by Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera
Brian McWilliams and John Phipps have been working together for almost a decade, and have put out this ep as a prelude to a new album A Strange Constellation of Events. When Brian emailed me he said it was 'decked out in artsy packaging' and he is right. A tracing paper band encloses the brown card sleeve, which has a soft printing of reeds in water that looks like pencil strokes; two panels open up, details printed on one, to an essay on Lamkhyer, with the cd in a sleeve which has been folded down over the middle panel with a Tibetan mandala - the website has images which are probably more fulfilling than my poor description, either way it is a very attractive package designed by Phipps using a photo by McWilliams.
The music is appropriately delightful. 'Lamkhyer' opens with soft deep pulses of sound with light clattering that grows into a slow ambience - deep tones well, a high tone melody wanders over with a gentle percussion and water sounds. A beat enters and provides a restrained push as it moves nicely to a slow fade. It suggests the album will contain some well constructed tribal/ambience.
With 'K'an (the abyss)' a third member enters - EM who is the Experimental Method, applying some random events. There are animal sounds and lovely deep building tones and crackles and percussive bells - the random aspects is not overt, but seems to be in the appearance of some of the highlights. 'The Leftward Path' gradually emerges with a high tonal wash and a rolling beat that is relaxed and moving.
A tempting taste of [ a ] future release, the non-album half of this, together with its lovely presentation, makes this a very appealing object.