a synopsis of the project

Psychoplum is a live multimedia performance where video art, animation, film and new technological developments are interwoven with musical research from composition, improvisation to electronic music.

The performance starts out from an original script for an electro-acoustic and video trio developed by the Laboratorio Creativo Permanente, conducted by Daniel Del Monaco.
Psychoplum began as a format allowing the group to collaborate with other artists from different disciplines (video artists, musicians, dancers and others): the story is modular-based and enables new chapters to be constructed over time.

New site of Psychoplum

the plot

The Celebraloids species is involved in exploring other planets via the Tellyhand, which travelling aboard a Psychoplum, in a kind of intergalactic Odyssey, captures images from the various worlds explored and delivers them in the King’s presence.
From Tellyhand’s innocent and “pure” perspective, we can discover different universes full of ironic references to our own world.

the project

Psychoplum is an original work developed at the Laboratorio Creativo Permanente, directed by Daniele Del Monaco. Over time, imagery of visual insights, narrative structures and musical practices have become an integral part of the group’s personality.

The performance tells a story through music and projected images.

The real-time processing of the video and the use of electronic devices and sensors specifically constructed by the group for the interaction of audio and video, allow the musicians themselves to extemporaneously assembly the images. In any case, there is no lack of the spectacular elements of a more traditional concert.
What is emphasized in this work is not so much specialisation in one of these fields but rather their expressive relationship. In a clearly metaphorical way, the experiences that perhaps come closest to this compenetration between the arts, are ballet or 17th-century operatic forms, which alternate the figurative parts (pantomimes or recitations) with others that are abstract and intimately linked to the musical development (arias, choreography and solos).

Over the course of the narration, predominantly cinematographic sections alternate with more musical ones.

Phases with a more narrative character, in which the syntax of cinematography accompanies us with clarity through the unfolding of events, are followed by passages in which the images are developed by following the more elastic, but also more intimate, time of the music. At these points, it is as if cinematographic time had stopped to make room for what happens extemporaneously on stage.

This method of proceeding was made possible by the development within the laboratory of an entire series of technological resources favouring the interaction between music and video. The graphics were created integrating various approaches.

The video material was created through a mixed technique, using both traditional animation processes and typical video art techniques.

Many of the sounds produced by the electronic instruments (controlled from the percussionist’s pad, keyboards, wii remote controls and other controllers) are the result of research that is midway between composition and the luthier’s art. Over time, this research produced a large database of pre-recorded fragments (from entire musical phrases to isolated sounds) designed to be used in different combinations. In this way, the musicians have the possibility of formulating live, and even improvising, counterpoint solutions that have already been tried out and are coherent with the compositional discourse.
In the chromatic scale available to the musicians, the video-projections are integrated with their gestures through real-time electronic processing.

the music

The close entwining of writing and improvisation, the extensive use of technology, hallucinated sounds, the unexpected lyricism, heated dancing and icy impromptus are just some of the features that outline the group’s personality.

Psychoplum is an electro-acoustic concert for three instrumentalists, video and live-electronics, whose score allows the possibility of collaborating with different types of artists (actors, improvisers, performers, video-makers, etc.).

The trio uses a wide variety of flutes (recorder and bass, soprano and ethnic flutes), a small percussion orchestra (digital controllers, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, and myriads of objects, drums, membranes, cymbals), a number of electronic keyboards, an electric piano, and live-electronics.

This work plays with the linguistic debris of diverse acquired traditions, with a sense of mockery but also the subtle vein of bitterness of those who, in Old Europe, feel deprived of a tradition that links them to the past and projects them into the future. What remains is the present, a cynical and violent present populated by adventurers driven by their unstable illusions.
The musicians seem to dance in a sea of instruments. The sonorities range from spare three-voice counterpoints to great orchestral swells. Anything can happen because everything is a game. The word “cross-influence” is inadequate. Here, the genres do not blend at all. Rather, their juxtaposition clashes or, in other cases, is simply ridiculous. The sense of musical discourse is found elsewhere and it is the shared detachment of the musicians that reveals it: the scene is that of a circle of hell or an amusement park. At times the subterranean connecting theme reappears, made of lean elements, elementary sounds and subdued melodies. They are glimpsed, then disappear. It is the faint voice of the flute, a subtle ring of the cymbalon and a few notes of the electric piano. Talk is useless, it is better to play.