Graham Lambkin / Michael Pisaro Schwarze Riesenfalter
Published Feb 14, 2015Schwarze Riesenfalter is an album that is folded in upon itself. Both the musical content and the track lengths of this fantastically confounding disc are mirrors of each other, with two short yet highly dramatic piano pieces bookending the proceedings, nestled up against a pair of lengthy field recording-heavy compositions. These four tracks sandwich the album's drone-based centrepiece, the lovely "Ein eisiger Wind."
As conceptually heavy and full of emotional depth as this collection of music is — the music is accompanied by a short poem that was allegedly set to the songs afterwards — there are elements of humour dotting the soundscape. Graham Lambkin is a former member of the Shadow Ring, a group that turned post-punk on its head and chuckled at it with a dry English wit. His is an oeuvre that doesn't differentiate between musical and non-musical sound; frequently working in the duo format — his trilogy of albums with Jason Lescalleet is particularly noteworthy — he finds joy in the mundane, often recording random events around his own house for use in future projects. Michael Pisaro, on the other hand, is a member of the notoriously quiet Wandelweiser Group, a collective of composers and performers that seek to integrate the notion of silence and sparseness into their work.
It's tempting to point to the light-hearted moments of Schwarze Riesenfalter and immediately think of Lambkin (the buzzing cellphone, the almost drone-like drawn-out voice passages) and similarly attribute the musical piano lines to Pisaro. The reality is most likely not even close to such a conclusion, as the separation between the two contributors is lost in the wake of a happy synergy. It's of no consequence, really, as the music itself obliterates the need to single out the individual personalities. Two men worked as one and unleashed a beast of an album for people to enjoy; enough said. (Erstwhile)