In a world where even the ''experimental'' genre has been given finite boundaries, Robert Ziino is a musical pioneer composing for the free thinkers and aurally enlightened. With silence as his blank canvas, Ziino enters a euphoric, timeless state and creates like a painter of sound. There has yet to be a term of classification that fully captures the abstractions he creates. Using analog driven electronic modular synthesizers; his manipulations aim to produce soundscapes beyond those that history has given modern man. The instrumentation is entirely electronic, laid in one take with live mixing. His command of the endless possibilities of electronic patterns may forever change the concept of music. The latest album, Slaves for the Billionaires, offers listeners a glimpse into this journey of sonic discovery.
Raised in an Italian household filled with classical music, Ziino formed an early appreciation for sound. As he grew bored with the educational system and rebelled against the conditioning of the state, music became a refreshing place to turn. As a teenager, he was consumed with the thriving New York City music scene. Experiencing the live concerts of artists like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and so forth became somewhat of an obsession. Now, the New York City native has been transplanted to the redwood forests north of one of the meccas of progressive thinking, San Francisco.
Ziino got his start in music with a Farfisa Organ as his first keyboard, and later learned the synthesizer on the Arp Odyssey and Prophet 5. After developing his knowledge of reading music, Ziino rebelled against traditional theory. Ever the free thinker, this rebellion eventually developed into a rejection of all previous forms, patterns, and languages of politics, religion, music, and art, leading to his foray into the world of the experimental. Ziino''s new pursuit for something groundbreaking elevated him from musician to sonic explorer.
After receiving training as a Synclavier (cutting edge digital synthesizer/sampler at the time) operator from New England Digital, his ability at sound design took a dramatic leap forward. Later, he was hired for sound effects editing jobs on the Synclavier at EFX Systems in Burbank, CA and Streeterville Studio''s in Chicago, IL. Thinking from the perspective of sound effects rather than traditional melodies has had a noticeable impact on Ziino''s work.
So what should someone expect from a Robert Ziino album? In short, something you''ve never heard before. With modular synthesizers from around the world, he is constantly collecting the musical tools that will allow him to forever avoid the imprisonment of the norm. In an attempt to capture Ziino''s sound, critics have often fallen short of comparisons in the musical realm and turned to innovative filmmakers such as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and Stanley Kubrick. Others have found similarities in the earlier works of Pink Floyd such as Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother, or some of John Lennon''s experimental material. Some of the sounds are abrasive and create a sense of tension; even when creating a trance he aims to keep an element of that uncomfortable state to constantly challenge listeners. With each album he creates, his abilities progress and the sounds become more sophisticated. This latest album is by far Ziino''s most complex use of modular manipulation of sound. He aims to make a new album every year, so even if he is a lone pioneer in his sonic explorations, we''ll be well supplied with fresh tracks.
Aside from music, Robert Ziino also produces short experimental films that incorporate his soundscapes. Ultimately, he would like to find an independent filmmaker who creates something so visually unique and strange that it would be the perfect marriage with his music.
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