Vince Gagliardi aka The Nent is a 3D artist and musician whose gradient dream-like aesthetic is rooted in a passion for broken ambient textures and eerie field recordings which he has gathered over the past fifteen years. Heavily driven by documenting the emotional stages of life, this helped ignite the start of his audiovisual project The Nent - in which live percussions are combined to trigger sound and image in synchronistic fashion. His mix of hypnotic rhythms and surreal visual imagery challenge abstract connections that may occur in the perceiver’s mind. In addition to The Nent, Gagliardi is also a co-founder and artistic director of Modern Bön, a Berlin-based collective which has become known for its powerful, meditative performances and releases.
The Nent will be premiering a brand new live A/V performance called “Neither” at this week’s Lunchmeat Festival in Prague. As a visual artist, he is also contributing work to two other acts at the festival. To help get ready we sat down with the artist to talk about his project, the festival and Modern Bön. (see below)
The Brvtalist: Let's start at the beginning - tell us about your music and art background and the formation of The Nent project.
The Nent: I started to do music when I was 17 years old. Fascinated by dark, industrial and emotional sounds, I also started to imagine how to represent sci-fi landscapes and stories. I wanted to find out how to realize those worlds with 3D animation (inspired by videos like Venetian Snares - "Szamar Madar" and Autechre - "Gantz Graf"). So, on the side of my architecture studies, I also started to study 3D animation. It took me quite a long time to achieve the level of music and video I wanted but I recently felt comfortable to create both and express them in an homogeneous way. That was how The Nent began in 2016.
TB: You are also a founding member and art director of Modern Bön, a collective which has become known for its dark, ritualistic performances and meditative sound experimentations. The collective states that its not religious or political. What are some of the influences and ultimate goals of the what the collective is doing?
TN: Modern Bön has the goal to organize events in which the listener can escape the stress of the city life and fall into an active perception of the music and ultimately into a meditative state. We try to vary the offerings in order to reach more people, still we mostly focus our efforts on drone and experimental-ritual music, as we consider this genre as the most suited to achieve our goal. We also operate within the hypnotic and repetitive beats of some peculiar shades of dark techno.
TB: At Lunchmeat Festival this year, you will premiere "Neither", an AV performance showcasing the dualities of your work - sound through The Nent and voice through Vū . Tell us more about the presentation and specifically about the vocal work and what inspired the visual elements of the piece.
TN: I have a very creative mind, and even if I tried to put everything into one project with The Nent I couldn’t fit the whole thing. Also, I wanted to have a more instinctive and physical music project, using less software and more ethnic percussions, which I named Vū (from the mantra sound I sing most of the time). It is different compared to The Nent which is more "structured" and takes a long time to edit the layers of field recordings and to build a strong concept that keeps the connection between audio and video together.
The title "Neither" for the premiere at Lunchmeat, is about this ongoing separation process of the two projects, and will give a hint of both - the new brighter and melodic atmospheres of The Nent (inspired by the experimental sounds of labels such as Pan, Subtext, Triangle etc. ) and the hypnotic dark rituals of Vū.
As Vū I recently did some remixes for tracks of The Nent to experiment within the separation of the two, both released on Modern Bön, one as single (DIVANTAE) and one on our third Various Artists Compilation (VACUUM). Another remix for Skuv was released on "Mors Omnibus", a compilation on Pact Infernal´s label Altar this Summer.
The visual work behind "Neither" will represent this duality, by blending Icelandic vast and empty landscapes, in which games of lights will explode together with the music progressions of The Nent, while in the second part there will be visuals recalling the dark mood which is becoming characteristic of Vū.
TB: At Lunchmeat, you are also providing visuals for the premieres of "Endless" by Nastika and "Dreamcold" by Skrei. Tell us about these pieces and a little bit about the collaborations.
TN: For Nastika´s "Endless" premiere, we wanted to achieve visuals with deep and strong meanings, according to the chats we had while he was still composing the music. I prepared long camera movements within immense claustrophobic tunnels and spaces, in which the human mind is forced to live, intoxicated by stereotypes given by society and religions, prisons without escape, expressed in an "Endless", hopeless run into a light which probably doesn't even exist.
Also the work on "Endless" tries to go against false representation of idols which you can see in many religious figures and statues, now in mass production, and reminds a bit the same connection, as now we are slaves to visual content from iphones and images in general.
For my partner in crime Skrei and his new work "Dreamcold", we started from a couple of lines he wrote, and I imagined to represent its idea of a life in struggle, where there is no space for real human connections, or love, and everything feels senseless. Using some footage recorded in the south of Italy (where we both come from) and adding some distortions, the viewer can have a glimpse of what the eyes of someone who cannot see a direction in this life, would perceive.
Time will be dilated to recall the sound of Skrei´s drone which became a trademark and made him known as one of the most interesting acts in the drone/noise/harsh scene.
TB: While much of your work has a tribal, almost ancient feel to it, you are also a 3D artist. How does modern technology impact your work and how much do you embrace it?
TN: Especially in this premiere you will see that I left a clear digital aspect to the visuals, to let them blend better with the digital sound of the edited field recordings, which is a huge part in The Nent sound. For Vū (as for the approach on the sound) I won’t develop the video part further, and even if I would change lately, it would surely not be digitally made with 3D software, but if so it would be rather real footage from a camera, to keep the human feel this project aims to keep.
TB: What's coming up next for The Nent and/or Modern Bön?
TN: For The Nent I would like to bring it a bit out of the Dark Ambient scene (where Vū will take over) and go on a more "sophisticated/experimental" direction and let it dig deeper into the sea of imagination, and just see where it will go. With Modern Bön we have 2 upcoming shows - one with Nastika as well in Berlin and one with the legendary Zoviet France. We have many more TBA for Winter and Spring together with the 4th Modern Bön festival in 2020.
We are also always trying to explore the underground scene all over the world, to discover the most interesting deep and meditative acts, which would fit with our philosophy, to invite them in our events, and spread this modern way of approaching meditation more and more. We also plan on more European tours (like the recent one with Phurpa) and try in our little reality to keep on fighting against this progressive disconnection from our real human nature.
Thank you to The Nent for speaking with us. For more on Lunchmeat Festival & tickets visit: https://www.lunchmeatfestival.cz/2019/