Monday, February 16, 2009

An Introduction

MEMORIA was formed in Rome, Italy in 1991, under the guidance of Marco Spatuzzi. Their repertoire of atmospheric rock spans the music genre, from New Age Music to Progressive Rock. The group recorded two albums, and toured extensively in Italy. By 2005, the group went through a line-up change giving us their current incarnation.

The writing and arranging of the Blade Runner Rock Project started in December of 2004. This labour of love saw it's debut in March of 2006 at the Nino Manfredi di Ostia, in Rome, Italy.

I stumbled upon this group in July of 2007 whilst surfing through the YouTube videos for Blade Runner fan-created material for the KippleZone YouTube Channel.
What caught my attention on YouTube that evening was Memoria’s concert footage from their show at the "Locanda Blues" in Rome of 2006. They were rocking-out to the movie Blade Runner projected between them on a big screen. I was absolutely blown away. So, I did an internet search and found their website and their MySpace.

Memoria presented a new way of viewing the neo-noir film Blade Runner. The idea was to translate, in music and in words, the over-industrialized; multi-ethnic; dehumanized; polluted environment; depiction of a dystopian future, with focus on the storyline, and the character's relationships and feelings.

The movie was projected on a screen accompanied with original music entirely composed by Memoria. It was rock oriented, but didn't neglect the ambiance of the cyberpunk film setting. The songs paired with the scenes, savoring every key element in the film. The music enhanced the vision, whilst the words reinforced the story.

I asked for an interview for KippleZone in late July of 2007. KippleZone is a website I created in 2005 featuring fan-fiction inspired by the movie Blade Runner. It eventually evolved to feature interviews, articles, and multimedia inspired by both Blade Runner and the book it was based on called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.

By August 10th the article was completed. I asked for translations of a few of the songs to post up. I got them interpreted by Marco, and also by a friend from the Off-World Forums, Michele (also in Italy, but unrelated to the group), and an online language interpreter tool to give me the best possible English translations. I took a little poetic license with them, because the translations from the beautifully elegant and romantic Italian to the considerably short English syntax and grammar did the music no justice.

Marco was impressed and asked if I'd like to translate ALL the lyrics. I was humbled and honoured beyond belief by his request. As I received the rest of the songs... one by one... (with both the Italian and the English translations) I found that the songs could tell a much better story than what was presented to me. Without resistance, I was given full reign to re-write the lyrics. And so I did, over the next four months, re-write the lyrics and sent them to Marco for his and the group's approval. Carolina, the vocalist for Memoria, would sing them and then send them back to me for further critiquing and modifications.

Since then, we went back and forth with various plans as to how we should present this production to the English speaking world. In the meantime, they had recorded eleven of the twenty-five songs, in their original Italian lyrics, in the studio for their shows in Italy.

Although time had elapsed, I never stopped thinking about this music and how to get this music out to the world, whilst sticking to the qualifications of each of our personal standards. This project was something I would not let die, never to be heard by no more than a select few, as was it's fate had I not persisted.

In October of 2008 I conducted a sample test of one of the songs. I brought the tracks of "Merchants of Souls" down to Derek Studios in Dalton, Massachusetts to be mixed. Greg Steele mixed the song with his magic touch. The result can be heard on our ReverbNation player. It was then that both Marco and I knew that we could release a decent cd. This performance was "created" to be performed live. A "studio" recording takes away from the mystique. Capturing the energy and dynamics of the musician's performance can only be caught live.

The members of Memoria had since moved on to pursue other music endeavours, leaving Marco and I the task of presenting our collaborative efforts. This is not to say this production would never see a live performance again. Under the right circumstances this could be achieved.

Working on this project has been a dream for me. Not only was I able to pay tribute to this classic movie, contributing to the ever-growing fandom of Blade Runner. But, I was blessed to have worked with a group of extremely talented musicians. For that I am grateful. I cannot express my gratitude enough.

Without your support this music would never see the light of day. Thank you for helping to bring this production into the world... from out of a dream, to becoming a reality.

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~ C.A. Chicoine