Singer-composer Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (LEF) has made his mark as a powerfully expressive singer through a series of potent RareNoiseRecords releases, including Obake's Draugr, Seven Mutations and their 2011 self-title debut, Owls' The Night Stays, O.R.k.'s Soul of an Octopus, Somma's 23 Wheels of Dharma and Berserk's 2013 self-titled debut. But his own debut as a leader, the intriguing multi-media project HyperSomniac, is easily his most ambitious and impressive undertaking to date. LEF's music serves as the soundtrack for a dystopian tale, which he wrote with Pier Luigi Rocca, of a future society based on mind control. An online comic with stark, startling drawings by Nana Octopus Dalla Porta, is underscored by LEF's appropriately dark soundtrack performed by an all-star band featuring American bassist Bill Laswell, Norwegian guitar visionary Eivind Aarset, Norwegian future jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, thunderous Norwegian drummer Kenneth Kapstad (of Motorpsycho), British saxophonist Rebecca Sneddon (of Free Nelson Mandoomjazz) and Norwegian organist Ståle Storløkken (of Supersilent, Motorpsycho and Reflections in Cosmos).
"I wanted to collaborate with a few extremely talented musicians I had the privilege to work with in the recent past." LEF explained. "That was also important for the sound I aimed to. I worked with Bill in the past on two projects led by my brother-in-music Eraldo Bernocchi - Somma and Ashes. Bill is god, enough said. Nils Petter Molvaer was in the Somma lineup as well. I'm a big fan of his unique and peculiar sound. Eivind had an important role in Berserk! We played live several times together and I also provided vocals to a piece from his last solo album. He is simply one of the most talented and visionary musicians out there. A lot of people are trying to emulate his peculiar guitar style and sound, but he is truly an original. I deeply love his musical view, which is somehow complementary to my own approach. Kenneth is a groove machine and has a very impressive personal style. Ståle is a keys and Hammond organ wizard and Rebecca was just the perfect sax player we were missing for the kind of sound I had in mind. She also provided the voice-over to all the HyperSomniac videos."
While LEF's visionary project might recall similarly ambitious dystopian tales like The Who's Tommy or Pink Floyd's The Wall, HyperSomniac has a wholly fresh spin on the multi-media process. "My first solo is in many ways inspired by the mighty records that I loved in my youth - Pink Floyd among the others," LEF explained. "And the fact that it took me more than a good couple of years to release this project, I guess this kind of approach might have something in common with The Wall and Tommy. But there's more to say. HyperSomniac started as a concept and a story I wanted to tell. On one side, I wanted to investigate the obscure dichotomy between material and the immaterial along with the human mind's power for changing, distorting, even melting down reality in order to create visions and dreams. On the other side, I wanted to describe a dystopian future as possible result of the paranoid chaos of the current era. This could be the main affinity for me in creating HyperSomniac."
"It took me several weeks, months maybe, to elaborate the script," LEF added, "and thought it could work well to illustrate the story as some form of highly stylized drama. Nanà Oktopus Dalla Porta's drawing style was just perfect to elaborate a dark visual part, thus I had to re-write the script several times to communicate the exact way I imagined every scene. Later on I learned how to mold 3D models to animate the drawings and Pier Luigi Rocca (who helped me from the very beginning) is still writing the code to make the whole story live as an interactive web comic which will actually be the only way to read the full story."
The online interactive graphic novel HyperSomniac will be presented officially on November 14th on www.hypersomniacproject.com, and will be available to the public to read episode by episode from the end of January 2018.
The album HyperSomniac be available to pre-order from that date and will be officially released on December 8th, 2017. From the dark intimacy of the creepy and compelling "It's Alright" and "A Glimpse of Emma" to the tender opening of "Let the Sun Fall Apart," which is juxtaposed against the heavy metal-laden crescendo, this album soundtrack carries an operatic sweep. And the super band behind LEF delivers with pummeling power on highly-charged numbers like "Parallel Powers," "Therapy" and "First Day of Work."
"Having scored several soundtracks for music, art installations and advertisements, I see music itself as if part of a bigger vision," said LEF. "That's why we decided to produce a feature movie The Nightless City (directed by Alessandra Pescetta) for the Berserk! album (with Lorenzo Feliciati featuring Gianluca Petrella, Jamie Saft, Cristiano Calcagnile, Eivind Aarset and many other friends). Later on I started experimenting with 2D and 3D modeling and animations to produce the animated video for the O.R.k. tune 'Pyre'. Both of those projects gave me a strong connection to the world of movie production and had an effect on my solo multimedia project HyperSomniac."