Shapeshifting through his vernacular worlds of sound and imagery, Milan artist and musician STILL (Simone Trabucchi)'s practice is defined by a unique, nomadic approach. Previously known as Dracula Lewis, a project developing his personal take on folk music, he has accumulated a number of releases on various seminal labels, alongside running Hundebiss Records.
His new moniker, STILL, follows the unearthing of the histories that connect his hometown of Vernasca to Ethiopia and Jamaica, explored under his visual arts project Invernomuto as an in-depth fieldwork lead to Negus: a series of sculptures, installations, a book, 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 80 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, he connects these research threads, evolving their sonic and linguistic aspects further, where 'computerized riddims' sustain a shared gospel channelled through a polyphony of voices.
Six Milan-based African-Italian vocalists and 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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