From the first moments of guitarist Nico Soffiato’s OST Quartet (Setola di Maiale, 2013), it’s clear that these four musicians came to listen as well as play. This is an album about interplay, about collaboration, about traveling together along an uncharted course.
“With the OST Quartet I wanted to focus on improvised music and the acoustic nature of the instrumentation,” Soffiato said.” “In a way , the music we’re playing could be called ‘acoustic sound design.’”
The band spent months before recording working together on fundamental ideas of sound – how to produce sounds, how to work with sounds, and how sounds relate to one another. This is completely improvised music; no written scores, no riffs. That said, Soffiato did take time to shape the music, to talk with players about the directions he wanted to explore. The end result is an atmospheric album of collective risk-taking, driven by the energy of not knowing what would happen in the next moment.
Nearly all tunes on the album are titled after film terms: “Jump Cut,” “Deep Staging,” “Rack Focus.” Even the name of the album references film – “OST” stands for “original sound track.”
“I was thinking about the idea of a soundtrack of a movie that doesn’t exist but that you can imagine,” Soffiato said, “the way you can imagine a scene by reading a book. An uninstantiated visual.” He is careful to point out that he came up with the cinematic concept after listening back to the recording. During the actual recording session, the band had no other concept in mind other than to find interesting and musical ways to make sound together – all in the same room with no overdubs or editing.
They’re certainly well suited for this kind of edge-of-your-seat performance. Soffiato and his bandmates are all active musicians on the New York scene with experience in a variety of styles and genres, particularly those involving experimentation and freedom.
OST Quartet is on the Italian label Setola di Maiale, a 20-year-old network of independent musicians dedicated to research in experimental and improvised music.