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The trio of guitarists Gary Smith and Ninni Morgia with vocalist and synth player Silvia Kastel, layered complex effected guitar against blues-based playing with intense vocals and glitchy keyboard counterpoint.

Smith / Kastel / Morgia
Brand [VINYL]

Smith / Kastel / Morgia: Brand [VINYL] (Ultramarine)
Label: Ultramarine    
Released in: Italy    

"Gary Smith is a heavyweight improviser, stereo guitar pioneer, Aufgehoben guitarist, played in the Bill Fay Group and made a great debut duo album with John Stevens on the Ecstatic Peace label in 1993. He has worked and recorded with Hugh Hopper & Drummer Shoji Hano, Masayoshi Urabe, Chie Mukai, Mass, Rhys Chatham, Bernhard Gunter & more. He now uses just an amp and volume pedal, no effects whatsover and through extended techniques produces music closer to computer generated sound, prepared guitar, bird song etc. He now spends his time between Italy & London.

Ninni Morgia has lived in NY since the early 2000's, where he played with Daniel Carter, William Parker, Peter Evans, Lee Ranaldo and many more. Since his relocation to Italy, he is now in a duo with free jazz veteran percussionist Marcello Magliocchi (they put out the LP "Sound Gates" on Ultramarine last summer) and in the group Control Unit with Silvia Kastel. Morgia has extensively toured the US and Europe, and has been widely recognized as an innovator of the electric guitar, both for his personal playing techniques and a creative use of effects and electronic textures.

Silvia Kastel is a singer, electronic musician and artist who studied with Joan La Barbara and Indian singing with Lee Torchia and graduated in electronic music and sound engineering, while living in NY. Since she has moved back to Italy, she has toured and recorded with Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer, Temperatures, Chora, played shows and festivals including the recent Colour Our of Space in Brighton, UK (together with Ninni Morgia). Her first solo release 'Love Tape' is a charming blend of synths, bass, beats, whispering, moaning, screaming, howling...

On this recording Gary Smith produces the playing for which he's considered a master of avant guitar: multiple layering, complex grainy textures, dense counterpoint, influences of birdsong. Fused with the guitar of Ninni Morgia, which floats between minimal movements of primordial electronics, pre-war slide blues and Hendrix-esque feedback. Over, and blending with them, Silvia Kastel's moaning, screaming and howling, alternates with her delayed, bubbling, glitchy or round bass synth.

It's a dense sound for 3 people. Not just visceral and intense, but articulate and defined, and in some instances very delicate. The depth of sound and the strong group style give the nine pieces their own character and atmosphere. There's no fear of tempo, pulse, more conventional musical devices, or pushing to unpredictable extremes."-Ultramarine

"It's surely no coincidence that the cover of this new trio record feels like a homage to Ray Russell's 1969 album Dragon Hill: guitarist Gary Smith was Russell's replacement in the Bill Fay Group after they cut Time Of The Last Persecution and in many ways - if there's any tradition that Smith could really be said to come out of - it's the Ray Russell school of radical six-string re-invention. Unlike many of his improvising contemporaries Smith owes little to Derek Bailey, despite his own conceptions being just as radically disorientating. Early on he developed a form of stereo guitar playing that involved a clean tone, a volume pedal and a pair of amps that married the kinda ferocious sonic reducer style of Pete Cosey with blunt Japanese psych, austere electronic composition and free improvisation, cutting a series of radical solo albums alongside collaborations with the late John Stevens (released by Thurston Moore on his own Ecstatic Peace imprint), Chie Mukai, Masayoshi Urabe, Shoji Hano and more. Since relocating to Italy Smith has hooked up with guitarist Ninni Morgia and synth/vocalist Silvia Kastel. Anyone who saw Morgia and Kastel in action with Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer on their recent tour and on the Two Couples LP will understand the kind of explosive energy the two bring to the table, combining fire music stylings with post-tongue improvisations and alien electronics. The trio hook-up is nothing short of spectacular. Smith has moved even deeper into subtle string tectonics and Kastel wraps her tonsils all the way around them, gargling notes like ball bearings and make stunning use of post-Monk body soundings while Morgia clashes with Smith with clanging subterranean tones and the sound of metal on metal. Indeed, at points it doesn't sound like a guitar record at all, with the bubbling notes and sudden dead halts feeling more akin to the radical formal violence of 20th century electronic composition than anything approaching avant rock. But in its refusal of consensual modes it paradoxically feels closer to the post Ray Russell tradition of radically extended six-string technique. A monster recording that would have sat just *there* on the Nurse With Wound list. Edition of 300 copies with a download card. Highly recommended. "-David Keenan @ Volcanic Tongue

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Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Guitarists, &c.
Unusual Vocal Forms
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings

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Price: $17.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 10.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

Label: Ultramarine
Catalog ID: UM012
Squidco Product Code: 15686

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: Italy
Packaging: Vinyl 12" LP
Recorded live in January 2011 by Silvia Kastel at the Ultramarine Cellar.


Gary Smith-guitar, volume pedal, amp

Silvia Kastel-voice, synth

Ninni Morgia-guitar

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Track Listing:


1. Magnetico

2. Swoop

3. Birdcage

4. Gesto Statico

5. Allied Forces


1. Pointillist

2. Press

3. Drops

4. Exit

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