Caterina Barbieri (Bologna, 1990) is a Berlin-based Italian composer who explores themes related to machine intelligence and object oriented perception in sound through a focus on minimalism. Barbieri holds a diploma in classical guitar and a bachelor’s degree in electro-acoustic music from the conservatory of Bologna, Italy, alongside a bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Humanities and Philosophy of Bologna with a thesis in Ethnomusicology about Hindustani music and minimalism. Since 2013 she has researched and produced music at the renowned Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm, where she has intensively composed for the Buchla 200 system. Her debut album Vertical, composed for Buchla 200 and vocals, was produced between Elektronmusikstudion and the Royal University of Music in Stockholm and released via Important Records’ Cassauna offshoot (8 October 2014).
Barbieri’s composition practice arises from a meditation on primary waveforms and the exploration of the polyphonic and polyrhythmic potential of sequencers. By means of synthesis, pattern based operations and subtractive counterpoint, her music draws severe geometries in time and space. Approaching music practice as an integrative cognitive feedback between humans and technology lies at the core of her current sonic research, as well as the exploration of the psycho-physical effects of repetition and pattern-based operations in music. Since 2016, Barbieri collaborates with the historical Berlin’s festival Atonal on multimedia productions including her collaboration with Kali Malone Upper Glossa, who debuted at the festival’s 2016 edition to massively positive critical acclaim, with The Wire picking out the performance as a festival highlight and describing it as “a trip deep within the mothership – hypnotic and beautifully disorientating”.
1: sound is love
2: love is sound
3: non c’è due senza tre
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
A certain state of clarity in my body and mind
2. How and when did you get into making music?
When I was a teenager and I started making noise in my free time from my classical music class at the Conservatory.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Electric Counterpoint, Steve Reich
Cello Suites, Bach
Mika Vainio, Olento
Loveless, My Bloody Valentine
El Mundo Frio, Corrupted
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Love, freedom, multi-culturality.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Modo, the bar where all my friends meet.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
XAllegroX, Lorenzo Senni.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
My friends Kali Malone and Ellen Arkbro.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The Long Now, 2016. It was my first concert in Kraftwerk, Berlin. An amazing yet scary venue. A few months before, in the same venue, I saw one of the best gig at Atonal 2015, Risveglio by Alessandro Cortini.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s very important but it’s always a feedback process between me and the machine. A sort of integrative cognitive circuit. Music is always a negotiation between the design of the technology and the design of the human brain rather than the simple imposition of an idea upon a passive matter. For me Technology is a trigger for creativity and a tool for the expansion and re-configuration of perceptions.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a sister. Sometimes I feel a little sad when she doesn’t listen to my new record but I know she supports me in other ways.