Lieutenant Murnau | Oxidized Man – Ut Fona Res [CS]


Lieutenant Murnau | Oxidized Man – Ut Fona Res [CS]


Label: 777 Was 666

Year: 2017/1982

Format: Cassette

Here’s a reissue that’s easy to get behind: an Italian mail-art recording from 1982, heard by only a handful of individuals upon its original release, swept into obscurity—not even a Youtube clip to document its original existence—quietly reintroduced into the world 35 years later in its original cassette format. Lieutenant Murnau was an open source performance and recording alias that could be adorned by anyone who wished to adopt the moniker, with the binding precept being the encouraged use of borrowed material. Vittore Baroni, co-founder of the Trax label, is credited with the concept, however he proudly let the Lieutenant run free, pledging not to contribute any content or action beyond the idea itself. One such individual who took to plundering in the name of Lt. Murnau was Daniele Ciullini, working here as Oxidized Man. Ut Fona Res employs the use of plenty of pre-existing sound materials, but is free of any potentially cartoonish trappings, such as shuffling small bites of copyrighted material at a herk-jerky pace, or dropping in too many bombastic effects. Instead, Ciullini opted for transparency, getting as much juice out of his chosen sources and three recorder set-up as he can before moving on to the next phase. Recordings of public spaces mingle with old soundtrack fare and television reports, interspersed with stretches of free-improv clatter and piano antics. The first side closes with some surprisingly moody synth loops that sprout up quite nicely—dare I say, almost stepping into Fripp & Eno territory. The liner notes (collaboratively supplied by Ciullini and Baroni, finely illuminating and not at all coy with the origin story) classifies Ut Fona Res as essentially a private live recording, but it’s contained within movements that point toward responsible compositional choices. What we get is ultimately a cohesive grab bag of tactics and concerns pertinent to the ’80s cassette network of the time, a unique document that reflects the world at large as much as it does the world constructed at the hands of stamp-wielding tape freaks, vampires that feed on and repurpose the oppressive culture that surrounds them.

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Edition of 80.

Full disclosure: fetching red Norelcos were damaged in shipping and replaced with identical new ones — not reflected in the price, as is my charitable way.

777 Was 666

Vitore Baroni