’s my own version of Grieg’s track from Peer Gynt, recreating a whole choral and instrumental texture with my voice alone, relying on the versatility and vast range of my voice. The track is divided into two parts, the first mysterious and subdued and the second explosive and orchestral. The idea is that these fantastic creatures slowly draw the listener until they capture him… in the hall of the mountain king!