Recóndito is the latest album from Argentine ambient-electronic music composer, Diego Masarotti, AKA Dyb. The emotive six-songs (plus remix) submerge to explore “those feelings that we keep very deep, in a very reserved and dark corner,” as the artist himself describes the project on his Bandcamp page. Accomplished through introspective melodies, an array of drone synths, minimal drum programming and processed glitches. But the workhorse of Recóndito is perhaps, how all these elements infuse to stitch the impression of a search. A quest within, likely one that neither the creator nor listener was fully prepared for.
Personally, I’m obsessed with the hidden worlds of people. I know we all have them. It need not be as dramatic as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but we all have a shadow. A raw, unfiltered base where we aren’t as patient, graceful or brave. A selfish core intent on preservation, and relentlessly keen on defending its comfort. Needless-to-say, our current days at the mercy of a global pandemic have brought some of these shadows to the surface.
Recóndito, for its own purposes, admits this shadow, visits its domain…invites us down. Recalling Cobb — from Christopher Nolan’s dream heist action-drama, Inception — Descending via elevator, into memories of guilt and shame. While I’m not sure of the specifics in the case of Dyb, we sense it’s just as much, a reserved space. Recóndito, which means hidden or obscured, implies a resistance to be discovered.
No song manifests this on the album better than Recóndito Parte 1. An almost 24 minute epic, that sends us, quite literally, into the very heart of the record. With sound impressions that bring to mind, a traveler rowing out from shore into the resistant, abysmal midnight sea. Met by large sweeping drones that bellow like massive ships, unseen beyond an endless mist that breathes. Tension further built by the sound of a pounding heart. We arrive there, suddenly abandoned— The shore seeming worlds away.
One feels, whatever Dyb buried most deeply on this album, is found at the bottom of this track. And he holds us there, at its uncompromising valley, long enough to let it fully hit. No sooner, however, we’re rescued by a soft piano, rising as it were like glowing light out of the dark water. It’s warm melody, while reassuring, also feels wistful. A lost memory that nurtures and soothes but also mourns and regrets.
The song takes an upward turn, ascending through an optimistic voxpad. And with the help of sifting drones that seem to absorb the moment, a reconciliation or reinforcement begins — Something is being mended, rejoined — re-paired.
Recóndito Parte 2 is much shorter, working like a conclusion. The soft piano returns and accompanies us — That which we left the shore without, now comes back home with us. It’s a quiet and focused moment, and you almost feel the hiss of the ocean spray as you row with your muscles on autopilot. Your mind feels blank — like waking into the dawn, seeing the first details of the new day without further commentary.
“The general concept of my music,” writes Diego (in Spanish). “Is based on emotions, those we safeguard; of repressed pain, frustrations, or joyous moments.”
Recóndito represents the continent of his interior self. And like all of our interior emotional landscapes, it’s a wordless terrain. Sure we can use words to respond, like I did above, to what we find down there but the subject we aim to portray, is comprised of feelings not language. Which is why ambient music, at times, is the perfect canvas for such an essay.
In this time of slower movement; the days of the novel Coronavirus, we’ve all been asked to stay inside as much as possible. For some of us, this is escorted by a sudden increase of solitude. So not only are we spending more time at home, we’re spending more time inside that content of interior self. For the less introspective, it can feel harrowing, frightening and unknown. But Recóndito, despite not explicitly pertaining to COVID19 or quarantine, is proof it isn’t just you. We probably all go inward at some point, what we find isn’t always pretty but it’s existence is true; and even if they protest at first, those hidden pockets deserve a visit, an audience of one that can receive their consoling message best.