- Graham Lambkin
- Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet - Photographs (lossless)
Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet - Photographs (lossless)
Lossless AIFF (16bit/44.1kHz)
The third collaboration album of Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet on Erstwhile, following their two past duo releases 'The Breadwinner' and 'Air Supply.
For CD format, go to this page.
1. Loss 08:00
14. Kingdom 3 (Submerge) 04:44
1. Loss (8:00)
2. Quested To Saint Hilda (4:00)
3. CT20 1PS/Rinsing Through The Shingles (9:00)
4. Danger Of Death (6:06)
5. Little Glass Of Sherry (Little Glass Of Wine) (6:00)
6. Hotdog Harris or the Road of Remembrance (7:00)
7. Back Again (2:13)
8. If Truth Be Told (7:00)
1. If All Goes Well (10:01)
2. Gold Interior (7:07)
3. The System (3:16)
4. Kingdom 1 (Knobs) (2:22)
5. Kingdom 2 (Laughing) (3:33)
6. Kingdom 3 (Submerge) (4:44)
7. Street Hassle (3:11)
8. Street Cleaner (12:00)
(released September 27, 2013)
Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet stand side by side in the vanguard of contemporary sound exploration. Since the initiation of their collaborative endeavors in 2006, the duo have crafted a nice combination of audio vérité and musique concrète, together building a highly personal body of work. 2008's critically acclaimed 'The Breadwinner' illuminated the artistic potential found in mundane and commonplace circumstances. 2010's 'Air Supply' showcased a darker side, nudging the civilian themes of its predecessor into fields of pure abstraction.
'Photographs' brings Lambkin and Lescalleet back again to the questions of self and place. 'Photographs' presents a monolithic reappraisal of heritage, both individual and shared, and reevaluates the geographic and societal influence inherent in formative memory. Recorded in Folkestone, England and Worcester, Massachusetts, 'Photographs' invites the listener to journey through Lambkin and Lescalleet's historical registry, places of birth, childhood haunts, locations of enlightenment and kingdoms of despair. 'Photographs' welcomes the listener into the houses and homes of Lambkin and Lescalleet's upbringing. It's a meet and greet with family and friends, a traipse through ever-changing street scenes, and a document of a fading static past. But 'Photographs' is not just a memorial to a time long since spent. Lambkin and Lescalleet take you there and back in celebration of their ancestry, breathing new life into each chapter and event. As a survey of origin and a major artistic statement, 'Photographs' proves itself to be a worthwhile investment, and one that brings Lambkin and Lescalleet's collaboration full circle. The beginning now knows its end, the final part has fallen into place, a plan has worked well and everything is perfect.
Housed in a deluxe UV-varnished 12-panel fold-out digipak, boasting copious site-specific pictorial data, 'Photographs' sets the new gold standard for CD design presentation, and provides the music with lavish adornment. Mastered by Jason Lescalleet at Glistening Labs with a running time of over 95 minutes, 'Photographs' is an audio/visual treasure trove whose richness and detail will give pleasure enough to last a lifetime.
Bill Meyer, Dusted
The old saw that you can’t go home again is contradicted daily by a million mundane returns to old haunts. Provided both you and it are upright, and that no one has melted down a nuclear plant core or dumped some chemicals into the water supply nearby, all it takes is a drive to at least get you to the front door.
What the phrase really means, I suppose, is that the past can’t be regained because even if you sleep in your old bed after chowing down on your favorite childhood meal, you aren’t the same. However your perspective has changed, however the decades of sun have faded the carpet, that’s how much your home has disappeared.
This is the story told by Photographs, a double-disc of journalistic musique concrète that follows two previous efforts made by Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet out of the sounds of their households. This time each has taken the other to the town where he grew up. In each town (Folkestone, UK, and Worcester, Mass., respectively), they secured interviews with family members, documented chance encounters with local characters and natural phenomena, and made recordings of new cars and old haunts. These generally unremarkable components were then recorded, slowed down and equalized into utter uniqueness.
“Loss,” the first track on the first disc, sets the tone. Distant seagulls and crowd noises are juxtaposed with the hiss and whine of tape. Then Lambkin’s sped-up voice starts musing about the identified theme. As Lambkin lives in Poughkeepsie, NY, now, loss is part of his everyday life; everything he sees every day is freighted with difference from the things he grew up with in another country. If he goes back there, things will have changed in ways that he will see much more than those who live there.
This is, of course, merely a mild amplification of what happens to anyone who moves away and tries to go back, but mundanity is the essential stuff of Lambkin and Lescalleet’s work. They render the ordinary different by working in other ordinary elements. For example, human voices bob in and out of the seagulls’ chorus; if you listen enough, you’ll hear that it isn’t just them anymore. And then, just to be sure that you’re clear that the two men have put their fingerprints on the material, they present the thump of a tape being turned off, and later an extended reverie extracted entirely from tape hiss.
Tools identified, they set off on their twin voyages in search of places that they can find but can’t quite get to because they’ve changed. “The town is growing by leaps and bounds,” says a woman’s voice on the second disc’s opener, “If All Goes Well.” Then she serves up some chicken and vegetable soup, which the two men gratefully accept. For a moment the noises of present-day life crowd out the past, but then small fragments of that soundscape are isolated and filtered, abstracted like any memory that turns up in anyone’s art. The things you left behind are changed, by time and by memory and by carefully adjusting the tape speed.
By the time you get to “Street Cleaner,” the final track, process has overtaken mission. We’re no longer listening to the recognizable manifestations of person or place, but getting carried away by the elongation of metallic clanks into twisting ribbons of sound. The past may be hard to grasp, but there’s always the present, another moment that’ll seem different if you try to return to it. The same could be said for this record. No matter how many times one plays it, it never quite coheres into a fixed thing. It’s a collection of impressions, sounds and evoked emotions, simultaneously extraordinary and mundane.
Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
The three albums recorded by Lambkin/Lescalleet were always intended as a kind of trilogy--"The Breadwinner", "Air Supply" and now, "Photographs". Were they to do another, Erstwhile could always capitalize on the classic New York TImes faux pas when a new work of Asimov was advertised as "The fourth volume in the Foundation Trilogy". Barring that, we have these works that insist on being connected though the tendrils and sinews doing so are obscure. I'm given to understand that many such interweavings exist but, puzzle geek though I am, I can only discern a few superficial ones. Each disc contains eight tracks and there's some titular correspondence between the cut names on discs 1 & 3 and 2 & 4 (3 and 4 being the new ones; you'll notice that they're so referred to on the CDs themselves). The third tracks on "The Breadwinner" and the first of the "Photographs" discs each begin with a letter/number combination, E5150 and CT20 1PS. Some routine googling reveals that E5150 is a Black Sabbath composition (who knew?) while the other are the postal coordinates of Lambkin's home town of Folkestone, England. Significance? I've no idea. The seventh track is called "There and Back Again" firstly, "Back Again", most recently. If there are other enigmatic nuggets, I can't find 'em. Similarly, "Air Supply" has three adjacent tracks, "69°F", "68°F" and "67°F" and the second "Photographs" disc contains three cuts sharing self-similar titles in the same slots, each with "Kingdom" preceding the remainder of the title. The earlier disc concludes with "Air Pressure" and "Air Supply", the latter with "Street Hassle" and "Street Cleaner". The first album's cover design overtly referred to Robert Ashley's "Private Parts", the second to a Fripp/Eno bootleg, "Air Structures". This one? No notion on my part, though there's a Jody Whatley recording by the same name... I'm doubtless missing much else, particularly if the "clues" are embedded in the music, but so it goes. I'm not sure if any of this adds appreciably to one's enjoyment of the works, but there it is. More interesting to me is the way the recordings capture a personal relationship between the pair, overtly referred to in the superimposition of their faces on the interior of "The Breadwinner", but quite explicit throughout, including the photos in the release at hand, which, for all their physical disparity (apart from their basic size: large) infer a twin aspect.
Disc Three appears to have been largely recorded in or near Lambkin's home town. It begins with the local fellow's ruminations on loss, including the death of grandparents and ends with comments about a 50₤ cast iron skillet: "yeah, they last a lifetime". Unlike the previous two releases, where I think the only vocalization was a brief snatch having to do with VHS tapes, this one is replete with scenes from daily life, a recorder apparently left running routinely, many of the discussions occurring in the vicinity of food. The sounds not from field recordings (processed or otherwise) tend towards the ambient/electronic, though I suppose it's possible the whole shebang is constructed from "natural" sounds. That there's a huge amount of construction is clear from the start, Lambkin's voice (either slightly slowed down or the result of an old cassette recorder, one gathers) is led into by a short, ringing, electronic crescendo, almost like a camera zoom; there's an almost songlike structure in play. There are Ferrari-esque, distant engine flutters, liquified animal calls (?), microphone buffeting, background hiss implying an open mic in very quiet circumstance, dozens of other elements, all imparting an implicit sense of narrative, disjointed though it is. A priest thanking a congregation for the transport of a statue of Our Lady of Padua segues into trite church organ and echoing choir--Lambkin's childhood house or worship?--dissolving into a molasses of altered pitch, quite moving and dreamy/nightmarish. That resonant hum, a little like the ending minutes of "I Am Sitting in a Room", is picked up at the beginning of the following track, allowed to throb, eventually morphing into a mildly poppy, bubbling swath of electronica, redolent of post-Riley rock bands (for all I know, taken directly from some like source), before a double-tracked female voice recites a list of seemingly unrelated words. A series of sounds like solarized waves, only certain frequencies audible, the rest masked, plays against ultrahigh sineage, reverberant scrapes, suddenly intruded upon by conversation about tea, then confusion about what day it is, a clock ticking. So it goes, much more conversation, casual and humorous...I have to say, not only does everything sound great, no matter how banal the source, but the overall flow is fantastic, richly cinematic even in Super 8. It's also very much in the mode of Lambkin's self-released work of the last few years; the choices made are similarly, though inexplicably excellent. Why and how material like this works so well is a great mystery...
The final disc was recorded in Boylston and Worcester, Massachusetts, I take it either where Lescalleet was raised and/or where his mother (guessing) now lives. I'm not at all sure if each musician was given a bit more weight with regard to the material recorded on his home turf or if it's just a listening bias on my part, but this disc seems to carry a little more Lescalleetian feel, the other more Lambkinesque. Probably in my head. Beginning with soup, concluding with a stated dislike of plum pudding... The first track, following the table chatter, contains some exquisite, near-quiet work, faint hollow bangs and thumps, like distant Partchian cloud-chamber bowls, really wonderful. It gradually blossoms into kitchen sounds, which it likely was all the time, and back into conversation. As in the companion disc, there are references to a church (its bells, its visage) and the track melts into a quasi-similar, blurred kind of pulsing dronage, quite striking. Some of the more intense moments (volume-wise) ensue, howling and screeching, before giving way momentarily to the pair nattering about, soon eclipsed by odd, pitched hums, as though distilled and then dirtied from an organ. Again, a fantastic sequence. This source continues across three tracks, the ones with "Kingdom" in their title, so presumably there's a connection. Those bell-like pots and pans (or whatever they were) recur in the closing track, melting into a thick, rising hum, very slowly winding down before surprisingly (as if anything should be surprising here) transmuting into a kind of processional, chorus and percussion, something I get the feeling I should know (Orff?), looped, iterated for several minutes, dissolving and then lurching back into the kitchen, Lambkin asking, "Jason, were you a fan of the plum pudding?", Lescalleet responding, "No." Cut to silence.
I'm not sure there's anything out there that moves like this; the combination of casualness and discreet organization is wonderful to experience. And, as said, it simply flows beautifully. Something about that nexus of sound and meaning hits the mark time and time again though I can't figure out why. Great work, even if I'm missing most of the puzzle pieces.