Cassette Review! Giovanni Lami – Hysteresis I

A new feature on our website: cassette reviews.
We have a special page for it.
But we will publish the review also on this blog,
where it can slowly bubble under.


In my temporary dwelling, from my balcony, and looking through the window as well, I enjoy a view on hills and on the hills behind those hills that roll to the South East. Houses stick out from between small patches of forest and fields. A small road heads north to Kraków, passes little villages, that are reduced to model train shape from where I look at them. Right under my balcony is a bewildering garden. It reaches beyond my view, because of the trees that hide the lower parts, where it stops at one of the streets of this hillside village. I like to look at the trees in the garden. They all have different names, which I can’t tell you. A big pine tree lives right in front of me, another one to the right, a grapevine has draped its branches around it.

I like to watch the trees, especially when they are touched by the wind. You can ask yourself, what it must be like if you can be a part of the wind and feel like it. Winds travel everywhere, they see how the surface of the sea changes and little waves appear, carrying foam-heads. Or they are slow and warm and make the weeds lean aside. And what power does one feel, while approaching the coast of a continent with devastating force. Words are not enough to describe. One can find words of hate, or words of love. But even King Solomon could not find all the words he needed to describe his loved one.

I don’t know a lot about Giovanni Lami. He breaks through the tissue of contemporary history, when, somewhere during the last days of the Summer of 2017, he reports, that he is in Barcelona, visiting a museum with his girlfriend. They came from Ravenna. They didn’t travel by boat, as I once did from Civitavecchia, or, long ago, from Livorno. Once the boat leaves Corsica behind, it arrives in open water and is greeted by giant waves, that make the ship rock and people turn pale. Salt water splashes over the railing, and it is impossible to sit on a deckchair with your eyes closed, thinking of other times.

I know that Giovanni works with a reel-to-reel recorder. This you can hear clearly. It is not an ordinary reel-to-reel recorder. It is a Nagra. Nagra is something else. The Nagra holds six thousand years of tape. The machine is willing to reveal the secrets. And that is where Giovanni Lami goes. There must be a language hidden in all the sounds the machine produces; they are soft as a caress, or deep and profound, and of such roundness that you unwillingly stretch out your hand, looking for the touch. But further it rolls and moves and clicks and dances. Lami is like an Orpheus who can’t be bothered about warnings by gods and mortals; he follows his instrument, and only Nagra knows where it will take him.

On this tape it takes the listener from Side A to the end of Side B. But you will miss out a lot, if you don’t stop every now and then, to look at the view, for example, and see how the winds move the trees, with the same strokes that you just heard.

Giovanni Lami

Tutore Burlato