Nicola Fornasari is an eclectic ambient artist coming from Cremona (Italy). Firstly trained as bass player involved in the harcore band Entropia he turned his creative interest to new musical fields back in 2007 with the formation of his solo project Xu. In itself his musical register can be appreciated as a medley between minimal dronescapes, ambient experimentalism, modern classical and aleatoric sound manipulations based on found sounds, concrete noises. His musical production has been welcomed by a number of labels, including Eilean, Cathedral Transmissions, Twice Removed, Triple Moon Records and al. Nicola is preparing a new album, up to be published on the 4th of July by Flaming Pines (for their “tiny portraits series”).
What is your musical background and how have you decide to produce your own music in first place?
I was the bass player and singer of the hardcore band Entropia from 1995 to 2006, releasing stuff on various international compilation, a 7″ on Tenia Records (ITA), a full length CD on Six Weeks Records (USA) and playing more than a hundred gigs all around Italy and Europe. I do not have any classical music preparation but, since I was little, I have always listened to a lot of different genres (from early Motown Records to 80s darkwave, from Franco Battiato to Dead Kennedys, from Fugazi to Bjork and so on…).At the end of the 90s I was in love with trip-hop (Massive Attack, Tricky, etc.) but also with The Orb psychedelic ambient stuff. In that period I also listened to a lot of dub music, as well as drum&bass and jungle… but something really change when I began to dive regularly into the enormous Coil discography; I can’t say how their work has influenced me as a musician, but I must admit that their imaginary at the time has influenced me a lot. Another band that I must mention are Stars of the Lid that made me fall in love with drone / beatless music.
So I started working as Xu(e) in 2007, as Xu in 2010 and as La Petite Vague in 2012.
What is your compositional plan and how would you define your music?
I usually start playing (and looping) without any particular plan or scheme. During these impros I use the minimum number of sound sources + my standard setup that includes a small mixing desk, contact mics, stompbox pedals and an iPad with Borderlands Granular or Samplr (as appropriate). In this way I recorded hours and hours of material on a multitrack Motu audio interface. During the second part of the process I listen to all the recorded material and select the best moments, then I proceed to the mixing, which typically does not involve heavy DSP processing but simple EQ and layering. By the way, I do not know how to define my music… I can only assure it comes from the non-rational and instinctive part of my personality and, consequently, is simple and sincere and hope – in some ways – spiritual.
What are you currently working on?
At this moment I am completing my new record as Xu. As regards Xu(e), we’ve been working for more than a year on a record with many collaborations (hope it will soon see the light!). Recently I came back to work with Vincenzo Nazzaro (Rooms Delayed), we’re slowly recording stuff for a brand new album.
Xu & Rooms Delayed new soundscape is included in the compilation “Acquainted with passing clouds”: https://triplemoonrecords.bandcamp.com/