Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza on Tosh Talks

Due to the scale of this project and just the 'oh wow' of it all, this is for sure on my top ten list of the greats from the 21st century so far.   Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (GINC for short) is a group of mostly Italian composers who got together to do improvise music.  Originally organized by Italian composer Franco Evangelisti, they have done numerous recordings and concerts throughout the 1960s.  How I discover them is all due to my music hero Ennio Morricone who is a long-term member of GINC.

This five-disk vinyl box set captures them doing live performances that are stunning.  The music is all done on acoustic instruments, but either altered such the prepared piano (ala John Cage) or the electronic mikes on various instruments such as trumpet, sax, strings, organ, and all sort of percussion.  At times the music is pure noise, but there is a sense of construction and thought behind the playing.  In an essence, the musicians/composers are using their composing hat as they make music together.  In actuality, it is also about the relationship between these composers, and how they see music, and therefore the world.

The box set comes with a DVD video of their performance and a beautiful book with essays in English by Evangelisti and others explaining the GINC aesthetic and philosophy.   For the new listener of GINC, they for sure will be reminded of John Cage's early works.  GINC has a different 'feel' for their instruments, and it doesn't rely on musical accidents or outside noise.  The sounds that GINC makes are very confined to space and time.

The mind reels knowing Morricone's association with these sound bandits.  Most of the Italians here did music soundtracks or wrote music for libraries that store scores for future films and Television.  Most associate Morricone with the Spaghetti western, but if that is your knowledge of Morricone, you really don't know him at all.  I feel that GINC was or is a very important aesthetic for Morricone and throughout his career, he has touched on the avant-garde side of music composition for his various movie soundtracks.   His openness to explore the music landscape is breath-taking.  Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza is an essential listening experience for anyone who even has the slightest interest in modern music.  These five discs plus DVD and book is a worthy investment that will keep on giving for a very long time.

Here's the full list of members of GINC. Each one contributes greatly to the music.  They are: Alessandro Sbordoni, Antonello Neri, Domenico Guaccero, Egisto Macchi (an incredible composer), Ennio Morricone, Franco Evangelisti, Frederic Rzewski, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Giovanni Piazza, Ivan Vandor, John Heineman (the only American in the group?), Mario Bertoncini, and Walter Branchi.


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