The Dining Rooms is a milanese electronic duo, founded by Stefano Ghittoni and Cesare Malfatti in 1998.
Stefano Ghittoni, at that time resident DJ at Magazzini Generali in Milan, spurred the initial creative process behind the duo’s musical direction.
Cesare Malfatti, on the other hand, is a founding member of the post-blues project ‘La Crus’. Both Stefano and Cesare come from the punk/new wave scene and they have played in several underground bands in earlier years.
In 1999, through the electronica label Milano2000, The Dining Rooms release their debut full-length album: “Subterranean Modern Volume 1″. The record is characterized by hip hop/funk-inspired rhythms flowing alongside bluesy guitar textures and melancholic, minor-key atmospheric elements. As a side project to this record, Stefano Ghittoni works with videomaker Maria Arena on the “Ambient Blues Caffe” project, an ambient sonorization project for turntables and video performed all over Italy and Europe.
The second Dining Rooms album, “Numero Deux”, which features a multimedia section with videos by Maria Arena (one of which is dedicated to J.L.Godard), is released in January 2001 and picks up the stylistic streak of “Subterranean Modern Volume 1”, enriching its sound with the addition of jazz atmospheres and introducing vocal parts performed by the minimal-soul duo “Sepiatone” (Hugo Race and Marta Collica). In summer 2001 “Numero Deux” was also released in the US, Japan and Germany through Guidance Recordings. To promote the new record, The Dining Rooms have developed and enriched the audio-visual experience of the “Ambient Blues Caffe”, giving birth to the new set named ‘FILM’. The new live performance includes DJ and live sets by Stefano Ghittoni and Cesare Malfatti (using computers, samplers and turntables) and the enhanced visual experience provided by Maria Arena.
“Tre”, was released in spring 2003 on Schema Records. The record delves further into the themes of the two preceding releases, adding faster rhythms and a more focused production. The record also features important vocal contributions by Anna Clementi and Sean Martin and production assistantship by Soulpatrol, among others. Like “Numero Deux”, “Tre” was released in the US, Japan and Germany through Guidance Recordings .
In early 2004, “Versioni Particolari” hits the shelves. It is an album of remixes previously released on 12″ vinyl, new versions, and unreleased Dining Rooms goodies, and features work on Dining Rooms tracks done by heavyweight producers like Nicola Conte, Soulpatrol and The Cinematic Orchestra, among others. The Dining Rooms live show was then further developed into a full live set, taking advantage of a five-piece band and enriched, as always, by Maria Arena’s evocative video work. The live experience and the idea to work on song-writing become the conceptual and stylistic basis for The Dining Rooms’ fourth studio album.
“Experiments In Ambient Soul” has been released through Schema in late spring 2005. Conceived as a journey into modern funk and jazz this new work features a collection of inspired and soulful tracks with contributions by Don Freeman, Amraah 8, Sean Martin, Hugo Race and Marta Collica.
In the spring of 2006 the second chapter of Versioni Particolari is released. “Versioni Particolari 2” is a collection of remixes and unreleased versions taken from 4 vinyl singles that followed the album release of “Experiments in Ambient Soul”(2005). The songs contained in “E.I.A.S” here receive new, vital energy courtesy of some of the most interesting music producer of these contemporary times while the two unreleased tracks add further deepness to the producing standards of the The Dining Rooms.
One year after, spring 2007 will see the release of their fifth album “Ink”. Sounding almost as a concept album, it can be considered as the trait-d’union between the production style of “Experiments In Ambient Soul”, live instrumentation and vocals delivering a round groove, with the cinematic, ethereal atmospheres characterizing the sound of “Numero Deux” and “Tre”. This work features new remarkable collaborations by international artists such as Dodo N’kishi (Mouse on Mars) from Africa via Germany; Georgeanne Kalweit, from U.S.A. via Milan, and Tomaz Di Cunto, from Brazil.
2008 is the year of “Other Ink”, a collection of tracks previously released only on vinyl and EP (Ink EP 1, 2, 3) and unreleased tracks. The original versions appear on the Ink album and EPs except for “Exit a New York” which is taken from the French edition. Inside this tracklist we mention the remix of the title track of TDR’s album Ink which is the opening track of this project. The lingering atmospheres recreated by The Cinematic Orchestra make the track sound intense and dramatic yet not heavy and very enjoyable. “Fatale” meets the art of the Berlinese producer Christian Prommer, whose touch gives to the piece a brand new shape. Live, organic percussions are blended into a spacey and electronic vibe. The result is a full length, sophisticated club mix. The Juju Orchestra gives to Brazilian noir “Cobra Coral”, sang by Toco, a modern and Dance/Jazz flavour. Moody, jazzy, a mid tempo floater. Beautiful are the vocals performances from the singer. Also nice are the remixes by Populous and Santino Burnetto, both emerging producers and musicians whose electronic sounds embellish two of the most interesting pieces by the The Dining Rooms.
A few months later comes out “The Jazz Thing” in collaboration with the Munich based drummer, DJ and producer Christian Prommer. In 2007 this multifaceted artist launched a cutting edge new music project called “Drumlessons”. Gathering around him the talented quartet of the pianist Roberto Di Gioia, the bassist Dietr Ilg, the percussionist and film composer Ernst Ströer and the veteran drummer Wolfgang Haffner, Prommer started treating well-known electronic music pieces in an acoustic jazz key. To him then it was commissioned the production of “The Jazz Thing”, with the intention of re-inventing the most successful tracks from the Lo-Fi band The Dining Rooms such as “Tunnel“, “M. Dupont“, “No Problem“, “Thank You“, “Pure And Easy “and others. Some of the original pieces here re-interpreted were included in the soundtrack of TV Series such as Sex And The City, C.S.I. Crime and Six Feet Under.
* * *