Label: Ferns Recordings
Format: LP, coloured
Out of stock
** 200 copies, in process of stocking ** Over the last few years, the French imprint, Ferns Recordings - sprung from the ashes of G.M.B.H. - has picked up the pace and delivered some serious gold, including killer released by Small Cruel Party, Tarab, Julien Héraud, Daniel Menche, Francisco López, and many others. Their latest, “Stratégies Obliques I” stands among their most historically important to date; the first ever jointly billed release from the brothers Giancarlo and Massimo Toniutti. Both legendary figures on the Italian experimental music scene since the late 1970’s / early 1980s, the beautifully produced LP - issued in a limited edition of 200 copies on white vinyl - features a side long composition from each artist that taps visionary depths of abstraction activated by electroacoustic sound.
Born and raised in the small north eastern city of Udine, Giancarlo and Massimo Toniutti stand among the most fascinating artists to have emerged from Italy during the late 1970s and early '80s. Where most widely visible Italian experimental music from this era - Franco Battiato, Giusto Pio, Luciano Cilio, Roberto Cacciapaglia, Prima Materia, Futuro Antico, Lino Capra Vaccina, etc. - had initially sprung from progressive and psychedelic rock & roll contexts - the Toniutti brothers forged ties to the explicit radicalism of Futurism, musique concrète, the avant-garde temperaments of projects like by Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza and MEV, and the emerging forms of punk and industrial music.
While they often collaborated together on each other’s releases, both Giancarlo and Massimo are recognised as solo artists who have sculpted highly individualized paths over the last four decades. Giancarlo, initially rooted in the field of free electroacoustic improvisations, studied electronic music at the Venice Conservatory, eventually developing a practice rooted in acoustic sound-sources, and a highly personalized research into morphology, linguistics, acoustics, material cultures, etc., across a body of striking solo work, as well as noteworthy collaborations with Siegmar Fricke, Andrew Chalk, and Conrad Schnitzler. Like his brother, Massimo Toniutti was a central figure in the Italian musical underground of the 1980’s, releasing a series of genre defiant albums on Broken Flag, RRR, and his own private imprints. Built from a deep focus on the structure, space, environment, and silence, his ascendant works - most notably “Cava XI.XI.86”, which was reissued by Black Truffle in 2018 to great acclaim - have long been regarded as astounding feats of musique concrète and electroacoustic artistry.
“Stratégies Obliques I”, featuring a side long work by each of the Toniutti brothers, stands as a striking proof that their respective, evolving creative journeys are as striking and relevant today as they were at the outset. For each work, the artist deployed the Oblique Strategies deck, created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt during the mid 1970s as a prompt for new creative processes. The title of the card chosen, was then used as the title of the resulting work, both of which were created during the first half of 2021.
Giancarlo’s piece, “A Tinct Myrrh (discard an axiom, just carry on)”, which occupies the LP’s first side, is an immersive work of ambience and texture, which shifts between states of total abstraction and a vivid sense of imagism, constructed from sounds sourced from percussion, rustler, iron wares, prepared slabs, and domestic idiophones. As the composition progresses - creaking and scraping as though capturing the slow decomposition of a sinking ship through this hiss of radio waves - Toniutti imbues that happenstance and incidental with a profound sense of purpose, as though seeking the very sense of communication through sound.
“The Background Colour of a Paragraph (ask your body, mute and continue)”, Massimo’s contribution to the second side of “Stratégies Obliques I”, is a markedly different and considerably more “musical” affair. For just under seventeen minutes, the composer constructs a glimmering expanse of drone from unknown sources that possess a remediably industrial sense of tonality. Buzzing harmonics intertwine against the clatter, rattles, and beeps of vast range of sound sources, culminating as a stunningly beautiful and visionary, almost maximalist rethinking of long-tone music.