Oöphoi (Gianluigi Gasparetti) Has Passed Away

I regret to report, for those of you who have not already seen the news on Facebook, the Hypnos Forum, or the ambient@hyperreal.org listserv, that Gianluigi Gasparetti, best known as Oöphoi, founder of the magazine Deep Listenings, and also founder of the Umbra & Penumbra labels, has passed away at age 55.

You will find many people sharing memories and photos HERE, on the Hypnos Forum.

Some of my very earliest memories as an ambient musician and label owner involve Gigi, as his friends called him. I first knew him as a magazine publisher and writer, and was delighted to find this Italian-language magazine devoted to ambient music had given rave reviews to the first few CDs released by Hypnos.

Gigi transitioned from ambient music fan to practitioner, and while the majority of those who attempt this move never create music that amounts to much, he became as Oöphoi truly one of the most noteworthy artists in the scene from the late 90s onward.

We communicated on many subjects over the years, and I had the pleasure of releasing four CDs of his music, with others in various stages of planning or potential discussion. The four already released include the following:

Oöphoi – Athlit

Athlit was the first Hypnos first release by Oöphoi, and ended up being his only solo work we released. There were many discussions of doing other solo releases, but sometimes Gigi was impatient. It often seemed that if two labels were interested in releasing some of his work, he went with whichever label wanted to release it soonest.

Paul Vnuk Jr. & Oöphoi – Distance to Zero

Distance to Zero was an album we considered somewhat overlooked. It found a modest listenership, but not the acclaim it deserved. Perhaps time will look more favorably upon it, and it will rise in the estimation of the ambient music scene in general.

Nebulæ – The Path of White Clouds

The Path of White Clouds was a reissue of an out-of-print album by Nebula, a sort of ambient music “supergroup.” Due to some concerns about the several other recording artists releasing work under the name Nebula, the decision was made to alter the name slightly to Nebulæ for the reissue. Group member Klaus Wiese passed away during the time we were preparing this reissue.

Seren Ffordd & Oöphoi – The Martian Chronicles

Another Oöphoi collaboration, this time with Seren Ffordd, an ambient artist from Wales whose work Gigi had introduced to the world on his Umbra & Penumbra labels. He also encouraged me to release some Seren Ffordd work on Hypnos, which has led to the strong ongoing relationship between us. Seren Ffordd & Oöphoi had such a successful collaboration, they completed a second CD worth of material around the same time. We originally discussed the idea of making the release a double CD, but the two discs were of such different sonic quality from one another, we settled on releasing them as related but separate albums.

We are currently working on The Dreaming Waters, the second album by Seren Ffordd & Oöphoi, which will come out on Hypnos in 2013. Fans of Oöphoi’s music are fortunate to have such a large body of work available, with perhaps a few more items like this one still to be released.

I personally (that is, Hypnos founder Mike Griffin) had worked intermittently on a collaborative project with Gigi. We created about two CDs worth of music, some of it very fine, but somehow we were both so busy with other things that we never quite got around to finishing it. Perhaps I’ll find a way to edit and finalize those tracks some day, and release them in tribute to Gigi. He was so friendly, and in touch with so many recording artists around the world, that I have no doubt other collaborative projects exist in semi-finished states. I hope we will hear more of these in the future.

Though we’ve lost our friend, he has left us many soundworlds to explore.

4 comments

  1. Giorgio Robino

    That’s very sad :-(

    I known Gianluigi Gasparetti personally…

    1) about the Deep Listening review:
    I discovered him through the great webzine “Deep listening”, an amazing magazine regarding electronic/ambient music reviews he wrote (initially alone and with some collaborators in last years). Pheraps no many people here know this magazine, wrote only in Italian language as far as I know. And sold only by correspondence in paper format (also in recent internet-era …)
    In our e-mail conversations I tryed many time to convince him to translate the review in english language, because I though the content was absolutely valid worldwide, but hehave been always pessimistic on the realization of the english version and the diffusion on internet with a weblog or something… we had long mail conversations about that…

    2) about Oophoi music
    If I well remember, around year 2000 or a bit later, Stefano Musso (in art Alio Die) gifted to me the Deep Listening magazine issue (btw at that time Stefano used to sell strange music cds in a stand in some fairs of used books, comics and vynils… and strange music on cd..)
    So I started some time after an e-mail friendship with Gianluigi that became my “ambient music” CD supplier/reseller… (that was time when internet was not so spread here in Italy…) I purchased from him so many CDs of great artists and I really appreciated music he realized with nickname Oophoi!
    I think his drones are really at a very high level of “deepness” and I listened his music for many years. By example Athlit, Mike Griffin published and mentioned properly here, have been a masterpiece in ambient/electronic music.

    3) about his discovering of … my music
    In 2004 (times when he was also sort of editor/manager of “Umbra Records” CDR label ) I sent to him a demo CD, just to have his honest opinion…he was entusiast and insisted on publish that “demo”… I followed his suggestion and “Western Detunes” (my first album); was published by him. A good story: my nick “solyaris music” come after a converstaion with him … because our love for Tarkovskij’s movies.. he suggeted to use an alias as “LEM” .. but I decided at last for “SOLYARIS” as a tribute to the movie.

    I have to be always be beholden tohim because that.. because I started to express myself in music in what today I call “my way”!

    After the pubblication of Western Detunes, I confess I had discussions with Gigi, because some “commercial” behaviours on music duffusion and reselling/ re-pricing of my music by certain web sites …(btw without any advantage for myself…) so we decided to separate our ways and himself suggested to me to diffuse my music with a personal website. I did that with happiness ( http//solyaris.altervista.org ) and peace for everybody :-).

    I admit my relationship with Gianluigi stopped at that times more or less. Sometime I had to complain about some behaviours and the friendship finished. Yes, Gianluigi talked about a misterious desease but, I admit, he was so hermetic that I thought he was not so sincere … I gone wrong! Mea culpa :-(
    Apart the personal issues, the feelings I had also reading the last issues of Deep Listening was his possible big pessimism about music diffusion, music evolution nowadays… life in our society…
    to such an extent he closed the magazine forever :-(
    2) About tmusic he loved and diffused
    Looking backward my last years, I see indeed how many I am at one with him now! I mean regarding his conception about ambient music, his infinite love for Steve Roach music! and above all for Klause Wiese tibetan singing bowls drone music. He was a deep lover and connoisseur of Wiese music (he met him some times as far as I know, and they realized some albums togheter).
    I know that big part of my musical culture started after his thoughts, his music.
    I have to be grateful to his thought…

    Buon viaggio dall’altra parte Gianluigi!
    Che tu possa stare immerso in drones di bellezza infinita làddove sei..
    giorgio

  2. machinephilosophy

    Thank you for reporting this.

    I am sad to only hear about this today by discovering this blog. Gianluigi Gasparetti created some of the most profound music in existence. I discovered him by listening to the Drone Zone and Cryosleep channels on Shoutcast. I am grateful for his music. He will be missed.

    Cheers

Post a comment

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>