TAI No-Orchestra is a multi-disciplinary project comprising some of the best improvisers of the Italian scene, both historical figures like Filippo Monico or Roberto Del Piano and new talents like Silvia Bolognesi and Paolo Botti. The main originators for this project are musicians Del Piano, Massimo Falascone and photographer Roberto Masotti; the name "TAI" refers to "Terra Australis Incognita," an imaginary southern continent which appeared on early maps of the world, later symbolizing unknown or unexplored territories. These starting points perfectly illustrate the collective's aestheticsmerging different creative activities in a form of performance where musical improvisation and visuals, but also dance and spoken word, are equally important in exploring the possible intersections of the different voices that comprise the ensemble. These two records document the first edition of TAI Fest, held in Milan in May 2014, an annual meeting that serves as the main showcase for TAI No-Orchestra's activities.
The festival offered various ensemble combinations and the records keep that division, the tracks often comprising different improvisations by the same group, providing a sample of the possibilities offered by the diverse instruments and approaches, exploring the language of free jazz as well as the most abstract fringes of free improvisation or the alien soundscapes of electroacoustic experimentation.
The various tracks are so different in nature, and the artistic quality so consistently excellent, that it would be difficult to choose any absolute highlights. Particularly successful are the folk-tinged ruminations by Prati on cello and Arcari on clarinet, harp and ocarina (track 2 on vol.1); the intricate free jazz evolutions by Bolognesi on double bass, Botti on banjo, Locatelli on bass clarinet and Falascone on baritone sax (track 6 on vol.1); the austere experimental dialogue between Falascone on alto and sopranino sax and Novaga on electric guitar (track 1 on vol.2); the frenzied electronic exchanges by Masotti, Falascone and Neko on crackle boxes and synth (track 4 of vol.2).
Unfortunately, the visual dimension is totally absent, so the listener can only imagine the full experience of the live event. What remains though is a comprehensive portrait of an astonishing creative ensemble, showcasing the multiple talents, past and present, that animate the Italian free improvisation scene.
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