Review: Giovanni Lami – In Chiaro / In Guardia (Sounds Against Humanity, Oct 19)

From just looking at the cover of In Chiaro / In Guardia, one would probably have a sense of what they think the tape will sound like that is very different from how it actually sounds. The reaching, clear sky, kite-flying people, and rolling green hills imply an atmosphere of comfort and nature. But the soundscapes created by sound artist Giovanni Lami on this new tape are as subversive as always, almost entirely concealing any of that organic source material below shifting layers of dusky drones and synth textures. The latter half of the first side, “In Chiaro,” is quite illustrative of that mysterious reticence, as hints of luminous beauty struggle to rise above a blanket of reverb-drenched clacking and clicking; it’s especially elusive after the beginning of the piece, in which these more participatory elements are less prominent. As a huge fan of Lami’s work, I am beyond excited to see these two areas colliding — those being unprocessed field recording soundscapes and the profound dark greyness of concrète works like Bias—on one album. “In Guardia” pushes the palette even farther, agitating a bubbling hum of electricity with muffled object sounds and what sounds like some buried environmental recordings. Though the physical setting of In Chiaro / In Guardia initially seems important to its identity, the tape ends up examining far more abstract and intangible sound worlds, a realm in which Giovanni Lami thrives.