Minus – Collettivo d’Improvvisazione are an Italian, Bologna based open collective. Core members are Simone Faraci, Marco Giampieretti, Giovanni Magaglio, Matteo Pastorello, Federico Pipia and Niccolò Salvi. Their focus is looking for new creative languages connected to the art of improvisation.
We introduced them with the 2020’s EP Round. Now they have announced a new one called Casa Base which will be out on June 18th via Slowth Records. According to the press release, it is a multimedia project that includes a series of video improvisations and a record. The concept of the project is a game piece, a controlled improvisation system for remote playing musicians, inspired by the game of baseball. The system is the result of the research of the musicians of Minus.
In each of the four videos of the audiovisual series CASA BASE, two musicians from the Italian collective are remotely engaged in the search for synchrony. Today we have the pleasure to share the official video of the track “CASA BASE #2” which features Mattia Loris Siboni e Daniele Carcassi. Watch it below and check our chat with the collective who explain the new project.
Casa Base” is your new audiovisual project. It is inspired by the baseball game, right? Tell us more about it?
“CASA BASE” is a multimedia project that includes a series of video improvisations and an album that will be released on June 18, 2021 for Slowth Records. The concept of the project is a game piece, a controlled improvisation for remote playing musicians, inspired by the game of baseball. The idea was born in the forced condition of not being able to play together and the desire to find a way to do it anyway. The sport of baseball has provided an inspiration, first of all because of its peculiar spatial organization: all the players are very far from each other and there is only one ball connecting them, traveling from one to the other. This condition is similar to what some of us experienced, taking part in virtual concerts during the pandemic months, forced to throw musical ideas into the ether. There is another aspect of baseball that has influenced the composition of this game piece and that concerns the concept of synchrony. In baseball, the relationship between pitcher and hitter is a perverse duel, where the hitter is in fact looking for a synchronicity that is almost impossible to achieve. If he wants to hit the ball, he has to adjust his instinct to the travel time it takes the ball to reach him: his survival in the game depends on the instinctive calculation of this latency.
In each of the four sessions we played for this project, two musicians from the collective are remotely engaged in the arduous search for synchrony. Playing at a distance placed us in front of the great limit of latency: the sound, traveling from one musician to another through the Internet, must necessarily take a certain amount of time, making it difficult to voluntarily produce a perfect synchrony of sound events. Therefore the challenge for us was to seek an almost telepathic connection, that comes from the experience of playing together, but above all from the search for a level of deep listening.
How much important is the visual part for your music and for this project?
Visuals have always been important for us, for instance the birth of our collective has been announced by two trailers realized with video artist Ivan Di Vita. We also worked with visual artist Elide Blind on “Tra(u)me”, a piece of musical theater commissioned to us by Teatro Comunale di Bologna in 2019. In this project the visual part is minimal, it recalls a view that has become very usual for all of us: the zoom call. But this time it’s not two people speaking, it’s two musicians improvising. We wanted to give a crude representation of this, so we choose not to use any visual effect, and absolutely no editing.
The artwork is also very important to us, and in the long term relationship with illustrator Valerio Immordino we are working together in building a new imaginative landscape for electronic music, far from the usual gloomy, post-industrial aesthetic.
Improvisation and experimentation are two important sides of your music. What is your definition of experimentation in music?
In our opinion experimentation means searching new languages, trying to avoid cliches, or using them in a deconstructed form. We all studied electroacoustic music at Bologna conservatory, so we received a strong imprinting by the tradition of experimental electronic music. But we don’t want to fall in that cliche either, so we remain open to other influences: elements of jazz, rock and techno are elements that we use to build our own language that is in constant evolution.
Improvisation defines our music, that’s what we do, we are an improvisation group: all of our music is improvised.
Can you imagine a live version of this new project? Is it something in your mind?
It is challenging to think of a live performance of this work because the idea of the project itself relies a lot on the condition of playing through the Internet. But we are thinking about it, and there are few ideas. Meanwhile there are a couple of other live projects that were put aside due to the pandemic, so we are hoping that we can bring them to life very soon.
Let’s talk about the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as a band?
Our main concern has been how to find a way to continue our work, and to do it as usual, maintaining our experimental spirit. We tried to react to it as hard as we could, and we think that “CASA BASE” testifies quite well this reaction.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
There are some groups in the italian experimental scene that we like very much. Zumtrio, a guitar/synth/drum trio, recently released an interesting album, “Radioscapes”. It is a very powerful improvisational project with Francesco Giomi, Francesco Canavese and Stefano Rapicavoli that embodies very well our idea of experimentation in music.
Another group we like a lot is Orchestra Elettroacustica Officina Arti Soniche, an electroacoustic orchestra led by Elio Martusciello that has a huge sonic impact. e-cor ensemble is another Italian project that we like a lot.