Alan Lamb

Unique, eerie and strangely affecting, Australian composer Alan Lamb released a series of soundscape albums in the 1990's which centred around the droning sound of wind resonating with telegraph wires in Australia's desolate outback.

artist:
Alan Lamb

country of origin:
Australia

style(s):
Ambient, environmental, soundscape

decades active:
80's - 00's

essential releases:

  • Sky Song [with Sarah Hopkins](1989, Vox Australis)
  • Primal Image (1995, Dorobo)
  • Night Passage (1998, Dorobo)

Reviewed by Mike G

Unique, eerie and strangely affecting, Australian composer Alan Lamb released a series of soundscape albums in the 1990's which centred around the droning sound of wind resonating with telegraph wires in Australia's desolate outback. He recorded the wires responding randomly to the prevailing winds, calling these giant structures his "Faraway Wind Organ". As his album titles suggest, the resulting sounds can be as gentle and sweet as a Gregorian chant or as harsh as sustained bursts of radio static.

Primal Image (1995) is the most "pure" of his albums, in so much is it contains the sound of wires only. The earlier Sky Song (1989) features cello from collaborator Sarah Hopkins and some buzzing "harmonic" throat singing by both of them. It's beguiling and beautiful and Sky Song remains the best introduction to Lamb's unconventional sound. His final album Night Passage (1998) features some natural wire-only pieces alongside a track performed on a large custom instrument dubbed the Spring 8 Wind Organ.

At times the deep, cosmic tone of Lamb's music sounds like abstract electronic spacemusic despite its much simpler acoustic origins. Composers who claim a spiritual source for their work are as numerous as they are suspect, but Lamb may have a point when he writes on the sleeve notes to Primal Image that "it is probably not too far fetched to suggest that wire music is an aural embodiment of some of the most fundamental dynamic laws of the universe."

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