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Daniele De Santis is a Berlin-based percussionist, drummer, and electronic music producer from Bari, Italy. Grounded in jazz, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern percussion styles, electronic music, and sound engineering, his work presents a varied series of musical experiences driven by spontaneous multi-instrumentalism and eclecticism.
De Santis has worked as a session and solo percussionist in the fields of contemporary jazz improv and chamber music for many years, all the while treading a parallel path in the electronic music realm, first through his MDF project and now via his most recent creature, GRÜN, the name for a peculiar cycle of productions, machines, and solo performances that De Santis has been developing since relocating to Berlin. Driven by an enlightening first encounter with electromagnetism and its enormous potential as an engine for sound generation and physical automation, as GRÜN, De Santis composes using electrical circuit design and through the creation of modular sound objects. The GRÜN machines have taken shape through studies and experiments focusing on electromagnetism as a natural source and expression of life.
De Santis dedicated the project to the colour green, an archetypal symbol of what we usually call "nature”. Merging electricity as a direct source of sound, field recordings of natural tactile noises, and tonal elements (often live or recorded string instruments parts), GRÜN imagines sound as a living organism seen from the inside. De Santis’s arrangements are based on a fully improvised, performative approach built out of spontaneous gestural interaction with the machines. A natural and unstable musicality is thus gradually revealed; momentary geometries take shape, momentarily, within the freeform of the living matter and then disappear again.
GRÜN's performances are usually merged with real-time generative visuals made and controlled by Davide Luciani. The duo has appeared at international festivals like Berlin Atonal, Copenhagen’s STRØM, and the CTM Siberia edition in 2015. GRÜN’s debut album, Supervegetale, was released this past year on De Santis’ new label, Dromoscope Editions. The album, which fuses electrical impulses, field recordings, and acoustic piano, constitutes the first of a four-part cassette release series curated by De Santis to launch the label. This series (called Antidigital) is designed to explore four different artists’ approaches to rejecting the analog/digital binary.
In 2015, De Santis began a collaboration with Morphine label head and electronic music producer Rabih Beaini. In this pairing, which appeared this past year at the Jazzhouse in Copenhagen and at CTM’s Siberia edition, De Santis returns to his roots as a percussionist for the first time in years.