We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, despite all the challenges posed by the global pandemic, the New York based curatorial platform, publisher, and record label, Blank Forms, has had a pretty incredible last year. Not only have they brought forth releases by Catherine Christer Hennix, Still House Plants, Exotic Sin, Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit, and Judith Hamann, they dropped incredible publications by Maryanne Amacher and Thulani Davis. Now they’re back with one of their most ambitious releases to date, Solos, a deluxe box set comprising Graham Lambkin's first four solo records - Poem (For Voice & Tape), Salmon Run, Softly Softly Copy Copy and Amateur Doubles - as well as an expansive book featuring essays and unseen photos. Not only - like all things crafted by Blank Forms - is it a beautiful object, but it presents a rare opportunity to dive into the long out of print early solo efforts of one of the most influential figures working at the margins of experimental practice today.
Graham Lambkin first emerged during the early '90s as member of The Shadow Ring, a project that he co-founded with Darren Harris, while they were all still in their teens. Expanded by joining of Tim Goss a few years later, the band occupied a distinct place at the margins of the English experimental scene - inheriting and making anew the incongruous territories opened by seminal projects Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Current 93, and Psychic TV - via the sculpting of haunting aural landscapes that bridged DIY and noise aesthetics with radical notions of spoken word and sonic organisation. Part of a sprawling global network of artists loosely gathered around the Siltbreeze imprint - The Dead C, Alastair Galbraith, Gate, Charalambides, Harry Pussy, Alan Licht, The Tower Recordings, Hall of Fame, etc - they’ve left an indelible mark on the creative landscape ever since.
During the twilight years of The Shadow Ring and roughly aligned with a new millennium, having relocated to Poughkeepsie, NY, Lambkin increasingly began to venture out on his own as a solo artist, using his newly founded imprint, KYE, as a vehicle. Blank Forms’ Solos covers the most essential of these gestures during the first decade of this work. Poem (For Voice & Tape) from 2001, Salmon Run from 2004, Softly Softly Copy Copy from 2009, and Amateur Doubles from 2011, mark a distinct period of creative production and sit within a practice that encounters Lambkin better defined as a sound organizer, rather than music maker, investigating everyday objects and situations as a means to transform the mundane into expressive sound art using tape manipulation techniques, chance operations, and the thick ambience of domestic field recordings.
Created through an ingenious economy of means, each record presents a freestanding world, bridging the internal and meditative with the harsh and outwardly expressive, culminating as something as beguilingly seductive as it is uncanny as it breathes new life into the idiom of musique concrète and sound poetry.
In a remarkable achievement, Solos brings four of Lambkin’s most important creative gestures back into print in a newly remastered form, while issuing Salmon Run and Softly Softly Copy Copy available on vinyl for the first time, and accompanying them with an expansive 42-page book featuring unseen photos and reproductions of artworks as well as essays and anecdotal recollections providing fresh insight and divulging hermetic secrets by Ed Atkins, Mark Harwood, Matt Krefting, Lawrence Kumpf, Samara Lubelski, and Adrian Rew. Like everything Blank Forms does, it’s a beautiful object and absolutely essential on every count!