La Radio a Pedali Alessio Ballerini

cat: gal 0070
date: sept 21 2013
time: 36:00 

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LA RADIO A PEDALI Alessio Ballerini is one of the most prolific and versatile artist in the Italian scene, which can now prides itself of great artists known internationally (such as Attila Faravelli, Pietro Riparbelli, Davide Tidoni, Paolo Inverni, Enrico Ascoli, just to mention a few). He is joining Galaverna label presenting a work realised during a sound-event arranged by Radio Papesse and held in June 2011. <<”La Radio a Pedali” is a collaborative project by Radio Papesse in order to encourage people to meditate on themes such as energy – especially the one related to art and culture – and sustainability – both cultural and environmental>>, say the two curators of the project Carola Haupt and Ilaria Gadenz.

In his work Ballerini has been able to capture the essence of the performance held in Florence: a parade of cyclists where each of them were invited to carry a radio tuned on music for piano by Beethoven and Liszt. The result of Ballerini’s effort is a varied “acoustic scenario” in which there is a multiplication of sounds and conceptual levels (the cycling sound, the radio music, the path considered as an unique space). <<This experience – said the artist – has been a challenge also on a generational point of view, a longing for a possible meeting, between dichotomic concepts as bicycle-car or internet-LP record, in order to develop a different compositive approach based on raw recordings, post-production transfigurations and mixing>>.

As result, all layers merge into a single plan in which classical music compositions and field recordings get together into something completely new, unexpected and multifaceted. Ballerini describes his track as a mixture of “tunes of hopes and dreams”; an incredible dialogue is created between instrumental parts and participants voices, witness of an intense storytelling. Beyond any sterile and stereotyped representation, this work is an example of how field recording can step aside from being philological instrumental and create intense narrations.

Notes ‘La Radio a Pedali’ (eng. Radio on wheels) is a project produced by Radio Papesse in collaboration with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Theatre and Radio Rai 3. ‘La Radio a Pedali’ is a participatory project with which Radio Papesse tried to trigger a reflection around the ideas of energy – released by art and culture – and sustainability of both cultural consumption and environmental habits. On the occasion of the Nuit Blanche in Florence, last April the 30th, we invited cyclists to join a parade, to bring their own radio and to tune in to Rai Radio 3, that would have aired the live concert at the Maggio Fiorentino Theatre that very night: Beethoven and Liszt interpreted by Daniel Baremboim and the Maggio Fiorentino Orchestra, under the direction of Zubin Mehta. We invited the sound artist and musician Alessio Ballerini to record the sounds of the parade and the show he has produced for Radia – along with the sound postcard of the ride – is just a bit of the entire and multilayered audio project he is still developing.

Alessio Ballerini says “Along the run with many other bikers I held a 4 channel portable audio recorder in one hand, forward facing the two onboard mics and fastening the two other external mics on my backpack. That allowed me to record sounds both in front of me and in the rear. This was meant to allow me to postproduce the field recordings in two different forms. On one hand I decided to use and mix the frontal stereophonic recordings with other field recordings, original scores and extracts from Beethoven and Liszt; the output are both a 25 minutes long radio piece and a 6 tracks release. On the other hand, thanks to the 4 channel recordings I recreated the acoustic environment of the bike parade just adding more sounds to enhance the imaginary/imaginative experience of those visitors who will listen to it in a dark room absorbed by a quadraphonics reproduction. I decided to start with the recording of an interview with Zubin Mehta released by Radio Rai 3 just before the beginning of the concert”‘. Continue reading here

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La Radio a Pedali by Alessio Ballerini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at



‘La Radio a Pedali’ is a beautiful celebration of the world. Similar to Jan Jelinek’s Gesellschaft Zur Emanzipation Des Samples project, it explores the interaction between the recorded and real. Various broadcasts are heard between the regular field recording noises of traffic, occasional conversations, and even the sound of a broadcasted interview. When the sound switches over to more classical pieces those are the moments that help ‘La Radio a Pedali’ transcend the typical field recording work. Mixing together these different aspects helps further emphasize the emotional weight of the pre-recorded pieces. ‘I-Zubin Mehta’ ends with a slight glimpse at the recording’s modus operandi: a well-placed piano piece. Yet the piano piece fails to keep the listeners’ attention. On ‘II’ the concept is fully executed. The bike rings add a sense of humor to the otherwise incredibly serious piece. Every time the transmission fails it adds an additional layer of tragedy that otherwise would not exist. By far the album’s highlight is ‘III’ which begins with a mournful organ piece. Conflict between the field recording and the pre-recording is fierce in this track. Subtle tweaks to the sound allow it to shine. Around the two minute mark it momentarily defeats the field recording aspect as those listeners become completely quiet. With the piano evaporating at the end Alessio Ballerini’s approach shifts for the finale stretch of the album. ‘IV’ verges on an industrial classical sound which is quite unsettling. For the finale ‘VI’ the field recording aspects are fully removed revealing a dense cloud of impenetrable sound. ‘La Radio a Pedali’ is a compelling moving look at the sonic ecosystem.



Dedicarele poche battute di una recensione ad un lavoro di ricerca potrà sembrare ai più un atto d’accusa verso un mondo musicale regolato dal flusso imperante del suono più desueto. Forse lo è. Tentare di descrivere in poche righe ciò che pulsa e vive nell’angolo sperduto di una realtà a sua volta lontana dal mainstream è operazione al limite dell’impossibile ma che, a nostro parere, si deve fare. Per mancanza di spazio vi rimandiamo alle note esplicative nella pagina della release, convinti che anche un semplice elettrodomestico come la radio possa essere portatore di CULTURA E AFFASCINANTE INNOVAZIONE. [Mirco Salvadori]


Una passeggiata in bicicletta per le vie del centro di Firenze, al suono in bassa fedeltà di radio a transistor che emettono le note di Beethoven e Liszt, interpretate da Daniel Barenboim e dall’Orchestra del Maggio Fiorentino, diretta da Zubin Mehta. È questa la fotografia sonora scattata dell’inedita installazione in movimento scattata da Alessio Ballerini e racchiusa nelle sei istantanee di “La radio a pedali”. Il suo approccio concreto trova nell’occasione un duplice coronamento, da un lato attraverso la sublimazione dell’estemporaneità di un universo di detriti sonori gravitante intorno alla performance, dall’altro attraverso un successivo lavoro di filtraggio e aggiunta di saturi tasselli processati, rispondenti a una più canonica logica descrittivo-ambientale e individuabili nelle tre tracce di numero pari. La matrice auditiva della declinazione “ambientale” di Ballerini permane tuttavia principalmente quella della presa diretta di una materia sonora viva e cangiante proprio in ragione del suo carattere di accidentalità. Così, mentre la forza di trazione umana alimenta il percorso ciclistico trasfigurandolo in field recording “grammofonato” della post-moderna sinfonia itinerante, è proprio il discorso introduttivo dell’operazione da parte dello stesso Zubin Mehta – riportato integralmente nella lunga traccia d’apertura – a richiamare alla riflessione sul ruolo della tecnologia applicato alla musica e legato allo sviluppo artistico e sociale. Un ulteriore spunto “concreto” di una rappresentazione in movimento, catturata da Ballerini e resa in tutta la sua dimensione di plastico divenire. [Raffaello Russo]


[...] The result is an entertaining mix of found sound, conversational snippets, radio announcers, bicycle noises and classical music which never sits still. With a couple of notable exceptions, especially ‘VI’, the studio editing of the recordings reinforces the acoustic and physical entropy of such an undertaking. The moments where the recordings relent to a studio-based praxis are simple and beautiful. Well worth repeated listens.


Alessio Ballerini is an Italian sound artist who works in sound installations, drawings, art video, music and sound design. Along with Francesco Giannico he run Oak editions imprint dedicated to promoting electroacoustic music, soundscapes and ambient textures. He has over 20 releases on labels and netlabels. Ballerini uses field recordings, electronic devices guitar, laptop and piano. ‘La Radio a Pedali’ / ‘Radio on wheels’ is a project produced by Radio Papesse in colaboration with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Theatre and Radio 3 RAI. For the Nuit Blanche in Florence show, Abril 2011, were invited cyclists to bring their own radios and tune in to Radio 3 RAI for the live concert of that night with the music of Beethoven and Liszt interpreted by Daniel Barenboim and the Maggio Fiorentino Orchestra, under the direction of Zubin Mehta. Ballerini recorded with a 4 channel portable audio recorder facing two mics in the front and two in his backpack. When he work this material he mix the frontal sounds with field recordings, original scores of Beethoven and Liszt music and furthermore, acoustic sounds of the bikes, dialogues of the cyclists and the sound environment of the people riding their bikes. ‘Radio on wheels’ start with Zubin Mehta’s interview and then a mix of mechanic bike noises blend with Beethoven and Liszt music and people chating. This is a perfect recreation of this project and specially for the people who didn’t attend to this show. [Guillermo Escudero]