Boomkat Product Review:
The link between Demdike Stare and Italy’s legendary Il Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza should be obvious to anyone familiar with their output over the years, especially the ‘Tryptych' and ‘Elemental' sets. Having been asked to perform in front of (and by) its surviving members (including Ennio Morricone no less), Demdike mined the Il Grupo archive for pieces to disassemble for this incredible hour-long collage, which takes the source material somewhere new.
Over the years Il Grupo has included the likes of Egisto Macchi, Roland Kayn, Walter Branchi, Franco Evangelisti, John Heineman, Giovanni Piazza, Frederic Rzewski and Jesus Villa Rojo alongside Morricone, its most famous member. All exceptionally skilled players and composers, Gruppo were formed in 1964 at the initiative of Franco Evangelisti with an aesthetic agenda looking beyond the boundaries of previous improvisational musics. They focussed on production and the qualities of sound itself, employing innovative recording and playing techniques at the limits of their capabilities as performers and composers in order to discover the "new consonance" inferred in their nomenclature.
Their influence on film soundtrack work is, of course, already well documented and acknowledged, but you can also hear traces of their work reflected in so much exploratory, non-academic contemporary music, with Demdike being an obvious example. Referencing one of Gruppo’s most well known and sought-after recordings, The Feed-back (1970), the Feed-Back Loop captures Demdike making perhaps the most interesting use of this source material yet, a restrained and delicate weaving of textural and percussive elements that manage to both revere the source material, as well as re-contextualise it for new ears.
As Demdike explain
"Tasked by the Festival Nuova Consonanza for a live performance at their 53rd Edition, with the remaining gruppo members in attendance, (Ennio Morricone, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Giovanni Piazza, Alessandro Sbordoni) we apprehensively dived into our collections for pieces by Gruppo and it's members in order to create this homage. Using samplers, synths and effects we looped and layered chosen sections to create new pieces which we had to then play in front of the mighty Il Gruppo, captured here for posterity."