Review: Giovanni Lami / Hannibal Chew III / Bardo Todol – Stories from the Dotted Indian Whale (Discrepant, Jun 25)

A three-part hallucinatory storybook journey through lush, colorful locales that simultaneously do and do not exist, Stories from the Dotted Indian Whale is a sprawling, ambitious release that fully delivers on its lofty promises. The description of magnetic tape maestro Giovanni Lami’s composition (“Soap Wolf”) as “a collection of ghost recordings” is a good overarching description for all three artists’ material, for each vignette-square in the sequence of sonic tapestries is its own audio-painting of a place or environment with its roots in reality but its leaves and branches extend to the boundless skies of fiction that recontextualization makes possible. That’s not to say that the contributors don’t take their own distinct approaches to their respective sections, because that is certainly not the case: Lami goes a “distorted realism” sort of route, applying his trademark tactile manipulations and analog glitches to extended outdoor deep-listening excursions with a more sparing sensibility than usual; Hannibal Chew III (a.k.a. Gonçalo F Cardoso) operates as more of a large-scale quilter and layerer, injecting threads of musicality via synth, vocals, and strings throughout languid collages of fleeting yet vivid scenes; and Bardo Todol (Pablo Picco), the aptly introduced “noise prankster,” delivers a stilted, jarringly fragmented stumble across murky swamplands of decaying tape gurgle and voyeuristic sound documentations. Despite the stylistic diversity found across all three parts—and even within the individual parts themselves—Stories from the Dotted Indian Whale as a whole is cohesive in the most elusive way, a multifarious masterpiece of abstract narrative and aural evocation.

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