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Fonoprint, Guardians of Music

Updated on 17 September 2020 From Pierfrancesco Pacoda

One goal: to save a valuable heritage, a key resource in the memory of national popular culture, from oblivion and long-term deterioration. This is the case in Bologna, where the Fonoprint recording studios (whose members include singers such as Zucchero, Lucio Dalla and Luca Carboni) have for some years been recovering and restoring the original analogue tapes of the great Italian singer-songwriters. Material of artistic and social importance, otherwise doomed to vanish forever.

So far, many archives have been cleaned up and secured.  From Vasco Rossi to Pino Daniele, over Lucio Dalla and Paolo Conte, the catalogue of records revived is constantly expanding, sometimes thanks to some truly adventurous operations. This is the case, explains Maurizio Biancani, one of the founders of Fonoprint and head of the project, of the recordings of Antonello Venditti's first LPs. The analogue tapes had ended up in a storage room at the bottom of a cellar flooded by water. This unexpected event required the use of a special machine called an "inforno", which literally dries the individual "pizzas" and absorbs their humidity, heating them with all the necessary precautions. A fascinating activity, made possible not only by the expertise of the technicians who work in these studios, but also by the equipment used, much of which is now impossible to find given its origins in the pre-digital recording era, which makes it a veritable collector's item.

This is why Fonoprint has decided to open its doors to visitors, setting up the Museum of Sound and Song, an itinerary through the extraordinary technology used for the various phases of restoration, with practical examples of how the work is carried out and with the opportunity to listen to extracts from some of the masterpieces that were recorded here directly from the original masters. A high-impact experience, conveying the impression of being there, in the room, together with the artist, thanks to the absolute accuracy of the reproduction.

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