Shapeshifting through vernacular worlds of sound and imagery, Milan artist and musician STILL (Simone Trabucchi)’s practice is defined by a uniquely nomadic approach. Previously known as Dracula Lewis, a project developing his personal take on ‘folk’ music. Under this incarnation, he has released a number of records under various seminal labels. He is also one half of the visual arts duo Invernomuto and behind Hundebiss Records.
His new moniker STILL follows the unearthing of the minor histories that link his hometown to Ethiopia, and Jamaica explored under Invernomuto as an in-depth fieldwork lead to ‘Negus’: a series of sculptures, installations and a long-feature experimental documentary, screened at Unsound 2016.
‘Negus‘ revolves around a cleansing counter-ritual performed by Lee “Scratch” Perry in the Vernasca square where eighty years earlier, an effigy of Haile Selassie I was burned. The documentary then follows a trajectory connecting Italy’s overlooked colonial past seen through personal history to a reverberation of symbols in Ethiopia and Jamaica.
Within STILL, Trabucchi conveys these research threads, evolving their sonic and linguistic aspects further; ‘computerized riddims’ channel a gospel of polyphonic voices, each dealing with and questioning its own past. Six Milan-based African-Italian singers voice a complex, overarching past that is both communal and individual. Using the medium of language, the record is a multi-layered with meanings contemplating the historical weight of words. Both the city and the studio became workshops for the shaping of their complex network.
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