Bamboo Shows 055 – Donato Epiro (Canti Magnetici)

We’re so happy to guest Donato Epiro for ‘Strani Fiori’: a thematic-guestmix – accompanied by a great article – about Italian freak folk, psych and drone music produced between 2005 and 2010.
Alongside Gaspare Sammartano, the duo focuses through their Canti Magnetici label (29 releases over the past 5 years!) and blog on the research, through anomalous sounds, words and images, in the fields of natural and cultural phenomena, states of being and sciences.

We were lucky enough to come across this incredible mix on SoundCloud and felt so moved by the music that we wanted to share it on our networks with a special English-version of the article thanks so much Donato for translating it). Thus, turn back time to the second part of the 2000’s and lose yourself into ‘Total music, but totally insane. Higly spiritual and vital, brand new but with ancient, almost ancestral roots. Somehow in between electronic meditations and infernal dances, in perpetual search of a direct and more instinctual relationship with the Natural world, to be achieved on a mystical, more earthly or cosmic level’.




Full tracklist below


Donato Epiro: SoundCloud – Bandcamp – Instagram

Canti Magnetici: SoundCloud – Bandcamp – Facebook – Web – Instagram



Italian freak folk, psych and drone music (2005 – 2010)

‘My Spectre around me night and day
Like a wild beast guards my way;
My Emanation far within
Weeps incessantly for my sin’
William Blake

A musical underbush scattered throughout the whole Italian peninsula, occasionally intercepted by the antennas of the specialized press and general public, devoted to an unique exploration path that blossomed into some sort of ramshackle folk music, contaminated with free jazz, psychedelia, noise, Kosmische Musik and the most primitive and naive forms of electronics: broken pedals, no-input mixers and other junk that seem to draw on stage – or better on the ground – a magic circle rather than a proper live set-up.

This army of cosmic fiddlers emerge unexpectedly from the most uncompromising fringe of noise music, when they started to combine acoustic instruments of all kinds – small percussion, harmonium, flutes – with the standard paraphernalia in force to any noiser’s weaponry, in order to stage their own personal sonic version of The Wicker Man, liquefied in an ocean of delays, reverbs and drone textures.

Developed around sharing platforms such as Soulseek or even on Myspace and among fan blogs around the web, this small universe, simultaneous and asymmetrical to the Italian underground scene (confined among post rock, noise rock and laptop electronics) found its natural shelter in that hypertrophic hot pot of productions on cassettes, CDs and other pretty much obsolete formats which, in the wake of that movement labelled by Devid Keenan as New Weird America, was slowly expanding in Europe with small outposts mostly everywhere.


An underground flowing river, strong enough to encompass, musically, everything in between Cromagnon and The Incredible String Band, just to cut it short. Total music, but totally insane. Higly spiritual and vital, brand new but with ancient, almost ancestral roots. Somehow in between electronic meditations and infernal dances, in perpetual search of a direct and more instinctual relationship with the Natural world, to be achieved on a mystical, more earthly or cosmic level.

A free and uncompromisingly attitude, both in the sonic contents as well as in the way they got conveyed outside, enhanced by principles that move beyond the mere musical thing. Recordings “pressed” in very limited editions, with rough packaging (home-burned CDrs in plastic bags with xeroxed artworks) or refined, instead, as precious and fragile handcrafts, mostly assembled with recycled material. Recording sessions taking place in improvised “studios”, instable equipment, open-air live shows, no promotion, neither Press Office or booking agencies. Very few means but a worldwide distribution, ensured by the constant trading between labels, musicians and specialized shops (it’s worth to mention Volcanic Tongue, Aquarius Records, Echo Curio and the webzine Foxy Digitalis, probably the main landmark for the entire community). A kind of real-time diffusion – way before that streaming platforms become so popular – made possible by the scrupulous work of hundreds of bloggers, true “gold-diggers” passionate enough to include enthusiastic reviews of the spotted records right before the unfailing link to mediafire or megaupload with the whole tracklist for download. As far as I can remember, no one has ever had anything to complain about that!

Concerts were basically self-organized and clandestine happenings, with no stage and no distance between musicians and the audience. Nothing could be further from the standard idea of a classic band performing live, playing its own role on stage, proposing its repertoire. Actually, there were very few opportunities to perform in Italy, touring and attending festivals abroad was much more common.


Hundreds of records numbered in the catalogues of a discreet circle of labels with more or less short life. Digitalis, Foxglove, Ruralfaune, Faunasabbatha, Ikuisuus, Student of Decay, Rusted Rail, Stunned, Last Visible Dog, 267 Lattajjaa, New American Folk Hero, Fire Museum, Singing Knives… Labels that may have recognized in the early stirrings of this weird Italian bunch, the adventurous spirit of those artists whose work began to reappear online in digital form after years (the boom of LP represses would explode only a few years later, though): Battiato, Claudio Rocchi, Lino Capra

Vaccina, Aktuala, Prima Materia, Futuro Antico, Roberto Donnini, Luciano Cilio . Not so obvious references for such young people – around 20, 25 – who, without that much naivety but rather in a determined menner and with full dedication, tried to retrieve the heritage of those experiences.

Almost every musician here in Italy contributed to “spread the word” with his personal label, thus consolidating his role within the network: Center of Wood, Palustre, Akoustic Desease, Troglosound, Monstres Par Excès, Lonktaar, Dreamsheep. And then, neverending compilations, split releases, remote collaborations and new projects (I strongly recommend to check at least Pulga and Wondrous Horse!).

Not everything has always been perfectly crafted, but we can rely upon a few gems and even some spearheads (“Heavy Electronic Pacific Rock” by a very young Valerio Cosi is a small miracle of minimalism with Krautrock influences). The music press was still merely dormant about all this, but we had surely a small stronghold: the legendary blog Pillaloo.

Suburban Howl

From this formless mixpot popped up even some well-known reference of the international electronic music scene (Oneohtrix Point Never, Félicia Atkinson, Bill Kouligas, founder of PAN…); at the time, sharing compilations, splits or concerts with this people was perfectly normal. Nevertheless, the true spirit of the movement was embodied by those who fell off the radar. Figures who went beyond (let’s put it in this prospective!) the need to show off, to be there and produce music or art at any cost. Those who, for some precise reason or deliberate choice, decided to drop off the grid and move to the edge, cultivating the discretion of those who wait to be found. So, I find myself picturing Eyes Like Saucers still driving his van around the desert (after the disappearance of his beloved companion, the dog Parmalee) or Harappian Night Recordings still torturing traditional South-East Asian songs after a day of work in his London office. And I listen once again to those almost-forgotten albums, thinking about how many transversal, hidden and unexpected escape paths the music can take.

Around the end of the ‘10s something started to change. Overwhelmed by the huge amount of sounds and information on the web, this global community softly blended into a cloud of memories, flickering videos, triangles, exotic sounds and 80’s synthesizers. A form of nostalgia took hold – even here in Italy – with new sounds, names, projects and even a better media coverage, but that’s another story.

Written and translated from Italian by Donato Epiro;
Initially posted on Canti Magnetici.



Maurizio Abate – Untitled 2 (Mystic Strings cdr album, Troglosound 2007)

Alberorovesciato – Barefooted Adventures In The Ring Snake’s Territory, Marshy (Tigers On Acid In The Hell Of The Brushwood, cd album, Singing Knives 2009)

Caligine – Malia di Luglio (Minimalia, Vol. 2 cdr mini album, Monstres Par Excès 2009)

Neokarma Jooklo Trio – Solar Exodus Part II (Solar Vision LP, Qbico 2007)

Golden Cup – Ursula Maior (Kaleidopea casette C20, Digitalis Limited 2009)

Harps Of Fuchsia Kalmia – Frammenti Di Una Sconfitta Sulla Strada Di Casa (In Memory Of Luciano Cilio) (Burning With Your Old Joy In The Terminal Sun cd album, Ikuisuus 2009)

Donato Epiro – Rubisco Rossa (Unreleased track 2007)

We Wait for the Snow – Tribute (Split with Family Battle Snake cdr, Centre of Wood 2008)

Estasy – Tree of Dead (Estasy cdr album, Ikuisuus 2008)

Dona Ferentes – Peligros (Untitled, cdr album, Lonktaar 2010)

Suburban Howl – Untitled (Psychic Basement, self released cassette 2008)

Fabio Orsi & Valerio Cosi – We Could For Hours: Part One (We Could For Hours, cd album, A Silent Place 2008)

ThrouRoof – (…)Sinking (It’s Raining Over Memory At 7 P.M. cdr album, Ruralfaune 2007)