Review: Torba – Musique Inconcrète (Fragment Factory, Oct 20)

Many of the sounds on Musique Inconcrète are thin, threadlike, fibrous, like amplified insect legs or the metallic rustle of uncut guitar strings. Usually such a description would apply to an album with much more sound processing and alteration involved in its construction, not a work that relies as heavily on mostly unmanipulated field recordings as this does, but the singular vision that audio collage maestro Mauro Diciocia (a.k.a. Torba) has adopted for Musique Inconcrète is unconcerned with “usually.” The six tracks on the LP are true sonic sketches, a structure he borrows from the Alterazioni Video collective’s tradition of Incompiuto—the incomplete. Diciocia warmly embraces a state of unfinishedness, fully content to explore acoustic settings and movements with qualities that might often be cited as weaknesses: insubstantiality, choppiness, frailty. He uses the aforementioned field recordings—most of which were captured in southern Italy—as fragile canvases for his sketches, their beautifully mundane soundscapes both contributing their own unique textures to the music as well as serving as a base for quiet interjections of buzzing static; occasional and very choice musical samples; and other oddities. The recordings themselves are often shaky and unstable, an effect that’s achieved via either subtle processing or the recording medium itself; Diciocia chose to use basic electronics like small tape recorders and mobile phones to evoke “the domestic feeling of an abandoned opera.” Such careful efforts to fully adopt an intentional lack of polish or seamlessness make Musique Inconcrète not only a fascinating and thought-provoking release but also more lush and well-realized than one could ever think possible.