Review: Giovanni Lami – Sinalefe (Thalamos, Feb 12)

Giovanni Lami’s unique brand of musique concrète has an energy that is all its own. 2016’s Bias, an unmatched modern masterpiece as far as I’m concerned, distilled Lami’s examinations of degradation and interference to a brooding, nocturnal palette of immersive sound. This work is continued on the Italian sound artist’s more recent releases, notably last year’s In Chiaro / In Guardia and here on Sinalefe. The short tape is comprised of an intimate pair of pieces, their unassuming and subtle presence concealing that inexplicable dark tension that haunts so many of Lami’s compositions. “I” settles into an uneasy drone of quiet rustling and mechanical hum, slowly unraveling as stuttering VLF frequencies unseat the delicate balance of textures. The track only becomes immersive as it progresses, reaching fragile catharsis with the introduction of spidery, high pitched tones and mysterious rustling. A truly uncanny marriage of timbres is achieved here, creating a hypnotic and meditative soundscape that makes the side’s abrupt end even more disarming. “II” begins with a muffled field recording before growing into an even more harrowing mixture of electric crackles and metallic resonance. Lami really seems to be closing in on a style that I could not be more excited to hear more of, and I can’t wait to see what he conjures next.

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