Edvard Graham Lewis - All Under LP
Label: Editions Mego
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker. There were also plenty of one-off collaborations with various Swedes throughout the '90s (H-A-L-O, He Said Omala, Hox, etc.) and one hell of a great collaboration with John Duncan.
That Duncan / Lewis album immediately jumps to mind upon first listens to All Under, a compendium of soundtrack work and ephemera recorded at various times over the past 13 years. The eerily paranoiac blips of phasing shortwave radio broadcasts fire across the first two tracks of All Under, both of which are variations on work composed for a multi-channel video piece by Gunilla Leander. These electrical flurries, flecked with irradiated ash and attenuated glitches, are shaped from the droning data-streaming into mercurial melodic ambience that wouldn't be out of place on Aphex Twin's dreamtime masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II. "The Eel Wheeled" again reflects similarities to that Duncan collaborative record, with Lewis slowly reciting one of his bizarre assemblages (which also form the basis for Wire's lyrics, even those sung by Colin Newman). His Burroughs / Gibson / Dick inspired sci-fi fragmentation with his baritone voice elegantly sitting amidst his discordant collage, projecting an ominous sound of a crumbling society being sucked into its virtual self. The finale is another soundtrack piece "No Show Godot," draping wisps of arctic noise onto a soft rhythmic chatter as Lewis slowly unveils a blossoming radiant drone that terminates at the unveiling of a long-form drone-pop number for ritualized pulse, blurs of fourth-world vocal exoticism, Sub-Saharan cinematic nods, and Lewis commanding a subdued industrial mantra akin to an opiated version of Muslimgauze. Like All Over, this is brilliant.