Guybrush is the solo project of Francesco Ameglio, a sound artist currently based in Turin, Italy. After studying at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague (Netherlands) he lived between Paris and Montreal where he worked as a sound designer for interactive media, especially video games.
In 2015 he co-founded SØVN records, a label of experimental music with a particular focus on creating unique packaging. He even quite honorably claims that Esc.rec. was a huge inspiration for them, when they decided to start this groundbreaking label. Check their catalogue at sovnrecords.bandcamp.com
Francesco Ameglio's sonic research is based on sonic failures, incorrect compositional choices and how sound can be used as a radical tool to explore the capitalistic structure of our society. Bewitched by real and virtual interactions he considers computers as an all-encompassing instrument to convey a constant state of uncertainty through sounds.
Francesco Ameglio: "I've composed the tracks for 'Something Extremely Light' between January and August 2019, while I was living in Madrid. I had to move there because of a job; a temporary situation, but it still took me far away from my family and beloved for 8 months. Living in this big city, I felt extremely lonely, even though I never experienced this loneliness as negative nor positive. It was more like a limbo where things were suspended and gently offered me a new way to interpret what was happening around me. I've tried to translate this feeling into music, using textures as still frames of my daily life in the city. I walked everyday for an hour to get to the work place, and I think most of the ideas for 'Something Extremely Light' came to me during those walks in the Madrid suburbs. The buildings, the streets and even the sky appeared motionless, but it wasn't sad or nostalgic, I'd say more like a solitary moment of contemplation. 'Something Extremely Light' became a way to explain to myself what it means to be living away from your so called home, and what really matters at the end of the day, spent in a place that doesn't belong to you."
Something Extremely Light is released as a limited edition audio cassette in a fold out, leporello-like cover, with photos that Francesco Ameglio made in Madrid, during his stay there. The release is also available on all download and streaming platforms.
Review by Josh Hughes in A Closer Listen:
"The thesis statement to Francesco Ameglio’s latest project under Guybrush is found in one of the track titles itself: “I Woke Up In Madrid And I Felt Lonely”. A sound artist and scholar based out of Turin, Italy, Ameglio recorded the Something Extremely Light EP during a temporary, isolated stint in Spain. The resulting six tracks offer concise ruminations on foreign places, melding electro-acoustic ambient and field recordings to spasmodic results.
Ameglio has a background in video game soundtracks, so the walkthrough immersion of these compositions makes sense. Each song is akin to a neighborhood theme song, a sampler of mood setters for brisk walks. Opener “Once You Told Me To Let It Go” envisions something quiet— like daybreak— with the damp, skeletal modulation of contemporary drone. “I Woke Up In Madrid And I Felt Lonely” takes Brian Leeds’ residual club music and filters it through background street chatter, recalling a curbside football game or a late afternoon farmers market. Inversely, the cold “Marbles Impact” sounds like a hundred insects crawling in one’s skin on a humid, paranoid nightwalk. Individual arrangements provide the cohesion of a bottled thought, but taken together, there is a restlessness that eats up any chance for sustained clarity.
The framework surrounding the EP is a self-described ambivalent loneliness, equal parts detached and contemplative. The intermingling voice recordings and electronic work certainly evoke some dissociation, as if Ameglio sees his own production as the skewed reflection of what he hears and sees around him. The creeping soundscapes often begin to coagulate with synthesizers and pads, creating a believable harmony between the outside world and the self. However, with such short runtimes, it’s only possible to fully bridge these disparate parts as each track teeters to a close. Although slightly frustrating, it’s admirable to see rich textural worlds as nothing more than snapshots.
Perhaps most interestingly, Ameglio’s scholarly research centers on “sonic failures,” or evidently “wrong” compositional choices. If anything, Something Extremely Light functions as an opposing sense of complacency. The dynamic shifts and melodic elements on every track are smooth and inviting— going back to the idea of a meditative walk through new spaces. It leaves me with the feeling that something warmly familiar is going on in this work: a joyful open-mindedness to the peculiar alienation of finding one’s self somewhere new and daunting."
Review by Frans de Waard in Vital Weekly:
"Behind Guybrush, we find Francesco Ameglio, who is from Turin in Italy. He studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, lived in Paris and Montreal doing sound for video games and in 2015 he helped starting the SØVN label. I had not heard of him before. I am told that for his work he is interested in "sonic failures, incorrect compositional choices and how sound can be used as a radical tool to explore the capitalistic structure of our society. Bewitched by real and virtual interactions he considers computers as an all-encompassing instrument to convey a constant state of uncertainty through sounds". If you think that this leads to some sort of Oval-like skipping sounds, you are wrong, as the music is more a work of live-sampling meeting electro-acoustic music and musique concrete in a chill-out room. The music was composed in Spain while working on a temporary job there, and Ameglio felt lonely in the city (without perceiving it as positive or negative) and thought about his homeland. The six pieces have a refined ambient quality to them; quite spacious all-around the edges. The weird thing, however, is that all of these pieces are quite short. You could say, 'concise' or 'to the point', but the longest is three minutes and thirty-three seconds and the shortest exactly a minute shorter than that. That means the whole release clocks in less than eighteen minutes, which I thought was rather short. Not sure if you hear any of that 'lost in a big city, far away from home thing' in the pieces, but I didn't. I enjoyed the pleasant and somewhat unsettling ambient character of these pieces, while trying to figure if I would want shorter pieces similar to this, or perhaps these to be longer, all the time having these six on a repeat play-back mission. The jury is not out on this. Great tape though!"
Review by Ben Taffijn in Nieuwe Noten:
"Harco Rutgers, van het in Deventer gevestigde Esc.rec. heeft een veelzijdige smaak en een goede neus voor kwaliteit. Experimentele elektronica vormt een rode draad door de catalogus – al durft hij ook de muziek van een band als het door mij hier onlangs bejubelde Kruutntoone aan – en dat Rutgers ‘Something Extremely Light’, van de in Turijn woonachtige Francesco Ameglio, een geluidsartiest die werkt onder het alias ‘Guybrush’, uitbracht, verbaast dan ook geenszins.
Het is geen ambient, wat we horen in opener ‘Once you told me to let it go’, daar is de muziek te opdringerig voor. De lange drone, de klanknevels eromheen, doen er wel wat aan denken maar de klankmassa is te zwaar, te intens, te overrompelend. Om verdere twijfel direct weg te nemen, gooit Guybrush in ‘I woke up in Madrid and I felt lonely’ het roer finaal om. In de verte klinken schreeuwende kinderen, een ondoordringbare klanknevel omgeeft hen. Verder klinkt een licht dansbaar ritme in het hogere register. Het maakt dit tot een bijna ijl en transparant stuk, we zweven. Maar laat u niet verleiden, dit blijkt geenszins de opmaat tot een vrolijk album. In het erop volgende ‘Rolling gently at the sunset’ haalt hij koorzang door de knoppendoos en vermengt dit met noise en rock tot een spookachtig en indringend geheel. Het ijle en transparante is verdwenen als sneeuw voor de zon en komt ook niet meer terug. Het blijkt een lijn die wordt doorgetrokken in het enigszins zware en van melancholie doortrokken ‘Observing through the eyes of your father’. Of er onweer op komst is. Dan klinkt ‘Marbles impact’ waarin Guybrush op bijzondere wijze fluitklanken elektronisch bewerkt om deze vrij korte cassette te beëindigen met het loodzware ‘Is that you again’.
Het is een sfeer die aansluit bij Ameglio’s verhaal over de achtergrond van dit album: “I’ve composed the tracks for ‘Something Extremely Light’ between January and August 2019, while I was living in Madrid…Living in this big city, I felt extremely lonely, even though I never experienced this loneliness as negative nor positive. It was more like a limbo where things were suspended and gently offered me a new way to interpret what was happening around me. I’ve tried to translate this feeling into music”. Wat mij betreft is hij daar uitstekend in geslaagd en het verklaart al die verschillende sferen op dit album, dat heen en weer geslingerd worden tussen licht en duisternis, plezier en weemoed, sensatie en heimwee. Nog geen 20 minuten muziek, maar alles is gezegd."
Review by KN in Yeah I Know It Sucks:
"Here is a little report of Guybrush and it’s music that had been released on tape and digital on the very lovely Esc.rec label.
It starts with a track titled ‘Once you told me to let it go’, which is the kind of mellow melodic drone work that makes you feel like standing at the shore, while a big boat of redundant family members are sailing off into the big overseas, to establish a new life, full of adventure and fresh opportunities. It feels as if the music is wishing them well, waving them goodbye with kindness in the heart, knowing that they have to leave and that they will always stay in the heart while they are gone. Goodbye everyone, hope you flourish in the new surroundings!
'I woke up In Madrid and I felt lonely' plays with the sensible emotions too. Lovingly swerving a distant melody in cloudy form towards us, around it a collage of atmospheric field recordings is doing its thing, creating an active palette-form of love in which the youthful sound of playful children have been captured among the muffed sound of cracks, castanets and other human activities. Somehow the business manages to flow in and indeed establish a certain melancholic loneliness. Still it’s not a sad ordeal, in fact it’s great how emotions can be kept, captured and felt, as it makes us humans and not soulless psychopaths.
'Rolling gently at the sunset’ is my personal favorite on this collection of Guybrush wonders. It’s here that the musician offers us low tones that are as pleasant as the sun providing sparkling glitters in water and playful shadows to find some wonderful shades of comfort in. Voices of religion and playfulness seem to have been captured and toyed with, to perfectly add some humanity to the whole sunny ordeal, making it feel like a traveling show in which we can just sit back and relax & never have to get annoyed by a pushy guide.
'Observing through the eyes of your father’ is another take of Guybrush to put humanity and emotional feelings into electronics. A thing that really works out well, having you feel like peeking through the eyes of a nice man, feeling his warm-loving heart of care while observing the things that give him the most profoundness.
From here we have ‘Marbles Impact’ which plays with melody and atmosphere like a little memorable bit in time that had to be slipped in, to establish a little game of playfulness. At first things are squishy like mini sea creatures arriving at the beach while being kindly lured in by the sound of a bamboo flute that opens up in a true warm welcoming style. Here things are peaceful, everyone is feeling good & all is welcome.
'Is that you again’ is the last bit of Guybrush brushing off his sound paintbrushes onto the canvas of emotional music motions. Here things are like a flush of abstractness, droning around like a god that spreads its arms wide open, ready to receive its new purposes to give us a warm breath of fresh emotive air, letting our hairs wave in the wind full of healthy prospects towards a better life, a more fulfilled future, in which Guybrush will sit in the back of our minds, remembering that we aren’t the only ones with feelings and vibes of a kind and gentle style.
A new and promising sound of a brightness ahead. You should listen to it, as you probably could use a brush like this too! It’s emotional and refreshing at the same time."
Review by Peter van Cooten in Ambientblog:
"From Turin, Italy, comes Francesco Ameglio, working as Guybrush. A sound engineer for interactive media (especially video games), who has studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, Netherlands. His “sonic research is based on sonic failures, incorrect compositional choices and how sound can be used as a radical tool to explore the capitalistic structure of our society.”
I personally find it a bit difficult to relate the sounds on Something Extremely Light to the ‘capitalistic structure of our society’ (except perhaps when I realize how hard it is for artists to earn enough income to pay for their living).
And, on second thought, I don’t hear many sonic failures or incorrect compositional choices either,: this is quite an enjoyable album – even if it is not as ‘light’ as the title suggests. However: with only 18 minutes of music, it ís rather light in regards of playing time.
Something Extremely Light came to life in a period when Ameglio had to move to Madrid because of a new job and was a bit lost without his family and beloved. The (limited: edition of 50) physical cassette release contains some photos that Ameglio made during his stay in Madrid."