Boomkat Product Review:
50th anniversary reissue for the original Italian edition of Ennio Morricone's Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza's hugely important and super rare debut album (also known as The Private Sea of Dreams).
At last, the Italian avant-garde pioneers’ earliest work turns up for reissue on Schema’s invaluable series, documenting a vital, way-ahead-of-its-time intersection of disciplines - jazz, serialism, musique concrète, tape music, and other avant strategies - colliding and sparking against each other in an unprecedented, improvised, and innovative style at their Rome studio in 1967.
As Europe’s first and (then) only collective of composers, founded in Rome, 1964 by Franco Evangelisti - owner of the R7 Studio - Gruppo would build on the contemporary classical techniques of Giacinto Scelsi and Luigi Nono by incorporating a number of similarly forward looking European notables such as Egisto Macchi and his close friend, Ennio Morricone - whose score to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was issued only a year prior to this LP - with whom they would go on to provide innovative sounds to a number of his subsequent film scores.
Operating at precognitive levels of musical understanding, underlined by rich individual histories, the core members and players including Roland Kayn, Frederic Rzewski, Mario Bertoncini and John Heineman arrived at a fascinating sound which loosened classical strictures to allow a more abstract, impulsive sort of expression to bleed thru, resulting a bewildering range and depth between their possessed vocal techniques, spectral timbres and prototypical horror movie-style gestures.
Most intriguingly for us, it’s possible to hear the roots of Roland Kayn’s later experiments in the field of cybernetic music embedded in the taut harmonic gradients of String Quartet (his first volume of Cybernetics followed in 1970), and likewise marvel at the levels of disciplined ingenuity at work, especially in their shocking use of lacunæ and unpredictable attacks in Improvvisazione Per Cinque.
Now, on the album’s 50th anniversary, it’s clear to hear its influence over, or at least precedence to, reams of experimental music ever since, from Demdike Stare at their most unheimlich, to the group practice of Æthenor or even the most recent Scott Walker outings.
An incredible doument, still startling half a century later.