A reclusive gentleman from a land of cold silences (Friuli, extreme North East of Italy), Giancarlo Toniutti has carved an individual niche amidst the obscurity of the really serious sonic experimentalists over many years of barely reported activity. The man is highly esteemed by those in the know, despite the relative scarcity of releases (besides other things, he’s been a collaborator of Andrew Chalk and Jason Lescalleet). This CD, whose name is in Nuxálk language, is subtitled “and now he almost did make himself into hemlock needles, it is said”. Cryptic messages that find their acoustic expression in a kind of music that, in the originator’s words, “deals with the dynamics of perception itself as an element of a sharing experience”.
Originally intended as a sound-field for exhibitions by visual artist Luisa Tomasetig, this piece – which lasts a full hour – was created with an object that existed only for that purpose and today is no more: a “rattle-harp”. Basically, it’s a 145 x 85 drift metal plate, various meters of steel and metal wire with “tintinnabula” attached, plus “accidental” bone and wood. It was played with a “num”, namely the arco of a Mongolian instrument called “morin xuur”. Everything you just read testifies about the type of person Toniutti is: looking for the core essence of the matter and for the actual meaning of a gesture, certainly not content with the first plaything found around. Quite a difference with certain alleged experts of installations, not to mention those who buy expensive toys to pollute silence with records exclusively justified by the money used to release them.
The concrete upshot of the recordings (which were completed between 2001 and 2002) is a gorgeous work that has nothing to envy to the bona fide masters of the genre – say, a Jonathan Coleclough. The organic quality of the soundscape – essentially, a series of deeply resounding bowed drones with click-and-clatter protuberances in the background – requires total openness in its effectively overpowering low-frequency radiation. At the same time this music asks for repetitive reproduction, unafraid to reveal a raw magnetism to anyone able to identify a soul in the place where humongous rumble and ruthless growl rule.