Armenia

I introduce myself

Music is...

As above so below

I realized: I'm an infiltrate in the world of machines and electronic music. Basic a subversive. I go towards man and everything is adjusted for this purpose in various ways and paths.
I install a human virus and I go to the result. Then the machines, both software and hardware, begin to bend, to heat up and become alive. Sometimes it's surprising. Alchemical operation in my sight.
The Wise commands. In the background the Child and the Doomsayer.

Music for Armenia is a tool for describing and understanding through time. It's movement and stillness. Sound but silence. Electronics and computers are intended to be wonderful tools facilitators of creativity.
It's since the early 80s that he makes experiments with the timbre of synthesizers and samplers. He has written and performed songs initially as a duo, with his sister Luisa Armenia in Genoa: the first electronic band was called "Elettra" and the first collection of songs "Tempo spazio", dating back to 1984; thereafter, assumed the name "Distesa", the two have produced the albums "Senza paura", "Obbedienti a noi stessi", "Non andrò via da qui". Fondacaro Gloria was also part of the band for the visual side (photos and slides) and as live performer (stage action). In live performances "Distesa" have expanded the band for a certain period in 1990 including Massimo Baldi (electric guitar), Alessandro Benatti (drums), Guido Bruzzone (bass), Salvatore Fratìa (electric guitar).
After the natural decreasing of the driving force of Distesa, Armenia is increasingly dedicated to electronic solo productions, starting from the initial album "Alterazione estetica" to continue with "Ecolalia", "Mantra".
"A new beginning" is the work which he has published and presented to the public and to the Internet in 2011, distributed by "Believe Digital": a systemic work, which should be read more as a whole, an overall view. It's the first birth of a new series: dark, energetic, dense, disturbing as Orwell's 1984 novel resembling the modern society instrumentals, permeated by a layered and sometimes claustrophobic sound that becomes softer (but only in part) in the last tracks on the album and that tends deliberately not to indulge in harmonic and melodic solutions which it simultaneously outlines.
2013, thanks to the providential encounter with the association "Duplex Ride", becomes the year of the return to live concerts and attention to the experimental and expressive use of images. The instrumentals of "A new beginning" are now presented in concert with new arrangements which try to engage and impress the viewer physically, emotionally and mentally, using the video's contribution which tells and emphasizes themes and meanings of each track.
In February 2015 Armenia’s first live electronic album "Reboot" has arrived, available in digital stores and on self-produced CD.
During the search of just the perfect gig, after having digitally stored on many occasions the electronic performance, the first live set in 2015 reveals itself as one to immortalize, thanks to a magical combination of characteristics: the feeling and right warmth, intimacy, public involvement and the excellent audio master which keeps energy.
A new album ("We are still machines") is currently a work in progress.

Armenia

Armenia combines a very instinctive and intuitive approach with the meticulous care of an enveloping and emotional soundscape. Musical structures are usually simple and strong. Serial repetition and search for difference at the same time are two dominant stylistic figures. In this context rhythm has a leading and binder role. Attention to the perception of the world and to interpretation of the Essence transpires from explicit and implicit messages that are conveyed by each composition.
Armenia could be described today as an apprentice Orpheist.


A document from the past... DISTESA (1998)

The brief autobiography formulated by DISTESA in 1998 for the site Cantine, born as far back as September 24, 1997...

Distesa

February 1983

February 1983 is the date of birth of the musical group Elettra, become Distesa in 1987.
The band is from the very beginning formed by two brothers Armenia residing in Genoa:

Antonio likes to manipulate electronic devices; he began with an old Bontempi organ adventurously obtained at age 13, thanks to a saleswoman's distraction in a department store (the price marked on the instrument providentially missed a zero). He works by setting sequences and browsing between sounds.
Lù, being provided with a rather particular vocal timbre, embodies the word and the voice of the group.

The first time

The first time we performed was in the Aula Magna of high school G. D. Cassini, in Genoa, armed with a tiny Casio PT-20 and an old synth Siel borrowed from another group: at last minute all the planning of the small Casio was canceled, sending us into panic and forcing Antonio to play in the half darkness above microscopic keys, while Luisa's voice trembled with emotion. That was our baptism!

Casio PT 20

Siel Cruise

Birth

Distesa one day suddenly emerged from the unconscious motivations of their members and thanks to the possibilities triggered by instinct.
The result has been the development, over a period of fifteen years, of a musical adventure that never came to the honor of the limelight but that has not yet been exhausted, despite our obvious difficulties in finding interlocutors and space both in official discography's world and underground music's world.

The musical genre

Our problem (if it's a problem) is to not share any specific musical genre and any fashion trend, even in the context of the so-called "alternative music".
The songs of Distesa are therefore difficult to place: you can tell that express an high degree of contamination among the most different musical influences including pop, rock, dark and ethnic atmospheres and make use of original texts in Italian, giving rise to a sort of contemporary song writing that doesn't fit in any default style.

New Age?

Somebody has tried to classify our music as "New Age", "Evanescent Pop" and so on...
However, in general, it seems to us that labels are missing the goal ever and they appear a waste of time. We make simple songs and, in our humble opinion, the music flows independently, finding a justification of his being only in the spirit of its creator.
But "who" creates the music really?

What does it mean Distesa?

We intend Distesa as the metaphor of a place, of a border region, of space beyond the ordinary perception: the place from which the music originates.
Today we see more clearly how the things that we write are somehow dictated by the call of this lost place, which implies the completeness and totality of being.
The choice of the preponderance of this issue is actually a non-choice for us: it is rather a natural urge that over time has found its possible expression in music.

1990: the enlarged group

In our history it's relevant from a concrete point of view that in 1990 we tried to put our nose out the door and to expand the staff of the group, giving rise to a pseudo-classical rock band:

Bass: Guido Bruzzone
Battery: Alessandro Benatti
Guitar: Massimo Baldi and then Salvatore Fratìa
Keyboards: Antonio Armenia
Voice: Luisa Lù Armenia


The experiment, however, lasted only a couple of years, since it hasn't produced great results; perhaps for the fact that we have not met the right people at the right time; or perhaps for not being able to mix different ideas that the ego of each component of a musical group tends to bring and at the end, ungoverned, produce confusion. It was substantially a missed opportunity.
At that time we had rented a rehearsal room, or more precisely, four damp and peeling walls in the Veilino's area, in Genoa, at a price to extortion and more nights a week we climbed full of enthusiasm until that remote place, under the highway bridge and behind Staglieno's cemetery.
We followed the usual routine of all the bands in the city: parties of Unity, concerts with ten or more groups on stage to play each one a quarter of an hour, selections and pseudo-competitions.
It was a nice moment, magical and instructive, that has meant for us sharing with other musicians the songs already written, the thrill of trying together and the audience at our concerts.

The next development

From 1992 we started to try again at home in two, trying to capitalize on the gained experience.
From that moment we mainly engaged in production and recording of the songs, many of which have been rearranged several times hand in hand with the evolution of our personal taste.
We walked through technology with the intent of being able to be independent and create by ourselves the sound can best express what we feel.

A new path: music and image

With this purpose in mind and opened to exploring new horizons, we wanted to dress up the songs in a unusual way for us, trying to make them more "light" and marked by an urgency to action next to dance.
In parallel we also felt the need to improve the visual side of our show, deciding to use during concerts fading slide shows and small choreography.
Then we played again in public in Genoa, often obtaining the necessary space between tables and chairs and in latest times at Expo, near the sea, surrounded by a beautiful scenery.

Easy or difficult?

In spite of our changes, we continue to be strangely considered a group too "difficult" or on the contrary, too "easy". Posterity will judge. We just have to follow the path of the heart.

The instruments

Creator

Some technical data. The structure of the band includes the use of:

Midifiles made on minidisc with Atari computer, a group of multitimbral expanders and a Roland sampler. During performances Antonio plays live synthesizer parts.
Vocal effects: in Lù's live and studio instrumentation the presence of Digitech Vocalist stands out.
Slideshow through Kindermann system placed on stage or close to it.

Nowadays

Today (Editor's note: meaning in 1998) the band continues to independently produce its own music and plays live discontinuously; since 1992 during concerts the band is closely supported by Gloria Fondacaro, who deals with exploring the expressive possibilities of body and image, using tools such as photography and scenic representation. The images on our website (Editor's note: which no longer exists) are the result of her commitment and of her research.

Posted: March 19th, 2013
Author: Armenia

Updated: February 16th, 2017
Author: Armenia