Boomkat Product Review:
Fascinating turn of private electro-acoustic designs by Italy’s Massimo Toniutti - brother of Giancarlo, of ‘Broken Flag’ LP fame - originally self-released in 1991 and now sniffed out, expanded with a bonus album’s worth of gear, and reissued by Oren Ambarchi’s faultless Black Truffle. To our ears, this little known masterpiece bridges a gap between Gruppo and Giuseppe Ielasi, rendering freely disciplined and brilliantly unpredictable arrangements of detailed field recordings and upfront sounds that happen and unfold with a naturalistic quality that’s totally key to its immersive allure. Big RIYL Roland Kayn, Nurse With Wound, Giuseppe Ielasi, Gruppo D’improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
“Massimo Toniutti was active in the vibrant underground industrial/noise scene of the 1980s, contributing to releases on legendary labels such as Broken Flag and RRR and self-releasing a series of cassettes between 1984 and 1988. Existing in a private world apart from the noise and dark industrial tropes of many of his contemporaries, Toniutti’s Il Museo Selvatico is an entirely singular work of domestic electro-acoustic exploration. Made up primarily of what Toniutti calls “small and rare noises” or sonic “knick-knacks” recorded between 1987 and 1990, the five pieces that make up the original LP usher us into a crepuscular space populated by mysterious traces of everyday life.
Toniutti weaves a loose net of distant clanks, dull thuds, metallic resonance, and skittering percussive sounds, allowing the sounds to breathe against a backdrop of near-silent atmosphere. Although the haunted ambience recalls the work of contemporaries like Organum, Toniutti generally steers clear of long tones and drones, preferring to arrange brief, sometimes staccato sonic objects into patterns of repeating figures and isolated events whose overall compositional shape remains somehow ungraspable. Although glimpses of recognizable location recordings and instrumental sounds can occasionally be made out, for most of the record the sources of the sounds you hear remain teasingly mysterious, an abstracted memory of everyday actions and atmospheres.
Il Museo Selvatico is accompanied here by an additional LP of material recorded at the same time, composed especially for this reissue into two side-long suites that inhabit the same haunted space as the original LP while occasionally making use of more maximal compositional strategies. Essential listening for fans of Organum, Nurse With Wound, Christoph Heemann, and the tradition of outsider musique concrete.”