Thursday, February 8, 2018


Nice picture, eh? Sort of a Phillip K. Dick-ian vibe, which in turn leads me on to discover that Electric Sheep is the name of a company that makes the fractal variations many computers have as their screen savers. Go take a look, it is fascinating. If nothing either to do with the picture. Or indeed the song. (And had you known or remembered that Bladerunner, the film, recently reprised as Bladerunner 2049, was based on the book in the link? Any excuse to have a bit of Vangelis.....)

OK, to business. Lamb. Lamb are a longstanding UK band of some 20+ years standing, with a blend of electronic styles leavened by the organic vocals of the singing, the mix of the pastoral with the pulsatile. An on-off existence has seen the duo, Andrew Barlow and Lou Rhodes, electronics and vocals respectively, break up innumerable times, always then seeming to find the incentive, or funds, to rise again like a phoenix. The last such 'final' performance, for they also tour and perform live, was towards the end of last year. I missed the London dates, but don't feel the chance gone forever. Plus, a bonus for me, as an out of the closet and unashamed folkie, as it allows Rhodes to pick up her solo career in the downtime, being more reflective of her upbringing in the world of folk clubs, the daughter of singer Annie Burton. Below is an example of her solo oeuvre, from 2006's solo debut, 'Beloved One'.

'Alien' is from the 2nd Lamb album, their highest charting release thus far, in 1999, hitting the lofty UK peak of 37. It captures the amalgam of drum and bass rhythmic with a more trip-hop dynamic overlying, perhaps why they have tended to blend more with the Bristol scene of Massive Attack and Portishead than of other Manchester bands, from where they hail. Probably the best known song by Lamb is below, 'Gorecki', a paean and tribute to the 20th century Polish composer, which samples his 3rd Symphony, perhaps helping to usher in the expanding respect for his work, especially within the neo-classical movement, enriched and fed by modern electronic composers such as Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds and Colin Stetson. (It seems almost facile to try and explain the wonder of Gorecki, the man and the composer, in a piece such as this. Forgive this feeble mention and explore elsewhere.)

Finally, with no apology, a brief redux of my opening para and 'Bladerunner', with it's memorable Vangelis soundtrack. The 2049 version has just as memorable and incisive a soundtrack, largely via Hans Zimmer, orchestrated by Benjamin Wallfisch, if that is the correct phrase. Here is an excerpt, the links between Vangelis, Zimmer and Lamb being all too apparent.

Alien is here, but there is so much more.....

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