What our staff has to say: “Italian vocal minimalism somewhere between La Monte Young’s Theatre Of Eternal Music and Tuvan throatsinging, originally release on Alvin Curran, Roberto Laneri, and Giacinto Scelsi’s label Ananda.” – Jon
Prima Materia was a vocal improvisation ensemble, founded by Roberto Laneri in 1973. Composed entirely of vocalists with no academic training, the group developed various techniques—revolving mostly around the use of overtones—that would embody their unique sound. No instruments nor electronic manipulations were ever employed within the group’s physiognomy, which was realized purely through the human voice. La Coda Della Tigre, the group’s sole album, was recorded in 1977 by Alvin Curran and released on Ananda, an artist-run label founded by Laneri, Curran and Giacinto Scelsi. As the original liner notes state, “The music of Prima Materia may sound radically new, yet at the same time it is likely to ring some distant bell and evoke ancient emotions. This is not due to chance: indeed, the very name of the group points to a specific path, namely, the unfolding of the potential implicit in the alchemical symbol as embodying a process of transmutation of consciousness.” Prima Materia’s four members (Laneri, Claudio Ricciardi, Gianni Nebbiosi and Susanne Hendricks) combine voices to create a singular, beautiful drone that is (as the group’s name suggests) both impossible to define and fundamentally simple. This first-time standalone reissue is recommended for fans of La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Disques Ocora.