Absence and emotion
Conversation with Vinicio Capossela
I’m not from Milan, but I have a rather particular relationship with this city. For me it has always been “the city”. One can think of it as a metropolis of secrecy, a place in which to distance oneself from things without really taking part in it. I have built a very personal network of places, places of absence and emotion, that tie me to this city.
“I am very fond of the tram and of the networks of tram-rails that run in the city like iron veins. I was moved to see in San Francisco the same tram that runs on line L and F in Milan. These carriages are very aristocratic and for me they are the real geography of the city”
Hearing the noise of the iron “tututu tututu…”. Then there is the Central Station (Stazione Centrale) that has no equal even in Eastern Europe; it was built with such a huge sense of greatness. The station still preserves intact the colossal epic of the train when it was used to travel great distances thus retaining the flavour of old Europe.
For a while now I have been living in the Stazione Centrale area that always belongs to absence: people arrive then leave immediately. In my song I have called this neighbourhood Barrio like in the tango which means “the neighbourhood to which one belonged”.
My last album called Da Solo was recorded between Milan and Brooklyn. There are several things that are similar between America and here, and it seemed to me to have closed this circle in San Francisco, at the end of this journey after everything was finished. I got on a tram which was identical to those in Milan.
My album Da Solo was born from the noises of trams that I hear passing in via Settembrini and I had in mind the cover of a famous record by Thelonious Monk called Alone in San Francisco. He gets on a tram, and I was thinking “alone in… alone in via Scarlatti…no, no”, I said, “Alone (Da Solo)”, on its own. This whole adventure finished on this tram in San Francisco, the same that passes through via Settembrini in Milan.
“In the loneliness of the metropolis, in the absences, there is something that has a lot to do with American scenography and therefore until the final chapter music has found itself between the streets of the Naviglio and Stazione Centrale”
November 18, 2009