Affects and aesthetic speculations | Nicola Di Croce


Affects and aesthetic speculations | Nicola Di Croce
GrDl 213 | Gruen Digital > [order]


The album is a collection of edited field recordings dealing with the concept of affective atmosphere and human/listener positioning within the sonic environment.
Over the past years I found myself recording sounds in many different places around Europe. In each location I wasn’t simply interested in grasping the character of the place, rather through long recording sessions I was fascinated to explore how to attune to these places, how to dive and disappear within their sonic textures.
This led me to consider listening and recording practices as tools to approach the atmosphere of a place, which could be defined as the intensity emerging from the relations between bodies and the environment.


More Information: Booklet PDF



1. Scafa – 9:12
The recordings were taken in Cagliari (Italy) in 2018 while I took part in a series of events promoted by the cultural association “L’ambulante”. Their project “Videoritratti in Sardegna” hosted a workshop I curated called “Reframing 3: Sounds, films, margins”. Through this workshop, I investigated the sonic environment of Cagliari’s one of the most marginalized areas of the city, the Doks, together with a group of participants. Thanks to Margherita Pisano and Gaetano Crivaro, who invited me to Cagliari.


2. Quintinio Sella – 10:40
The recording was taken in Novara (Italy) in 2018, where I was doing location scouting for a sound installation. Walking along a canal, I was fascinated by this urban area for its proximity to the historical center, to the main railway station and for its post industrial character. Thanks to Corrado Beldì who invited me to Novara.


3. Furnas – 8:00
The recordings were taken in Sao Miguel, Azores (Portugal) in 2017, where I travelled to join the conference “Invisible places. Sound, Urbanism, and sense of place”. After the conference, I went on a field recording trip through the island, exploring the Volcanos, shores and geothermal steam sites. Thanks to Leandro Pisano and my parents, who shared this experience with me.


4. Carbonera – 13:58
The recordings were taken in the Venice lagoon in 2017, and explored the sonic environment of some abandoned islands of the lagoon, namely Carbonera, Buel del Lovo, and Poveglia. Commonly described as places haunted by spirits, these islands unfolded a deeply natural environment while showing at the same time their closeness to human made infrastructures, such as the Venice international Airport. Thanks to Angela Pescolderung and Enrico Coniglio and for sharing this experience with me.


5. Route 1 – 7:15
The recordings were taken in Iceland in 2017 following the Route 1, the only national road that circles the entire island. Crossing small towns, fjords and glaciers, I was able to record an environment under deep transformation, whereas the impressive fractures of icebergs are among the most important tourist attractions. Thanks to Angela Pescolderung, for sharing this experience with me.


6. Castelforte – 4:59
The recording was taken in the historic center of Venice, Italy, and focused on a street corner where a beggar sat and asked for help while singing a chant that profoundly affected me, as I was living just around the corner. Thanks to the singing man, who made me think deeply about otherness.


6 Tracks (54′04″)



Recordings, composition and mix
Nicola Di Croce


Tomislav Bucalic


Graphic design
Angela Pescolderung, Tapiro design


Thanks to
Angela Pescolderung, Lasse-Marc Riek, Enrico Coniglio, Livia Filotico, NUB Project space, Francesca Lenzi, Lorenzo Maffucci, Margherita Pisano, Gaetano Crivaro, Corrado Beldì, Leandro Pisano.


Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2023 / GrDl 213 / LC 09488





Richard Allen | a closer listen
Featuring recordings from Italy, Iceland and Portugal, Affects and aesthetic speculations is an invitation to consider the listener within the sonic environment. How is one affected by the sounds one hears? How do human sounds affect the biosphere? Do listeners acclimate or attempt to dominate?


The Doks of Cagliari is the opening subject, awash in the sounds of traffic and sea: two competing sources whose juxtaposition is jarring. One wishes to tune one out, but cannot; the motorcycles are particularly aggressive, the planes even louder. Nature is losing this sonic battle. One worries about the emotional health of the seabirds, but also the impact on the human residents. In the closing minutes, the din recedes, though the sonic field is dominated by a human contribution: a knocking buoy. Even when we are not around, we are annoying.


“Quintinio Sella,” recorded aside an Italian canal, treads a similar path, although this time the sound increases to a near-drone, the aural byproducts of industry building toward potentially painful levels. “Furnace” provides a change of pace and place. After attending the “Invisible places. Sound, Urbanism, and sense of place” conference, Nicola Di Croce steps out on his own, testing the ideas across thermal vents, volcanos and shores. As the human element is reduced, listeners may make a connection between the droning sounds of nature and those of factories. Each produces a similar visceral reaction, although the first is akin to awe and the second overwhelming without the wonder.


“Carbonera” furthers the conversation, centering on the “abandoned islands” of a lagoon located near an airport. As few humans would wish to live near an airport ~ not only due to congestion, but the sounds of takeoffs, landings and sonic booms ~ one wonders if the avian occupants have had a similar conversation, accepting the sound in exchange for the relative privacy. Should we force creatures to make such decisions? Are there any pristine sonic environments within their flight zones, and if so, are they sustainable?


One such area is Iceland, circled by the Ring Road (Route 1). Three-quarters of the nation’s human population lives in the Reykjavik area, leaving most of the center and much of the outer border to nature. Tourism and development are threatening even these natural environments, but for now at least the population is aware, concerned and active. Di Croce’s travels around the road expose the rich biosphere. Returning to Venice, the artist ends with a shocking parallel: a singing beggar by his home. As often as we ignore the cries of those around us, even more do we ignore the cries of other living creatures, as we continue to tread heavily upon the earth.