Alan LambArchival Recordings: Primal Image / Beauty

Label:Dorobo – DOROBO 008
CD, Album
Genre:Electronic, Non-Music
Style:Dark Ambient, Experimental, Field Recording


1Primal Image29:33

Companies, etc.



"Alan Lamb Archival Recordings".
Text on cover spines: Drahtleitung

These tracks were constructed in 1988 ("Primal Image") and 1986 ("Beauty") as a series of segments averaging several minutes each, with transitional overdubs at the seams, and with heavy use of EQ for harmonic balance and noise reduction. About 20 hours of source material was recorded using contact microphones on telephone wires over a cumulative period of 10 days in November 1981 ("Primal Image") and April 1983 ("Beauty").

Recorded and edited by Alan Lamb: 1981 - 1988.
With the exception of slight equalisation, no additional processing was used during these sessions.
Mastered from the original analog tapes.

Dorobo © + ℗ 1995
Time : 46'27"
1981 - 1988


Packaged in a jewel case with clear tray and 4-page booklet.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Mirrored): MADE BY DISCTRONICS B ** DOROBO008 ** #01



  • incuswetrust's avatar
    M' learned colleague mjb summed up this whole album very nicely. And the introduction stirs memories in me too, as in the early 1980's my friend introduced me a similar phaser-gun sounding structure: a girder of steel spanning the local river. Straddle it, bang your heels at either side and a metallic pulse from star wars was your reward. Wicked!
    Only years later did i learn that is was an electronic cable that could have fried us both.
    This album, as mjb said, has those sounds, those pulses, presumably from electrical activity in the local atmosphere stirring the wires. For this is wire music, recorded by Alan Lamb, a neurosurgeon originally from Scotland, who recorded the spontaneous 'singing' of wires from a broken down section of telegraph poles on his land over a period, then overlaid the tracks to create dramatic compositions, using the voice of the wires alone.
    Unsettling, creepy, then terrifying and then awe-inspiring. This is not a raw field recording, but an exhilarating exercise in how to create scrumptious sound by a simple and unnoticed source.
    Still a record, along with Eliane Radigue's 'Adnos' that i'd like to be buried with. Figuratively and literally.
    • mjb's avatar
      Edited 10 years ago
      When I was a kid, I read an interview in which Ben Burtt mentioned striking steel cables, like the kind that keep utility poles from falling over, to get some of the blaster sounds in Star Wars. Naturally, I immediately went out to the nearest one I could find and duplicated the sound, much to my amusement. It didn't occur to me to put my ear right on the cable, and I didn't have access to the miles-long overhead lines, but if I had, now I know what it would've sounded like: this album.

      Cold, metallic, droning resonances build and fade away with immense cascading reverberations as the wind blows across the lines, and different kinds of "blaster" sounds are heard as birds land and depart. The title track is more dissonant and menacing, while "Beauty" is more tonal and dreamlike. Both tracks have a naturalness to them, in their randomness, even though the timbres are very obviously not from nature.

      This is one of very few ambient albums that I can't stand to have interrupted. I don't have to hear it all the way through, but if I listen to more than a few seconds, I end up just letting it play.


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