Strange improvised sounds from legendary Italian ensemble Gruppi di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, who ranked Ennio Morricone among their number. Each track on Eroica was supposedly inspired by a different drug: see if you can guess which while listening. Weird and exciting music from 1973, still more than fresh today.
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- HOL-075 / Ltd deluxe LP on Holidays. Edition of 400 copies, bottom right hand corner of sleeve is creased upwards but it's still sealed! Last ever copy!
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- Eroina by Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza
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Here’s a no-brainer: an avant-garde collective called Gruppo di Improvvisazione make a free-jazz record about several different kinds of drugs -- like, twelve drugs, to be precise. If you’re expecting structure, melody or any semblance of reality, you’re going to be sorely disappointed with their investigations. If you like Western film score dude Ennio Morricone, though, you are at least somewhat in luck: he is one of the key players on this squealing, vomiting record of class A dirge. As always, dirge is a compliment.
While it’s hard to know what strands of free jazz Gruppo were taking influence from with ‘Eroina’, their compositions are almost entirely percussive, and have a compelling element of self-sabotaging going for them: “Raptus” locks into a rhythm of sorts, at least driving towards a point with intensifying drums and drowned sax. Half way through taking off, though, the song crumbles into nothingness, with sharp piano chords and string scratches off-setting everything they’ve worked towards. It’s followed by the rumbling, decaying “Aghi”, which brings together different percussive timbres and watches them unwind from one another. The atmosphere is beyond creepy -- it’s the sound of inanimate objects walking into walls. I don’t know which drug this one’s trying to convey, but our resident drugs encyclopedia Laurie suggests “uh… I don’t know man… fuuuuck… ketamine?”, his eyes lowered and red, dulled with the flames of blazin’ it, which you absolutely should not do, children of Norman. The more you know.
Some of this record is less distressingly John Zorn-esque and Mike Patton-ified: it breaks out of its “free” definition for moments of rhythmic clarity, but the more interesting segments are those where the percussion flies off the walls, being interrupted only by the sound of screeching doors and sawn-off instruments. It’s a far cry from the emotive, curtain-pulling theatrics Morricone created for your favourite films, but ‘Eroin’a is a subtle gem, one that deftly melds together moments you can grasp at with ones you lose all thread of. Strangely gorgeous, constantly eerie stuff.
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