Graham Lambkin – Aphorisms 2CD
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” —Pascal
Graham Lambkin (of Shadow Ring fame) returns with a long awaited epic double LP, Aphorisms, his first major solo outing since Community (Kye, 2016). 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<span class=”bcTruncateMore”> home.”</span>
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.