Sky Flesh

An Immersive Sound Experience in Church by Marta De Pascalis

As soon as I pushed the wooden gate of Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa church, I was captivated by the mysterious and extraterrestrial atmosphere that was happening there. Blue neon light stretched through the nave, all the way to the crossing. Perpendicularly, pink light glowed up the crossing and the transepts on either side. The apse behind shimmered with golden light, illuminating the person standing in front of the altar. With the ethereal music echoing in the background, I was instantly drawn into this eerie but mysteriously intriguing atmosphere.


The church was not holding a service, and the person glowing in front of the altar was also not a clerical. She’s Marta De Pascalis, an Italian musician and sound designer in the territory of contemporary and experimental music. Hailing from Rome, De Pascalis is currently based in Berlin. She often employs analog, FM synthesis, and a tape-loop system to her work, carving waveforms to shape cathartic sound bodies. Through incorporating improvisations into constant and repetitive patterns, De Pascalis’ music is a collage of dense, dynamic and melodic fragments that combine with bass lines and hypnotic synth figures. She has performed in various venues and festivals, including Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Venice Biennale, Berlin Atonal and Berghain, one of the world’s most famous nightclub and the mecca for electronic underground ravers.

Coinciding with the release of her latest album “Sky Flesh”, Marta De Pascalis teamed up with Three Production and Fondazione Prada to curate an eponymous sound experience in Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa church on the evening of May 16th, 2024. Growing up in Rome, De Pascalis used to wander through the dilapidated Roman streets. The atrophic ruins surrounded her were once majestic monuments, this sentimental of impermanence aroused her interest in decay and memory. With solely a Yamaha CS-60 as the composing instrument, “Sky Flesh” is a single thought that deepens her research on contemporary experimental music.


Located in the southwest periphery of Milan, Santa Maria Annunciata in Chiesa Rossa is a Romanesque Revival style church completed in 1932. The church hosts American minimalist artist Dan Flavin’s art intervention Untitled (1997). This is a site-specific installation composed of different colors of fluorescent light fixtures. Completed two days before and installed one year after the artist’s death with the assistance of Fondazione Prada and Dia Art Foundation, Untitled unfolded a creative dialogue with Marta De Pascalis’ ambient music under the vault of the church, rendering to the audience an extraordinary sonic and chromatic experience. Remotely resembled the sounds of the church’s pipe organs, the music leaked out from De Pascalis’ polyphonic synthesizer crescendo, the emotions in the music layered, accumulating into a conglomeration of emotion ready to outpour. In this solemn space, the emotional cloudburst reached its climax, exploded, and oscillated between the sacred ornaments, until it faded into calm.

Text: Yves Tsou