Friday, March 8, 2013

Graham Lambkin - Salmon Run (2007)

Graham Lambkin is an experimental musician from the UK, famed for having worked with Jason Lescalleet, and on his 2007 album Salmon Run, he has crafted what is, in my opinion, one of the best Musique Concrète albums of all time.

Despite how odd this album can be, it's the most "human"  Musique Concrète release I've heard. The frantic breathing on "Jumpskins" just sounds so frenetic, like he's gasping for air, and it's just a touch I love, and it's Lambkin's delicate touch on this that makes it sound so special. The lilting laughter that fades into the background, the babbling of a stream, the faint murmurs and breaths, the shrill screams that pierce the the thick, all-enveloping ambiance, the chirping of birds, the warped, childish voices - all come together to form something so beautiful and intriguing. I absolutely love this album.

Some of the time, the album feels claustrophobic and extremely scary, you feel as short for breath as Lambkin, like the album envelops you in a thick fog of layer after layer for sound, until another beautiful piece comes in, shining like a ray of light through the tenebrous murk. The way in which Lambkin switches between so many binary opposites - darkness and light, beauty and vulgar oddity, serenity and chaos - is a testament to how multi-faceted the album is and what a good musician Lambkin is. The hauntingly beautiful and spectral chimes on "Jungle Blending" interlaced with the sounds of nature and water manages to create such a serene and beautiful environment while still commanding every ounce of your attention.

For people new to Tape Music and Musique Concrète, I can't think of a better album. It's both haunting beautiful and unsettling eerie. It just grabs your attention, and doesn't let go for the entirety of the album. If you're looking for background music, looks somewhere else. But if you want a deep and immensely rewarding musical experience, this comes highly recommended.

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