Friday, June 5, 2015

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - 2010 - Niente

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza

01. Niente 6:05
02. Hei! 1:41
03. Seiben 2:04
04. Bambù 2:01
05. Natale a Detroit 1:32
06. Con moto 2:06
07. Cronometro 2:51
08. Antimilitarismo 2:01
09. Down 1:39
10. Mattatoio 3:34
11. Bali 2:44
12. Padroni delle ferriere 3:03
13. Bambù # 2 3:11
14. Renitenza 2:29
15. Toms 1:24
16. Sieben # 2 2:02

Battisti D'Amario
Egisto Macchi
Ennio Morricone
Franco Evangelisti
Mario Bertoncini
Walter Branchi
Vincenzo Restuccia

Recorded in Rome at Fono Roma Studios, October 1971. Originaly unreleased.
Remastered at The Iron Mountain Analogue Research Facility.
With thanks to Ivana Mattei & Demdike Stare.
Licensed courtesy of Cometa Edizioni Musicali.
Sequel to mythical RCA LP “The Feed-back”

Founded in Rome in 1964, ‘Il Gruppo D’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza’ was a collective of noted and noteworthy composers who challenged the very structure and performance of music itself. Today the most renowned of its members would be film-scoring genius Ennio Morricone (indeed “Il Gruppo…” performed on many celebrated Morricone scores of the 1960s and 1970s) but each contributor has an intriguing history in Italian music. The collective improvised live (according to strict exercises) and in the studio (recording for RCA, Deutsche Grammaphon, General Music and others). Come 1970 “Il Gruppo…’ (as ‘The Group’) recorded “The Feed-back” (for RCA Italy), an insane amalgam of avant-improvisation and motorik krautrock beats that, understandably, has become one of the most collectable LPs ever issued. In 1971 ‘Il Gruppo’ returned to the studio to record a sequel. This is that record. For reasons unknown “Niente” was never originally issued but one listen will convince that not only is it the sequel to one of the most sought after LPs of all time, but it is also by far its superior. Brain melting jams collide with unhinged intensity in a hothouse of Italian avant-improv. You have been warned.

Most fans of the genre formerly known as electro-acoustic improvisation are fond of investigating source materials like early AMM and others. One of the key documents of early, non-jazz related (and, indeed, non-idiomatic) improvisation is Gruppo d’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza’s marvelous Editions RZ recording. On those performances you enter a lively, generative, often enchanted soundworld equally defined by Pierre Schaeffer, Musica Elettronica Viva and similar experimentalists. As is well known, the band’s formation in the mid-1960s was heavily influenced by Nono and Scelsi, and the RZ recording featured compositions exclusively.

Forget all of that when listening to Niente. While this 1971 recording features many of the same musicians — Franco Evangelisti, Daniele Paris, Egisto Machi, and perhaps the key voice in trumpeter Ennio Morricone — it’s music of an altogether different sort, marrying inconsistently diverting pulse-based materials with a constrained sonic experimentalism. Long seen as a sequel of sorts to The Feed-back, Niente is certainly not Il Gruppo’s first extended exploration of pulse. But it’s hard not to hear this as some odd amalgam of krautrock on the Morricone soundtrack music much later celebrated by John Zorn and others.

That may sound like heaven itself, but while I enjoy both of those musics I couldn’t get into this record. On the one hand it’s because the grooves themselves are stiff and overly labored, continually reminding me of the same musical loss as Albert Ayler’s groove tracks like “Drudgery.” But on the other hand, it’s because the details in the music aren’t served too well on these brief tracks (and admittedly, this is a soundtrack). The cranking metallic innenklavier or guitar, the swooping winds, the groaning brass drones, a lot of Il Gruppo’s specific textural elements seem to have been preserved. But the thinly funky clatter seems to squeeze all color and effectiveness out of them. As a sonic experience, it’s quite nice, with interesting, often head-scrambling separation of channels and all of that good stuff. But I don’t find it very compelling for the most part, as the improvisation often sounds cluttered (even in more or less open pieces like “Renitenza”) and the grooves just not too deep.

For bird-watchers, you can hear a lot of the elements here (march time and spooky billowing horns) that Morricone would use in his own soundtrack work (which often featured the Gruppo itself). And it’s not that the music is without merit. The understated prepared piano, plinking guitar and didgeridoo sounds of “Padrone Delle Ferriere” work fairly well, as do the simple brass squeaks and boogaloo of “Con Moto” or the high lonesome feel of “Bali.” And the nicest effect on Niente is the welling of dark, tension-filled sounds within or below the radiant, often obvious basic materials. But too much of the album sounds tentative, impressionistic and undeveloped.

By Jason Bivins

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza 2006 Azioni

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza

101. Kate 7:08
102. Es war Einmal 25:49
103. Untitled 18:23

201. Fili 1 4:02
202. Concreto 1 3:30
203. A5-3 8:01
204. Trix 3 (Prove concerto '67) 4:37
205. Fili 2 (Prove concerto '67) 11:12
206. A7 7:04
207. A5-4 (Prove concerto '67) 4:29
208. A7-2 (Prove concerto '67) 8:02
209. Trio 10:44

Experimental, improvised music from 1965-1969, by a group who was one of the most creative collective ever, and included major composers and musicians such as Egisto Macchi and Ennio Morricone. These musicians did not limit themselves to experiment, they also recorded pop music, library music, film music etc. But this very compilation offers some of their most abrasive production, a music that sounded post-industrial or cyber-punk half a century ago.
There was a time I hated that sort of music, and did not comprehend it. By now, I perceive it as a kind of ambient music. It should be the perfect soundtrack for apocalyptic movies (post-atomic, end of the world, zombies etc.), as it sounds like mechanical noises (screeches and all).

Besides two CDs, the box-set includes a DVD showing the group performing in 1967. The 3 discs are placed in digipacks, and the whole in enclosed with a bilingual Italian-English 74 page booklet and an abstract poster in a cloth-covered hard cardboard box.  A very elegant packaging.

Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza 2000 Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura

Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura 

01. Seguita 3:18
02. Gli occhi freddi della paura 3:32
03. Evaporazione 2:23
04. Notte e misteri 1:47
05. Urla nel nulla 3:19
06. Folle folle 3:42
07. Evanescente 4:14
08. Dal sogno e ritorno 2:38
09. Ritorno all'inizio 3:23
10. Gli occhi freddi della paura 2:45
11. Gli occhi freddi della paura 2:09
12. Gli occhi freddi della paura 1:43
13. Gli occhi freddi della paura 2:23
14. Gli occhi freddi della paura 1:27
15. Gli occhi freddi della paura 4:33
16. Gli occhi freddi della paura 1:48

Soundtrack for a 1971 movie


    Ennio Morricone
    composer, orchestration
    Bruno Nicolai
    Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza

This is much easier to listen to as a lost Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza album, which it basically is. The self-titled tracks are, for the most part, more of the formless free improvisation stuff they were known for, but the surprising element here is the amount of tracks on this album with very, very tasty jazz drumming. If The Feed-Back's gimmick was putting Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza on top of a psych jam band, then this one's gimmick is putting them on top of a jazz combo. And it also works, though not quite as well. It's very scattershot, but what's good is awfully good.

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - 1976 - Musica su Schemi

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
Musica su Schemi

01. Schema 1 8:55
02. Schema 2 11:14
03. Schema 3 2:30
04. Omaggio a Giacinto Scelsi 16:40

Giovanni Piazza: French horn, flute, violin
Egisto Macchi: percussion, strings
Antonello Neri: piano
Franco Evangelisti: piano, percussion
Giancarlo Schiaffini: trombone, flute
Ennio Morricone: trumpet, flute

The Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza has recorded all kinds of music, more or less accessible or esoteric. Here we are in their most experimental, improvised vein, it is almost musique concrète.
Musicians include Ennio Morricone on trumpet, flute and "various instruments", and Egisto Macchi on percussion and strings.

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - 1975 - Nuova Consonanza

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
Nuova Consonanza

01. Settimino 20:30
02. Eflot 12:00
03. Soup 8:45
04. Scratch 10:45

Mario Bertoncini: performer, composer
Walter Branchi: performer, composer
Franco Evangelisti: performer, composer
Egisto Macchi: performer, composer
Ennio Morricone: performer, composer
Jesús Villa-Rojo: performer, composer

The least known and rarest musical exploration of Ennio Morricone's career. He played trumpet in the extraordinary Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza from 1965 when it was founded by composer Franco Evangelisti.

These lengthy improvised sound collages are challenging to listen to but have their own beauty and are of serious historical importance. Gruppo recorded albums for RCA Italia and Cinevox to 1975 including under Morricone's auspices, soundtracks for the trippy "Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura" and "Un Tranquillo posto di Campagna" where their improvised 35 minute suite mirrored the formal score.

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - 1970 - The Feed-Back

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
The Feed-Back

01. The Feed-back    
02. Quasars    
03. Kumalo

Contrabass [Uncredited] – Walter Branchi
Drums [Uncredited] – Renzo Restuccia
Guitar [Uncredited] – Bruno Battisti D'Amario
Percussion [Uncredited] – Egisto Macchi
Percussion, Piano, Timpani, Vocals [Uncredited] – Mario Bertoncini
Piano, Trombone, Violone [Uncredited] – John Heineman
Trumpet [Uncredited] – Ennio Morricone

Yeah, man! Throw a guitarist, bassist and drummer on top of Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza and suddenly I'm in love. Man oh man... this is some good shit.

I can hear the "Italian Krautrock" elements people are mentioning. The drummer here, as HorseMouth pointed out, is tethering the madness to something approachable, which means schmucks like me who can't really deal with free improvisation have something to listen to and enjoy because we can trick ourselves into thinking we're listening to rock. Even though we only sort of are.

I'll say this: you definitely, definitely don't need to like anything else by this group to like this. It's rather removed anyway, what with the aforementioned psych rock instrumentation, and at times comes across like that 101 Strings album... Astro-Sounds in the something or other... it doesn't sound like a collaborative effort, or a melding of styles. Instead, it comes off as a rather awkward overdub of two rather disparate styles. And yet it works.

Famous film-scorer Ennio Morricone's jazz / rock / avant garde band. This 1970 album is very wiggy for the time and place, way beyond what one normally associates with "incidental film music". And marquee name Morricone adds trumpet here. Morricone himself was 42 when this album was released and already quite a known artist, hence the major label interest in what otherwise would be an entirely unwanted avant garde annoyance to the business. Given his formal classical musical training, the overall package reminds me of those establishment French persona's such as William Sheller (Popera Cosmic), Alain Gorageur, and Jean-Claude Vannier. You'd be hard pressed to find a more creative rock outing than "The Feed-Back", even if you've heard it all on the Futura and Ohr labels from the same era. It barely cracks the 28 minute mark, but otherwise an essential album that is likely to appeal to the remains of your addled left brain.

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - 1969 - Improvisationen

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza

01. ... E Poi?    
02. Quasiraga    
03. Light Music    
04. Ancora Un Trio    
05. Credo

Cello, Trombone – John Heinemann (tracks: A to B3)
Double Bass – Walter Branchi
Percussion – Egisto Macchi (tracks: A to B2, B4), Mario Bertoncini (tracks: A to B2)
Piano – Franco Evangelisti (tracks: A to B2, B4)
Technician [Electronic] – G. Giuducci
Trumpet – Ennio Morricone (tracks: A to B3)

Tracks A1-B3 are acoustic improvised music, track B4 is an improvised electronic/concrete piece.
Tracks A1-B2 - Gruppe Nuova Consonanza
Track B3 - Branchi/Heinemann/Morricone
Track B4 - Realisation: Studio R 7 (Laboratorio elettronico di musica sperimentale, Roma)
Electronic technics: G. Guiducci

Rooted both in free form jazz and the classical avant movement of the times, this album features adventurous, atonal anti-music a bit similar the Nihilist Spasm Band, but with a warmer tone. Not for everyone.

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza - 1967 - The Private Sea of Dreams

Gruppo d'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
The Private Sea of Dreams

01. Lip Servie (Cantata) 3:31
02. RKBA-1675, Take One 5:12
03. Perfect Union (Trio per violoncello, tromba e lastra di cristallo) 5:47
04. Side One, Band Four (Quartetto) 7:35
05. Springs Quartet (String Quartet) 4:13
06. Sunrise (Improvvisazione per otto) 7:36
07. Conversations (Trio di fiati) 3:13
08. Waves (Improvvisazione per cinque) 7:06

Trombone,Cello – John Heineman
Piano,  Vibraphone, Marimba, Organ [Hammond] – Roland Kayn
Piano, Percussion – Mario Bertoncini
Piano, Percussion [Tam-Tam] – Frederic Rzewski
Piano, Timpani, Celesta – Franco Evangelisti
Trumpet – Ennio Morricone
Tenor Saxophone – Ivan Vandor
Clarinet – Jerry Rosen

Recorded in RCA Italiana Studios, Rome, Italy.
Subtitled "Improvisational mood music for modern dream extensions".

First released in Italy as MLDS 20243 in 1966.

This 1967 edition was released simultaneously in the US and Canada with the same cover, and in both mono and stereo.
For the North American edition, the cover was completely redone. The name of the group and titles were changed to match the psychedelic cover image. The back shows new song titles for each piece, but here the original Italian titles are still readable next to them in a small font as are the credits for the performers. Most of the back cover is taken up an article written by David Horowitz on the expanding influence making of money from things that were plentiful and cheap before. It is hard to tell if he in the psychedelic scene not understanding why this European avant-garde music was being put out, of if really knew the music and was disgusted at RCA decided to market it.

Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (also known as The Group or Il Gruppo) was an avant-garde free improvisation group considered the first experimental composers collective

The collective was formed by Italian composer Franco Evangelisti in Rome in 1964. Drawing on jazz, serialism, musique concrete, and other avant-garde techniques developed by contemporary classical music composers such as Luigi Nono and Giacinto Scelsi, the group was dedicated to the development of new music techniques by improvisation, noise-techniques, and anti-musical systems. The group members and frequent guests made use of extended techniques on traditional classical instruments, as well as prepared piano, tape music and electronic music. During the 1970s the music continued to evolve to embrace techniques and genres such as guitar feedback and funk. In addition to concerts, the group issued a series of albums and contributed to many scores by group member Ennio Morricone, including Un Tranquillo Posto Di Campagna (1968) and Gli occhi freddi della paura (1971). The group slowly disbanded after Evangelisti's death in 1980.

Geinoh Yamashirogumi - 1990 - Ecophony Gaia

Geinoh Yamashirogumi
Ecophony Gaia

01. Chaos (13:58)
02. Genesis (11:03)
03. Euphony (17:29)
04. Catastrophe (8:33)
05. Disco (8:39)
06. Gaia (10:53)

Composed and conducted by Yamashiro Shoji
Geinoh Yamashirogumi (Collective)

‘Ecophony Gaia’ [Invitation, 1990] is a 70-minute ‘macrosymphony homage to the Earth’s ecosystem

Geinoh Yamashirogumi - 1988 - Akira

Geinoh Yamashirogumi 

01. Kaneda (03:10)
02. Battle Against Clown (03:38)
03. Wings Over Neo-Tokyo (02:48)
04. Tetsuo (10:18)
05. Dolls' Polyphony (02:55)
06. Shohmyoh (10:11)
07. Mutation (04:49)
08. Exodus From The Underground Fortress (03:18)
09. Illusion (13:56)
10. Requiem (14:26)

 I'm everything but a fan of Manga and/or Anime, but the movie of which this is the soundtrack was a good cyberpunk, even quite complicated in the plot and I remember to have enjoyed it. Also the soundtrack catched my attention.

Recently I have discovered that it was composed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi, and that this is the name of a band, not of an obscure Japanese artist.

This album has the limits of any soundtrack: all the tracks are disconnected and each one represents a different situation of the movie, but each track is strong enough to be able to live on its ownn.

The first two tracks are full of percussions and are between the traditional Japanese and techno-industrial.

"Winds Over Neo-Tokio" is the first highlight. A slow electronic which sounds a little krautrock.

"Tetsuo" starts with cymbals and traditional instruments (I suppose). If it wasn't for the rhythm and the melodic line that are not properly ethnic, it would be similar to the Indonesian Barong. Try to imagine Oldfield's tubular bells entirely played by tubular bells. It changes a bit when percussions join the cymbals. I can hear echoes of Tangerine Dream or Vangelis, even if no keyboards seem to be present. The more it proceeds the more it's intriguing. The second highlight; and this time is over 10 minutes long. The last minute is parossistic and should be listened to at high volume.

"Doll's Polyphony" is experimental. It's built by mixing female voiced spelling all the same word with different pitches. they do with voices what in the previous track was made with cymbals. When male voices arrive it finishes as a choral suite.

"Shomyoh" is opened by various noises and voices like in a market in the Samurai age. Then voices like in a Gregorian chant but spelling what seems to be Japanese have a weird impact. Female voices join to create an unusual athmosphere that is very appropriate to the movie's environment. Switch off the lights and put your headphones on.

"Mutation" is more chaotic, still voices and percussions but in a dark and rhythmic mood. It makes me think to the chaotic part of Vangelis' Heaven and Hell (Heavy-Aries-Heaven). As in that track with Vana Veroutis, after a small portion of silence a female choir with a solist replaces the darkness of the first part.

The first track to sound just like an electronic piece is "Exodus From The Underground Fortress" on which we can hear keyboards and electric guitar together with percussions and various noises. Lovers of Krautrock will be pleased by it. The harp reminds a bit to Vollenweider but this can't be called newage. The only "easy" track of the whole album.

"Illusion" is opened by soft keyboard with spare cymbals. I think to Edgar Froese or Vangelis again (in particular "City"). After few relaxing minutes it turns into the "No" theatre, maybe: A voice like somebody making a manual work, a rhytmic percussion and a pan flute or something similar. This is very Japanese, I think. It continues in this way until the end. A bit boring in this part, specially compare dto the excellent initial part, but it fits well into the album.

"Requiem" is started by very heavy funeral drums and a cymbal sounding like a bell. When it stops an ethereal choir still reminds to Vangelis' Heaven and Hell. The choir is then followed by an organ. Effectively it sounds like a requiem in classical sense. The organ is "disturbed" by some unexpected percussions before startin to sound louder, as a church organ. The percussions behind are again reminding to the chaotic section of Heaven and Hell. When the male solist sings on dissonant notes it's quite scary, like a black sabbath. I don't think this was the desired effect. The voice is full of pain. Probably is my western culture that makes me think to something so "negative". The solist is suffering for somebody's death. This is a requiem. The choir then replaces the organ but the transision is soft so you can take a while to realize that the organ has disappeared. Then percussions join.... This is the highest moment of this album.

Not an easy listening really, but with enough patience it's not too much challenging and is, I think, different from everything else. Even with all the points of contact and similarities with electronic prog and krautrock it's totally original and includes traditional elements. It's an excellent album even for those who haven't seen the movie.