Daniela Cascella


This is a text that could only emerge out of an intensive dwelling on listening to sound, music and those inner and internalised voices that speak silently of our listening, the incantation that remains private until written or voiced, sliding to the centre of the spell, now preoccupied not so much with the sound world but a greater domain of the unheard, unintelligible, unspeakable, always moving voice.
From the Afterword by David Toop

Daniela Cascella's Singed is an indeterminate music made of words. "The smell of singed paper haunts me with a song": there was a fire, and there was singing—maybe—and then the two are bound within a single word through Cascella's polyphonic versioning. By means of improvisatory techniques spinning outward from the eye rhyme, in which similarities in spelling promise a rhyme that is not heard as such, Cascella's rendering plastic of words time and again compels the reader to imagine and experience her writing's multiple potential soundings. Singed is a powerful effort to compose from the memory of a writer without a library, a writer with a library destroyed; it interweaves Cascella's vividly patterned, musicalized prose with essayistic responses to Laura Riding, Lucio Battisti, Clarice Lispector, Teresa of Avila, and a host of kindred souls that have taken up permanent residence in her memory.
David Grubbs

Polymorphous and polyphonic, Cascella takes us on a quiet, highly personal walk through an eclectic range of texts and recordings, exploring their resonances with grace, dignity and humour.
Juliet Jacques

This is a book about lost books, lost voices, learning to speak, no, to sing; to sing again, to read and write again after fire––it begins with what is lost. Yet, there is memory, recollection, impression; there is song (a voice––even mute it is present, transmitted, though the writer finds it hard to be so silent, muffled; she hears voices) that precedes speech––it might be called la lalangue. Encounters––literary, artistic, religious–resonate. There is an insistent beat of language, a tempo (pace, time, attack), as if texts are set to music: a libretto of silence or of the taking in and exhaling of breath. Cascella's writing is precise and ardent, leading the reader through a sophisticated, moving, intricate archive. It is a book to which I listen as I read it. I hear it now.
Sharon Kivland

Cascella finds the grain of the voice in writing, drawing attention to words as both blunt signifiers and aetherial presences, teasing the distance between the two. She draws on a variety of traditions, whether Leiris, Michaux or Lispector, to make something uniquely her own, a way of writing that shimmers between narrative, memoir, criticism and sound made print.
C.D. Rose


Daniela Cascella is the most literary listener I know. In the frenzy of ephemera collected here, she catches echoes between films and philosophy, sculpture and drama, music and novels. Grounded in French surrealism, Italian narrative, and American poetry, FMRL auscultates books by some of the most magical writers from the past century: Clarice Lispector, Gert Jonke, and — above all — Michel Leiris. In the process, Cascella investigates the very logic of sound: its recursiveness; its decay; its interference patterns and resonant sympathies. Attending to the blur of voices into noise at the borders of understanding, Cascella gives back the songs of sound's extended techniques, transmuting noise back into poetry at the borders of these pages. FMRL is a Passagen-werk of the inner ear.
Craig Dworkin

This is writing in its most present sense. Writing that, true to its tense, enacts a continual process of thinking and perceiving. Writing that, spinning its words from sound, gathers up referents in a loose weave. Expansive in scope, and intimate in scale, this is writing where reading dwells in the reverie of detail—and deserves our full attention.
Kristen Kreider

In F.M.R.L., each reader enters a different labyrinth. Frictions, murmurings, resonances, laconisms. Retune your listening. Fractures, metamorphoses, residues, lingerings. Reconcile yourself with the ephemeral nature of sound. Fabulations, marginalia, recollections, labyrinths. Revel in invention based on error. Daniela Cascella's F.M.R.L. is, to turn one of her citations into an emblem of her project: "a site of confusion and heightened perception, a site of deep time." Against the cognitive traps of syllogistic discourse she offers a celebration of the sundry accidents and errors of listening, each one an inspiration to write. She asks: "And what shall I do with my heritage of listening?" I answer: "Continue to share it with us!"
Allen S. Weiss

En Abîme

I consider Daniela Cascella to be one of the leading theorists and explorers of an exciting new discourse growing up around the practice of listening. Her book is poetic, incisive, grounded in politics and history yet continually pushing at the edges of what we now consider to be sound. She interrogates notions of music and the shifting experience that is silence with a freshness and coherence that is inspiring.
David Toop

… compulsive and fast, rushing with you through textual territories that seem spoken, direct and contemporary… invoking a past that creates the present tense.
Salomé Voegelin

Daniela Cascella is a talented writer whose research into the literary aspects of silence is original and timely. Danielas work is, by nature, transdisciplinary yet manages to retain an intensive methodological focus on its subject.
Maria Fusco