Graham Lambkin (of Shadow Ring fame) returns with a long awaited epic double LP, Aphorisms, his first major solo outing since Community (Kye, 2016), continuing his synthetic-naturalist approach to sound-making, twisting disparate and unique elements together to create the sensation of a coherent sonic space.
Recorded mostly during the early winter months of 2022, in post-pandemic New York and post-Brexit London, Aphorisms assembles the sonic detritus of daily life into hauntingly intimate aural soundscapes. Made between Lambkin's residence in East London and Blank Forms in New York, Aphorisms superimposes the two spaces onto one another creating an imaginary stage where his musical dramas unfold. A transatlantic mediation on the rooms where Lambkin has lived and worked, Aphorisms summons up hallucinatory vistas by way of the composer's collage technique, layering field recordings, piano, guitar, percussion, vocal fragments, and repurposed elements on top of one another in double, triple, and quadruple exposures. Like the Shadow Ring's Lindus (Swill Radio, 2001)—recorded between Folkestone and Miami—Aphorisms ruminates on estrangement and displacement, catching Lambkin as he returns to London after two decades of living in the States, in his words, "leaving home to return home."
Aphorisms continues Lambkin's synthetic-naturalist approach to sound-making, twisting disparate and unique elements together to create the sensation of a coherent sonic space. At the heart of his practice is the illusion of form, whereby Lambkin combines sonic elements, documenting the moment that they coalesce into music only to disintegrate back into incidental sound. The album is centered around two pianos, one in New York and one in London, sounding together as if through the ether, creating a spectral atmosphere that Lambkin fills with melodic snippets, fragments of songs, spoken-word musings, and guttural barks or "the animal purity of voice," as he has it. The superimposition of the two spaces is maximized in the album's closing titular track, where, much like on earlier works such as Salmon Run (Kye, 2007) and Softly Softly Copy Copy (Kye, 2009) fragments of familiar melodies float through the mix as though being played from afar. Aphorisms is Lambkin at his best, extending methodologies only hinted at previously and taking his now-idiosyncratic mission statement to a new chapter. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
Graham Lambkin (born 1973 in Dover, England) is a multidisciplinary artist/publisher whose work embraces audio, visual and text-based concerns. Lambkin first came to prominence in the early 90's through the formation of his amateur music group The Shadow Ring, who fused a D.I.Y. post-punk aesthetic with folk music, cracked electronics, and surreal wordplay, to create a unique hybrid sound that set it apart from its peers, and continues to exert an influence today. After the dissolution of The Shadow Ring Lambkin embarked on a series of striking and highly original solo releases, including the critically acclaimed Salmon Run
, Amateur Doubles
, and Community
, as well as undertaking a string of collaborative projects with the likes of Joe McPhee, Keith Rowe, Moniek Darge, Jason Lescalleet, Michael Pisaro, James Rushford
, and Áine O'Dwyer.
Lambkin's visual art explores the metamorphic properties of the drawing medium in which the abstract and the figurative perpetually shape-shift across contrasting visual planes, thereby undermining the expected categories of image content. By turns somber and celebratory, Lambkin's visual idiom explores themes of environment, ecology and decay with a poetic nuance that betrays the weight of its subject matter. These works have been shown in several solo exhibitions: Came To Call Mine
(Audio Visual Arts Gallery, NYC, 2014), Marble On The Rot
(356 Mission Gallery, LA, 2015), Moon Blows Close
(Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, 2016), Mushroom Captivity
(PiK, Köln, 2019), and Time Runs Through The Darkest Hour
, NYC, 2020). Lambkin's visual art has been documented across five hardback volumes, chiefly via Penultimate Press, London.
A similar spirit of collision between the familiar and uncanny informs Lambkin's spoken word/text-based performances and publications. The prosaic facets of life yield to mordant dream-like reflections that are at once banal and bizarre. Lambkin has performed these works internationally at such venues as The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, The Kitchen, NYC, The Sibelius Museum, Turku, The ICA, London, Vassar College, NY, Café OTO, London, CALarts, CA, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, NY, Fylkingen, Stockholm, and has seen three volumes of text-based work published to date.
In 2001 Lambkin founded the Kye label, which published over 60 audio editions by such artists as Philip Corner
, Gabi Losoncy, Malcolm Goldstein, Joe McPhee and Matthew Revert, as well as significant archival collections from Anton Heyboer, Moniek Darge, Henning Christiansen
, and Lambkin's own Shadow Ring.