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14 July 2013

Elklink - 'The Rise of Elklink' (Kye)

Elklink is a Graham Lambkin cassette that was reissued here with a bonus track, built entirely from tape and voice. There's a lot of whispers, creaks, and guttural sounds, but it's not so much the source material as the way the overall construction makes an insane, unique atmosphere. Which is the key to Lambkin's genius. This has usual collaborators Tim Goss and Adris Hoyos appearing in places on electronics and voice, respectively, but it's largely Lambkin's game (though Goss's very delicate intrusions make 'Paul, Linda & Minor Members' completely stunning). The two sides of the original cassette are mirror images, in terms of titles - 'Tension Tec' vs 'Utension Tec', and two tracks called 'The Spoons'.  Delicacy is the key; the first 'Spoons', at times, withers to a point that is barely perceptible. Occasionally we hear an outlier - a baby's cry, a distant telephone or the pluck of an acoustic string - but mostly it's the mouth of Lambkin generating all of the ebbs and flows here. If you like Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing but want something a bit more, well, 'rock and roll' --- then Elklink might be for you. The sonority of the tape itself, continually rolling in a loop while this serene madness bubbles around it, is the primary colour here. Sometimes things congeal into soaring, ascending streaks while lots of it lies fermenting. The bonus track, 'You', is more thickly blanketed in white (or is it pink?) noise, a childlike vocal fumble occasionally poking out. This would make a good cut to mix with the numbers stations recordings of The Conet Project which I don't doubt was some sort of influence, if anything was. This was recorded in Florida in 1999 and I strive sometimes to hear a sense of alienation of the Englishman in his new country. I'm a massive fan of Lambkin's work, from the Shadow Ring through his brilliant solo work (just wait til we get to Salmon Run, a recording that I won't be able to throw enough superlatives at) and this certainly ranks among his best releases.

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