NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS : 15 November 1986

Zamia Lehmanni/Songs Of Byzantine Flowers (Side Effects)

When Western popular culture wears itself threadbare, it traditionally patches gaping holes in its consciousness with oriental or "primitive" cloth. From the Beatles through Japan and the Cocteau Twins, the results are usually as messy as a hippy's jeans - so rare is the occurrence of a genuine cultural interweave.
They propagate their crossfertilisations in the digital sampler, here deployed as a time machine. Seemingly programmed with a history of world musics, SPK's Graeme Revell subsequently cuts up and reshuffles the time continuum, settling down "living" and "dead" civilisations side by side. Antique industrial noises are fused with the emerging percussion musics of Africa, Bali and New Guinea. A dialogue is achieved between Northern and Southern hemisphere choirs and orchestration, awakening in the listener's genetic memory the sense that life contains within it manifestations of the ancestral, the living and the unborn
At the very least it all ads up to an ambient music of unparallelled vitality - the contradiction is intended. Where others define ambience as dust particles hovering in air, SPK pluck from it ghost voices of the past and percolate them through the rootless, shifting present.
SPK once predicted a forbidding new dark age. With this record they signal the coming dawn.

Biba Kopf

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