Cava xi.xi.86 by Massimo Toniutti

Massimo Toniutti | Cava xi.xi.86
Ferns (CD/DL)

These refurbished sounds originally recorded in-between 1986-87 are from Italian experimenter Massimo Toniutti (we covered his Il Museo Selvatico here last year). His use of metallic objects and everyday instruments, fused in mysterious ways, is one of multilayered distinctions. A special thanks to Ferns and to other curatorial imprints who preserve these sounds for first-time observers. Though you’d never know it, this came out in that ‘growing-pains’ era when glitzy acts like Sigue Sigue Sputnik ruled certain airwaves, and you’d catch faded latter-day Eurythmics on your car radio as well as Deborah Harry gone solo and so many other novelties of the time. This is far from a response to that sonic Siberia, and likely was far too gray for the neon street life.

Instead, Cava xi.xi.86 serves a vintage more akin to what The Legendary Pink Dots or Controlled Bleeding were doing at the same time, just a little more introspective in terms of construction. At times this sounds like a windstorm passing through a kitchen pantry, and at others its more a series of aural sculpture – brittle man-made contortions. There are passive moments too, and here the quiet contemplation the relative freeform nature finds its way of exorcising its own ghosts.

Cling, klang the echoes slam and achromatize in gestures that are definitive but never inferring a beat structure, instead more similar to opening and closing the doors of a horse stable. If you listened to this and heard ‘chimes’ while sitting close to a vast body of water you may not be too far off either. In other words Toniutti (working vertically) has created a lubricious sound that is bespoke in the most underground of sensibilities.

The new re-worked tracks have a methodical atmosphere, like a nightmare involving a rickety rollercoaster. At some point herein the artist did, in fact, incorporate hammers and venetian blinds but instead of something kinetic you might expect from Einstürzende Neubauten here the listener is much closer to the inversion of surfaces and gadgets being deployed. At more than one juncture in the closer, cava recovery, an open circuit seems to be present as well as a nice balance of drone – and this is couched in such a way as to hear not only echoes from objects being struck, but this inert feeling as if you are lurking around the space. As the listener surveils the temperature of shifting tonalities things quiet down to a pivotal numbing murmur.

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