Friday, April 18, 2014

Ninni Morgia 13 questions

Ninni Morgia (b. in Catania, Italy) is a guitar player. He is most well known for playing in the New York City improv and experimental music scenes. He has played in the noise-rock band White Tornado with whom he recorded Leg, From hand to mouth produced by Don Zientara, Contrived (7' split with Colossamite) and Oxbow meet White Tornado.

Photo Fabio Lugaro

He also played in the Italian free jazz band Conjura with Roy Paci, Fred Casadei, Francesco Cusa with whom he recorded Conjura. In 1999 he recorded his first solo guitar CD I am two. He has been living in New York since 2003 and has since then played, among others, with: Daniel Carter, William Parker, Lee Ranaldo, Kevin Shea, Peter Evans, Jack Wright, Blaise Siwula, Bonnie Kane, Tim Garrigan, Blake Fleming, Ed Chang, Mike Pride, Chris Forsyth, Gregory Reynolds, Shayna Dulberger, Chris Welcome, Jeff Arnal...

In 2003 he started Death.Pool with drummer/singer Andrya Ambro, recorded their first album in 2004, released on Fat Cat digital.  He was part of the psychedelic rock band La Otracina from 2006 to 2008, with whom he released several albums on Sky-fi industries, Colour Sounds, Holy Mountain.

In 2006 he founded the free jazz/improv collective QUIVERS with bassist Jordon Schranz, and The Right Moves with drummer Kevin Shea, and also featuring Peter Evans on trumpet.

Their second and latest album The End of The Empire 2009, features Morgia and Shea with bassist Stuart Popejoy. “Morgia bends and buffs his fiery tones like Jimi Hendrix to fit the rhythmic shuffle that surrounds him… it feels odd to say any group could be better without Peter Evans, but the increased sonic coherence of this line-up makes a pretty convincing case” Marc Masters, The Wire. In the summer of 2009 he recorded the double LP "Ninni Morgia Control Unit" with Daniel Carter (sax, trumpet, voice) and drummer Jeff Arnal. The record is a mix of prog rock, psychedelic rock, free jazz and world music.

In 2010 Ultramarine releases the double LP Prism by Ninni Morgia and William Parker, in which Parker's trademark free jazz bass meets Morgia' new visionary, abstract playing, heavily influenced by Stockhausen, Xenakis, Parmegiani and their sound explorations.
In April 2011 he toured the UK with Silvia Kastel and Kommissar Hjuler und Mama Baer, to promote their split LP "Two Couples". He currently lives mostly in the South of Italy and plays/performs with Silvia Kastel (voice, synth) and has a duo with Marcello Magliocchi (drums, percussion, sound sculptures). The first LP by the duo of Morgia and Magliocchi "Sound Gates", out June 2011, is  "most definitely one of the best improvised records you’ll hear this year" (Digitalis)
In 2011 he has also recorded with the newborn trio BRAND, with Gary Smith (guitar) and Silvia Kastel (voice, synth). Morgia performed with Silvia Kastel at the latest Colour out of Space festival, in Brighton:

Control Unit (Ninni Morgia & Silvia Kastel) have released two LPs The Fugitives on Backwards Records in 2012; In A Frame, released by Altvinyl in 2013. Control Unit also released collaborations with Massimo (the LP "Top Trans" on Clan Destine Records) and Elegy For Rusted Souls , the result of a studio session together with the Industrial pioneers Factrix, released as LP+7" BY Backwards in 2013. Control Unit have an upcoming 7" out April 2014 on Backwards.

Which was the first musical sound do you remember?

I don't know if it was the very first musical sound I've heard, but definitely one of the first ones that I remember: my father playing the harmonica.

What do you dream, musically speaking, about?

Sometimes in my dreams I picture my hand on the guitar fretboard, playing exactly the notes I have in mind and this gives me a pleasurable feeling, a sense of peace.

Which is the main pleasure of the guitar?

For me personally, the guitar is the most complete means to express many different musical worlds. Its extreme versatility allows  a very wide range of action; this gives me a great sense of freedom. The timbres you can draw out of a guitar are literally endless.

Which work of your own are you most proud of?

Usually I tend to focus on future projects and I am always looking for new creative urges and I don't think too much about what I've done in the past. Anyways I remember as an important and nourishing experience, the two albums made with Gary Smith and Silvia Kastel as well as my experience in the 90's with my noise rock band White Tornado.

What are your motivations for playing?

Playing is definitely what I love doing the most, it is the way I express myself and communicate best.

How would you define the present time in musical terms? 

The first thing that comes to my mind if I should define the present time in music, is chaos. This can be both positive and negative: it depends on the approach with which you start making music, what your reasons are for making it. For example, you can be totally unoriginal, since so much has been made so far musically, but still have something to say with music. As far as I'm concerned, I don't see music as merely a product to be sold; it's my means of communication. If it also gets appreciated by others, that's a nice thing.

Why and how do you use extended techniques in guitar?

I use extended techniques in guitar to create other timbres and sounds which can only be obtained this way, by making use of objects that I put between the strings, or I use them as bows, or to obtain percussive effects. Like I said, with a guitar you can get an infinite amount of sounds, you simply must not have any limit or fear to break the rules.

Where are your roots? What are your influences?

My roots and influences are many and they have changed over time. I started off as a singer in a hardcore band, then besides singing, I began playing the guitar in the same band, I remember my hero was Bob Mould of Husker Du. Later, when I listened to "Confusion Is Sex" by Sonic Youth a new world opened up to me: that's when I really started to think that I could invent anything I wanted with the guitar, without really having an idea of what a guitar was, technically speaking. All that mattered was that I liked the sound I was making with it. Later on I started being attracted to more technically gifted guitarists, that left traces on my style: Duane Denison of Jesus Lizard, Robert Fripp, Arto Lindsay, Derek Bailey, Keith Rowe, Sonny Sharrock (who has a truly special place in my heart), Pete Cosey, Cosey Fanni Tutti and then one day I decided to go back, intrigued by the fact that he is said to be one of the greatest guitarists ever, I started obsessively and maniacally listening to Jimi Hendrix. I keep doing it today and I can never get enough. I am also an avid blues listener, both acoustic (pre-war) and Chicago rhythm n blues. I have to say that during the 60's in the UK, British blues definitely left a mark in history, too.

How many guitars do you have? Select only one and tell me why.

I have about 10 guitars that I have bought over many years, I definitely pick my Fender Stratocaster. Its bridge pickup has been replaced with an humbucker and the bridge is a Floyd Rose. This is the guitar that allows me to best express myself and I love its sound.

A valuable advice that someone has gifted to you in the past?

Some guy once told me: draw the fretboard on a piece of paper including the six strings, draw some random marks on it and get something you like out of what you've drawn. Sounds strange I know, but it's been useful.

What gear do you use?

A Victoria amp and a lot of pedals... in fact, I am quite obsessed with pedals and I collect fuzz boxes, old and new. Cables are also extremely important for me, which I only discovered recently but I've noticed they make such a big difference in your sound. Sometimes I add metal bottlenecks, springs, sticks and other objects, as usual...

What artist, living or dead,  would you like to have collaborated with?

As a musician, I would have loved to play with John Coltrane, John Lydon and I would have liked to accompany Carmelo Bene in one of his theatrical performances. A duo with Maria Callas would have been very interesting, too!

What’s your latest project about?

My latest project is Control Unit, together with Silvia Kastel who sings and plays synth, it's still going on and what I'm mainly focussing on right now.

The Right Moves: Peter Evans, Kevin Shea Ninni Morgia 


White Tornado - Lapilli - compilation Indigena/Wide rec. CD, 1995
White Tornado - Leg - Lollypop rec. CD, 1996
White Tornado - From hand to mouth - Freeland rec. CD 1997

White Tornado  - Contrived - Freeland/Skin Graft rec. 7' split with Colossamite 1998

Conjura - (Ninni Morgia, Roy Paci, Fred Casadei,Francesco Cusa) - Etnagigante rec. CD 1999
Ninni Morgia - I am two - Etnagigante rec. CD 1999
White Tornado - meet Oxbow - Wallace rec. CD split with Oxbow 2000

Death.Pool - (Ninni Morgia,Andrya Ambro,Tim Garrigan) - Fat Cat web/CD-r 2004
Quivers - (Ninni Morgia, Jordon Schranz, Marie Evelyn, Adam Kriney) - Once there were some - Colour Sound/Tigerasylum rec. CD-r 2006
The Right Moves - (Ninni Morgia,Peter Evans,Kevin Shea) - This is Your Message - Tigerasylum rec. CD-r 2007

Ninni Morgia - Guitar Solo, Live @ The Foundry New York - Setola di Maiale rec. CD-r 2007
Ninni Morgia Jordon Schranz Duo - Live @ The Foundry New York City - Setola di Maiale rec. CD-r 2007

La Otracina - Tonal ellipse of the one - Holy Mountain rec. CD 2007
La Otracina - The silence dimension - Colour Sounds rec. CD-r 2007
Trauma Unit - (Ninni Morgia,Ed Chang, Jade Larson) - Live @ WKCR -Tigerasylum rec. CD-r 2007

Trauma Unit: Ed Chang, Jade Dylan, Ninni Morgia

La Otracina - The avocado sunbeam tapes - Colour Sounds rec. CD-r 2007
La Otracina - Dark Matter - Colour Sounds rec. CD-r 2008
La Otracina - Cosmic Appreciation - Colour Sounds rec. CD-r 2008

La Otracina - Crystal Wizards from the Cosmic Weird - Ski-Fi rec. CD-r 2008 -
La Otracina - V/A Peace Frog Rides The Rocket CD with Peace Frog zine issue 2 - 2008
Quivers - (Ninni Morgia,Jordon Schranz,Chris Welcome,Adam Kriney) - 2012 - Tigerasylum rec. LP 2008


La Otracina - Blood Moon Riders - Holy Mountain rec. LP 2009
The Right Moves - The End of the Empire - Ultramarine rec. CD 2009
Ninni Morgia Control  Unit - s/t - Ultramarine rec. 2LP 2009
Chora / Quivers split LP/DL - Ultramarine rec. 2010
Ninni Morgia, William Parker - Prism 2LP/DL - Ultramarine rec. 2010

Ninni Morgia & Silvia Kastel / Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Baer "Two Couples" LP - Ultramarine rec. 2011
Ninni Morgia & Edoardo Marraffa "One Morning In The South" CD, Setoladimaiale 2011

Carver (Ninni Morgia/Stefano Giust/Silvia Kastel/Patrizia Oliva) "Raw" CD, Setoladimaiale 2011
Ninni Morgia & Marcello Magliocchi "Sound Gates" LP - Ultramarine rec. 2011

Ninni Morgia "Ladyboy Sonata" CS - Ultramarine, 2011
Gary Smith/Silvia Kastel/Ninni Morgia "Brand" LP - Ultramarine, 2012

Control Unit (Ninni Morgia & Silvia Kastel) "The Fugitives" LP (2012, Backwards, IT)
Ninni Morgia/Silvia Kastel/Kommissar Hjuler/Mama Baer "Live In Edinburgh" (Ricerca Sonora, 2012) LP (IT)

Ninni Morgia/Silvia Kastel/Kommissar Hjuler/Mama Baer "Live At Morden Tower" CS (2012, Ultramarine, IT)
Control Unit w/ Massimo "Top Trans" LP (Clan Destine Records, 2012, UK)

Ninni Morgia & Marcello Magliocchi "Season Two" CD (Solar IPSE Audio House, 2012, IT)
Control Unit "Complay" CS (Existential Cloth, 2012, USA)
Control Unit "In A Frame" LP (Altvinyl, 2013, UK)
Factrix/Control Unit "Elegy For Rusted Souls" LP+7" (Backwards, 2013, IT)

Bren't Lewiis Ensemble/Ninni Morgia/Silvia Kastel "Fix It Again, Tony" LP (2013, BUFMS, USA)
Ju Suk Reet Meate/Silvia Kastel/Ninni Morgia "Le Puss Puss" LP (2013, Altvinyl, UK)

Ninni Morgia/Silvia Kastel/Utrillo Kushner "Live at Hemlock" CS (2014, Ultramarine, IT)
V/A "Your Song, My Foot! Vol.2" CD compilation (2014, WFMU)
Control Unit appear on this CD comp with a cover of "It's Not Funny Anymore" by Husker Du
Control Unit 7" (April 2014, Backwards)