Bad Sector – the soundscape genius from Italy

Bad Sector can perhaps mostly be characterized by his unique sound made through his homemade/or heavily modified instruments and his light googles that he wears when he perfoms live.
Bad Sector is the pseudonym of italian Massimo Magrini, who’s been making electronic music for the past 20 years. His musical style could be described as (dark) ambient, noise and drone. Or as he describes it himself, deeply emotional dark ambient noise.
He has studied at the University of Pisa and has a degree in Computer Science. After his study he did some work for an italian company, constructing hardware and creating software for musical purposes.

Bad Sector’s music acts for me as some sort of a thought/feeling atomizer. That’s because his music has this weird, mystical and special feeling to it. When I listen to it, it doesn’t remind me of anything I know. It just frees my mind – you could say that the slate gets wiped completely clean. Everything that could have bugged me, anything that I could have concerns about, can simply be washed away (at least as long as the music is playing) by a single second of Bad Sectors music, which I think is fantastic. It puts me in such a relaxed mood, and I find the music very inspiring. That is probably one of the main reasons why I enjoy his music so much.
Another thing I like about Bad Sector is the diversity between his records: he has released well over 10 albums, but the originality since Ampos doesn’t fade. Every single record has something special, something new. None of the records resemble each other, yet this touch of Bad Sector magic still remains.

Since I first got acquainted with Bad Sectors music a couple of years ago, I have been diligently returning to a wide selection of his albums from time to time, but one album in particular has really been sticking out for me. This is the Dolmen Factory album from 1998, which is his fifth release. The album has a very thick and dense sound throughout, with layers of noise and beautiful harmonies. It features sounds that one would associate with those of an old factory, yet it is brilliantly blended together with something less familiar; I can’t help but think that it sounds like something from outer space. For example, on the track Pierre 1902, it opens up with a quiet hum that builds up to a huge sound, while strange machines produce a hissing, almost chant-like sound.
The space-theme is supported on the opening track, Alex 1964, with a short sample from Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi movie Blade Runner. The sample is of some of the very first lines in the movie; even before Holden says anything, a voice over the intercom briefly describes Leon Kowalski’s background. I think this is a very interesting detail, because I feel that the mood of the album can be found in the movie as well. I still remember making this connection between the sample and the movie when I first saw it, and getting that mind=blown kind of feeling.
 On Dolmen Factory, Magrini takes the listener on an audible journey to the depths of his imagination, manifested in mystical sounds and noises.

If we take a look at the title and the cover, these start mystifying us and raise questions right away: what is a ‘Dolmen’? What is this factory actually producing? And what is the cover depicting? It does look like an ultraviolet scan, but I do not see anything resembling a fetus in there. Perhaps we’ll discover some of the answers to these questions as we start our dwell into this magnificent Bad Sector soundscape.
There’s also something strange about the track titles. The titles seem to follow a certain pattern – Name + Year. Except for two specific tracks, which happen to follow another pattern: halfways through the album there’s an Exit A and the closer track is Exit B. These “exit” tracks support the idea of the factory-theme. As to the significance of the names, I recall Magrini mentioning this in an interview: they symbolize people who have died over the years, people whose names are lost in time and whose deaths didn’t mean anything in the bigger picture.

Overall I think this album is overwhelming in its entirety, and as any other Bad Sector release I enjoy listening to it when I feel like zooming out and forgetting about everyday problems, just falling into the endless depths of the music.