Enrico Bettinello – “I try to do my best, but sometimes it happens to me to buy something again or be surprised to have a record I did not remember of…”

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I’ll inscribe you in the ‘tidy ones’. It seems that you’re one of those who can locate an album in a glimpse, right? And, as expected knowing you as a journalist, I found many jazz albums, with a special relevance to “Bitches Brew” on top. Is it there by chance, or is “The Album” for you? Is there any reason why is it exposed between two cute old children books? Maybe mostly a visual contrast?

Ok, you got me!
I think you can inscribe me in the “tidy ones”, sure I am and maybe more prosaically I have to, in order to quickly find something of I have to for professional reasons.
With regard to my skill to locate a record (or a book) in a glimpse, I wouldn’t be that sure… I try to do my best, but sometimes it happens to me to buy something again or be surprised to have a record I did not remember of…
Due to my job and my “story”, jazz represents a huge part of my collection, hundreds of vinyls and literally thousands and thousands of CDs (I started writing and collecting when this format was – strange as it seems now! – up to date).
“Bitches Brew” is now on the shelf, but I see that “space” as an ever-changing display, I don’t want to say that it’s there “by chance” – of course not – but it is not “the Album” for me. I don’t think I have “The album” at all and if I will take the same picture in few weeks, probably you’d see another record and other books.
Visual contrast is mostly the reason for matching it with some old children books.
I am a collector of oldies, weird stuff and so on… and I like to try to make different objects start having a kind of “conversation”. Between each other, with me, my family and my memories, with guests and friend who bump into them.

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Nice to see also Taschen books on records cover… are you then into the visual part of records as much as into the music aspect?

The visual part of records is definitely relevant.
Once I was a kind of obsessed by this. Now I have the feeling it’s a played-out topic, too many books, too many blogs about this. But yes, I am still a little obsessed, in my Pinterest boards you can find a lot of covers…
From the XX century on, music has been heavily connected to its visual side (in terms of packaging, promotion, etc.), but I’d like to stress that, anyway, I don’t collect records or books whose contents I am not interested into or I won’t be listening to.

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Among the CD boxes I’ve seen some weirdo, or at least some totally unknown stuff to me (maybe ’cause I’m not that much into jazz). What is “Risiko 100”? Has it something to do with the table game?

“Risiko 100” is not a jazz cd, but a CD + DVD anthology celebrating Bungalow records release n. 100. In 2002 labels and distributors were sending to me (and to my colleagues too, of course) literally tons of promo CDs and Berlin-based Bungalow – a label run by Le Hammond Inferno – was super active in electronic and electropop, producing names like Hammond Inferno or Yoshinori Sunahara.
One thing I really aimed to, since I started writing about (and later curating) music in the late Nineties, was not to be trapped into the “jazz critic” box. Of course I am a jazz critic and jazz music is between main interests, but I always wanted to write about different languages, from electronics to contemporary composition.

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Yes, I’m sure you’re omnivorous, musically speaking, and it’s funny as most of the people I meet here on CS always want to specify this aspect (“I’m not a narrow-minded listener!”). And I also do the same when some friend of mine tries to label me as “industrial music fan”, so I love to tell that I like Tom Waits or Francesco Guccini. BUT: everyone of us has some genre that is over the boundaries of his own tastes. For me, for instance, is classic prog-rock, with very few exceptions. What is for you? Do you like J-Pop, like Maru Fufunjiru?  Or power electronics, like Paolo Bandera?

I don’t just want people to know that “I’m not a narrow-minded listener!” (maybe someone could think I am, no worries), but maybe something more connected with the idea of taking care about the listener more than the “art” itself. Back to your interesting topic about genres, I am not interested in metal, nor in commercial dance-music.

I don’t know J-Pop that much, as any genre that is culturally far from us, I can get some ideas and emotions, not everything: I am not an importer nor an endorser, I listen to and write about music that I can relate to a cultural environment. In the matter of power electronics, I have been between the promoters of Merzbow and Zbigniew Karkowski’s concerts in Venice, I don’t know how much this could count, but I am more interested in extreme sound experience as a curator than as a home-listener.

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Well, actually at the first sight I didn’t particularly notice the Stockhausen LPs… I would expect maybe more Cage stuff from you, maybe because I link your name to jazz, and somehow also Cage’s one. Why do you like so much Stockhausen then?

I think that I don’t really have any Cage‘s LP, all my Cage is on cd…
The Stockhausen LPs’ story is very personal and nice. A family friend, a sweet lady now in her late seventies, gave me this unbelievable Stockhausen collection for free. The LPs were of her late husband and she was so kind to give them to someone that she thought could really enjoy them. Of course I am and I am deeply thankful to her for this priceless attention.
Acquiring this collection, I started digging a lot of Stockhausen’s music I haven’t listened to before and I have to say that I love it, although out of fashion some of it may sound today.

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I’ve seen the ‘jazz’ books photo. We live in an era of apparent extremely easy access to music listening, and so many words around it, many webzines, blogs (maybe including this one) and comments on social platforms. I’m sure you think that writing about music still makes a lot of sense, and I do, but how would you tell this, motivate this importance to a so-called ‘millennial’?

I’ve been recently invited to roundtables and panels about this topic and maybe I do not have any smart answer or, when smart, not very impressive for a millennial, who knows…
Of course writing about music still makes a lot of sense, as long as there are stories to tell and there is someone who wants to read them and considers this useful.
Essays, articles, reviews, blogs, social comments, each has its dimension and function and when someone asks (it happened few months ago during an interesting panel in Katowice) “aren’t you afraid that a free blogger could steal your job?” I can only answer quoting Louis C.K. about migrants stealing jobs: “Of course blogger can steal your job, but maybe, if someone working for free, unexperienced and less skilled steals your job, you shit!”
So, trying not to be shit and keeping on bringing stories, ideas and new perspectives to my readers is a fair daily goal.




Enrico Bettinello is a performing arts/music curator and writer from Venice, Italy.  He curates projects for/with Foundation Pinault/Palazzo Grassi, Novara Jazz Festival, ProHelvetia (“New Echoes”), I-Jazz, Biennale French Pavilion and teaches at IED Design and Ca’ Foscari University International College.
He collaborates with Giornale della Musica, AllAboutJazz, BlowUp, Rai Radio3, RSI 2 and is the author of the book “Storie di jazz” (Arcana Edizioni).
He is member of the Board of Directors of Europe Jazz Network.

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