Put together by the Italian sound poet Enzo Minarelli, Groundsound vol. I is a snapshot of 1970s and 80s voice and soundworks by a special selection of practitioners, including the French sound poet Bernard Heidsieck, sound artist Terry Fox, legend Henri Chopin, bp Nichol (of Four Horsemen/Canadada fame) Peter Finch/ Bob Cobbing, Antonio Aragão and the phonetic poetry pioneer Ilse Garnier.
“I like the idea of having the female voice of Ilse Garnier, whom I was lucky enough to meet personally in a very distant poetry festival in Liege in the Eighties, as the opener for this new series. It can not be said that she is an expert performer, but she demonstrates a remarkable sound sensitivity in the wake of the Souffle Manifeste drawn up by her husband Pierre, in 1962.
The following Heidsieck and Chopin are the two inventors of sound poetry (Bernard used to call it action-poetry). The two works featured here are exemplary of their repertoires, the first being anchored to the integrity of the word conveyed in action and then in performance, while the second is instead aimed at its annihilation.
Terry Fox highlights a further way of conceiving sound poetry, employing the exploitation of natural sounds, thus dragging it into an area not so distant from concrete music.
I met bpNichol, legendary pioneer of phono-visual experimentation, at a festival in Québec in the mid-Eighties. Perhaps, because of his premature death, he is not always properly remembered, even if his membership with the Four Horsemen group facilitated the spread of his work.
The Portuguese Antonio Aragão is a historical figure of the Lusitanian avant-garde. He was a cultural agitator, and it could not have been otherwise given the historical events Portugal went through during the years of the dictatorship until the triumph of democracy. He is perhaps best known as a visual, rather than sound, poet. I like to remember him how he was when we met in Mexico City in the early Nineties, his quality as a sound poet. In this LP, released for the first time, is a rare sound poem of his performed by a theatrical group of his trust.
Finally, the British duo Finch-Cobbing who made history, takes on a duet that cleverly combines linguistic rarefaction with the incipient use of technology.”
Enzo Minarelli, January 2019.