Moniek Darge - "Turning Wheel" (Soundies (Selected Works 1980-2001))
Graham Lambkin’s early recordings with urban folk anomalies The Shadow Ring sound nothing like his recent musique concrète, both under his own name and with Jason Lescalleet. But the two phases of his career in rock find common ground in their distillation of mystery from such mind-numbingly prosaic sources as take-out seafood, kitchen cutlery, quarters in bad need of repair, and records checked out of the library.
Soundies, the first non-Lambkin release on his Kye imprint, draws attention to a fellow traveler and possible influence. It collects seven pieces recorded over a span of 21 years by Belgian polymath Moniek Darge, some of which sound rather like Lambkin’s more recent work on The Breadwinner and Salmon Run. On “Caete,” recordings of chirping birds, buzzing insects, and flowing water coexist with rustles of possible domestic activity. Scraping noise and live musicians performing imprecise approximations of good-for-you classical music share space on “Stormfugle.”
Like Lambkin, Darge isn’t just making music, but using music as part of a larger library of sounds. But her work is much more performative and, on occasion, dramatic. Small chimes over a drone focus your attention on “Sand,” lulling you into a trance that gets rudely shattered by a sonic sneak attack in the piece’s last minute, and the weave of voices over distant traffic and birds on “Verbondenheid” foregrounds a sense of ceremony.
While Lambkin’s music seems to be reducing the world in which he lives to absurdity and finding meaning behind it, the alternation of masculine English and feminine Japanese voices on “Turning Wheel” seems to both reckon with a larger realm and embrace its contrasts and contradictions.