Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Episode 1

Mark Harwood is an Australian now residing in London. He ran 'Synaesthesia' - a record store and label out of Melbourne for 10 years. He now operates 'Penultimate Press' which launched itself in 2009 with the publication of Graham Lambkin's 'Dumb Answer to Miracles book+cd. Penultimate Press is now assembling a follow up book consisting of new drawings by Lambkin along with other planned works by various humans in a state of healthy decay. He is also a member of the band 'The Harwoods'. Mark was invited to contribute an episode to Glossolalia as an over view of Graham Lambkin's recorded history. Serving as an illustrative mechanism also for the recent book release.

Graham Lambkin was raised in Folkestone, a small town in Kent, England. It was in Kent he and Darren Harris started making music at school as The Heart Tower Singers. They made a tape and sold it at school. They didn't sell any copies. Following this, The C&B was formed who made two tapes and a 30 minute video, and then came Footprint - one tape produced. C&B/Footprint happened at the same time.

Graham entered the public consciousness at 19 when he formed his band The Shadow Ring (again Graham and Darren) who adopted the name from lyrics heard on The C&B's 'Kent Custer'. The band was memorable and built an rabidly passionate fan base because of its sui generis approach, blending elements of folk, noise, cracked electronics, and surrealist poetry, while radically changing the overall formula with each release. Tim Goss originally recorded some stuff for City Lights LP but this was not used. He then re-appeared 3 years later on Wax Work Echoes CD.

Later on their unique mix of vaudevillian frivolity, radio play dramaturge, monty python absurdity and playful sonic experimentation left many bewildered taking a decade for the entire scope of their work to form a true dialogue with the external world. A decade of increasingly skewed and inspired work culminated in 2003’s I’m Some Songs, constructed long distance as Lambkin had relocated to the US in 1998. Over the last few years, Lambkin has primarily worked under his own name, most notably with Salmon Run, Softly Softly, Copy Copy and the Breadwinner - a collaboration album with Jason Lescalleet.

"Composer Walter Marchetti once made a statement to the effect that he was seeking to reach the “bottom” of music. Some more diligent attention to this task might lead him to the music of Graham Lambkin. Already marking out a glorious bottom with his former band, The Shadow Ring, Lambkin has pursued a music so removed from prescribed aesthetics that one is flooded by the beauty it seems to ruthlessly avoid. He puts the mundane to tape and carves out its horror, its sweetness, and its unsettling ambivalence. Shrouded in a disarming naiveté, the music leaves the listener ill-prepared for its very adult take on being-in-the-world".

Lambkin's visual art has graced many a record sleeve over the last 15 years, mostly for the underground noise/rock/folk in the UK and US, and has been enthusiastically appreciated via a handful of obsessives eg: ajourneyroundmyskull.blogspot . His work explores a diverse range of 'surface' based techniques, resulting in a schizophrenic array of pictures, paintings, collages, self portraits etc. Ongoing explorations aside, all works retain the unidentifiable Lambkin thumb. The thumb itself remains attached, the thumb opposed to the others crafted all this. The mind moved, the hand shifted, the thumb agreed. The thumb of some end up in glass cases, famous thumbs, significant thumbs.

Graham has also made name for himeslf with his writing. Text was at the center of all the Shadow Ring recordings and throughout their various sonic shifts text remained the constant. Initially used as verbal polaroids of domestic surrealism. By the end of their career the text had morphed into psychologically unsettling word plays and conceptual jigsaw narratives. The 'Lighthouse' double vinyl LP unfolds like a radio play, whereas the follow up 'Lindus' could be easily be 'read' as one of the most disconcerting audio books unleashed unto the public in the guise of 'music'. Graham has mentioned he "was inspired to start writing/recording after finding out about people like Mark. E. Smith, Marc Bolan, Syd Barrett, Peter Hammill. Bolan's 'Warlock of Love' book was inspiring, as was Hammill's first book 'Killers, Angels Refugees' later on. Bolan and Smith had the biggest impact".

Text has remained integral to Lambkin's work, but only in recent years has the 'sonic' and the 'text' separated. His musical works, 'Salmon Run' and more recently 'The Breadwinner' rely more on instrumental, field recording and collage techniques with the vocal component pared down to laughter, groans, muffled grunts and other non-linguistic forms as in the case of Salmon Run. In 2009 a solo cd 'Softly Softly Copy Copy (Kye) and a book 'Dumb Answer to Miracles' (Penultimate Press) were released. The cd was instrumental the book all text.

Graham also runs the Kye label having founded an outlet for his own works along with those of the unlike minded including Belgian sound artist Moniek Darge and Call in the Giants which features Tim Goss also of the Shadow Ring.

Glossolalia - Dumb Answer to Miracles by xenoglossia
'The World's a Toy (poem)

The C&B - C-Town Breeding Ground (The C&B 1991 Pre-Shadow Ring)
7" EP (siltbreeze)
The C&B - Fathers Dead (The C&B (1991 Pre-Shadow Ring)
7" EP (Siltbreeze)
Shadow Ring - City Lights - City Lights LP (dry leaf discs)
Shadow Ring - Horse Meat Cakes - Put the Music in it's Coffin LP (Siltbreeze)
Shadow Ring - Hold Onto I.D - Hold Onto I.D (Siltbreeze)
Shadow Ring - Fish and Hog - Lighthouse LP (Siltbreeze)
Shadow Ring - Don't Say No - Lighthouse LP (Siltbreeze)
Shadow Ring - X-Ray My Mind - Lighthouse LP (Swill Radio)
Shadow Ring - We're Complex Piss - Lindus LP (Swill Radio)
Shadow Ring - Mind Blocks Crack - Lindus LP (Swill Radio)
Shadow Ring - Start Repeating - I'm Some Songs LP (Swill Radio)
Darren Harris and Graham Lambkin - The Body's Unbruised - Recorded
Poughkeepsie, NY 2001 (unreleased)
Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet - Listen, The Snow is Falling - The
Breadwinner CD (Erstwhile Record)
Graham Lambkin - 20:40 (excerpt) - Softly, Softly, Copy, Copy CD (Kye)

Where do Women Work? (poem)
Clap if you can Hear me (poem)
Feeling the Colonel's Rage (poem)
Cradle and Birth (poem)
Dumb Answer To Miracles (poem)

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