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LAMI, GIOVANNI - मेम वेर्म [mema verma]

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Kohlhaas KHS 002
Release Year: 2013
Note: a fascinating "study" of a SHRUTI box (the Indian drone instrument working on a system of bellows, similar to a harmonium), capturing the silent 'side-effect' noises of the instrument as object as well ("sampling and processing the breaths, whistles and noise produced by the reeds"), very intimate and near, a perfect mixture between non electronic drones and subtle concrete sounds... in the progression of this LP the original shruti drones become more and more audible.. lim. 300 silk-screen cover
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €16.00

More Info

मेम वेर्म [mema verma] is the final step of a study about an indian shruti box G (low) tuned, mostly used without emitting any note (as in the first two tracks, [kīṭa gīta] and [sautāceta]), sampling and processing the breaths, whistles and noise produced by the reeds. The third track, [annīgā śūnyatā], is the only one in which the shruti is played in a more standard way, as well as its sound was recorded through a set of very old mid-range speakers, later sampled and processed.
मेम वेर्म [mema verma] is split into three tracks but the whole project is sort of a metamorphosis of the same idea, where the sound is, step by step/track by track, more rarefied, losing that concrete feeling in the beginning and turning into a drone in the last track.

The project is titled "mema verma" and every track title is related to Indian language in a sort of "grammelot", since these words don't exist in Hindi, Bengali or other territorial languages except for the first one [kīṭa gīta], which means "the insect's song" in Hindi; this reflects the same relationship which intercurs between the artist and the medium, so different from the traditional use of this instrument in its own country.

मेम वेर्म [mema verma], released on May 23rd by Kohlhaas, comes in a limited edition 12ТТ LP, featuring the artwork by Dead Meat [www.deadmeat.it], hand screenprinted by CORPOC [corpoc.com].
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.


"The title of this LP is translated as 'Mema Verma' and printed in Indian on the cover (I assume it's Indian, actually). The music is by one Giovanni Lami, of whom I never heard before. He created three recordings with the shruti box, G (low) tuned, but in the first two pieces (both on the A-side) without actually playing it, but using samples of the breaths, whistles and noise produced by the reeds. The one piece on the other side sees the instrument being played, but also the sampled and processed sound coming from a very old-mid range speaker. That's what this record is about, so it seems. One could easily expect, perhaps, something along the lines of M. Behrens or R. Meelkop, but that is the not entirely the case here. The manipulations employed here by Lami aren't supposed to create a highly abstract piece of music, but to bring out the more musical elements in the sound material. He melts his recordings into a synthesizer like soundscape along with percussive rattle and perhaps some more acoustic rumbling. It may seem an odd pairing but it actually works pretty well here in these two pieces; both of them operate on a similar level that seems to make them siblings of each other. This is all more collage like, melting estranged elements together. The one piece on the B-side is a powerful drone piece, but works along similar lines as the two on the A-side, but perhaps a bit more traditionally drone. It's a beautiful piece, haunting and shimmering, moving around like a gentle, caged beast. It seems slightly distorted in places, which I am not sure is the actual pressing or part of the music, but throughout it's quite a nice piece too. Very nice mood music is to be found in this place." [FdW/Vital Weekly]