Our Daily Bread 455: A Journey Of Giraffes ‘Spool’

July 9, 2021

ALBUM REVIEWS/Dominic Valvona

A Journey Of Giraffes ‘Spool’
(Somewherecold Records) 9th July 2021

The criminally unknown John Lane – in obscurity parading under the delightfully envisioned A Journey Of Giraffes appellation – transduces abstract and complex concepts into ambient soundtracks of the mysterious, diaphanous and often strange.

Five albums in with the ridiculously prolific North American label, Somewherecold Records, Lane once more explores and expands his sound; changing and modifying his deep understanding of the ambient genre on every release. And as with each project, the unassuming artist is inspired by a chosen theme: perhaps a work of art, a location or a book (see both the Armenia and Kona albums for example).

The latest album, Spool, is no different in that respect, being subtly, almost amorphously imbued by the late WG Sebald’s acclaimed trilogy of cerebral travelogues: The Rings Of Saturn, The Emigrant and Vertigo. Lane taps into the author’s preoccupied themes of the ‘loss of memory’ and ‘decay of civilizations, traditions and physical objects’.

Spool is bookended in this respect by two fairly low key New Jersey boroughs only ever observed by Lane from a car window; fleetingly glanced at as turnings on signposts whilst driving up and down the ‘turnpike’. Yet both locations have led Lane’s imagination cogs to start turning, as he daydreams about the lives of those who’ve made those small towns their home. ‘Swedesboro’, as the name makes pretty clear, was founded by Swedish immigrants over three hundred years ago, and is known for its fine balance of ‘urban forestry’ (thank you Wikipedia). Here, that inconspicuous enclave is soundtracked by suffused fuzz, ascending elevators, lingering electric piano notes and indistinct workshop sounds: like a Twin Peaks sawmill. ‘Glassboro’ meanwhile, built on an early history of glass making, gets an almost ghostly, etched and translucent score – there’s also a constant communicative knock like sound that could be someone stuck in a tank.

The album’s other geographical reference points are the beautiful Japanese woodblock printed artwork scene ‘Slope At Senko’ and ‘Campfire On Gibraltar’. Kawase Hasus’ original enervated snow blizzard picture is rendered a suitable evocative flutter that sounds like someone changing channels on a static fuzzy snowy TV set on the first of those tracks, whilst the second is a near hymnal cooed embrace of the elements, set around that title’s crackling flame licked campfire side.

Elsewhere the album embodies the idea of the traveller, who can never settle, yet soaks up the psychogeography, depth and atmosphere of each place they visit. Lane does this with compositions that stir the merest traces of the Japanese school of ambient electronica and electric piano notes that wouldn’t sound out of place on both Roedelius and Thomas Dinger’s solo works.

Lane’s Spool is yet another layer, another explorative page on a log journey that I hope leads to greater recognition. Composing in relative isolation, releasing unheralded works of brilliance, he damn well deserves it.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

One Response to “Our Daily Bread 455: A Journey Of Giraffes ‘Spool’”

  1. […] Out today – Spool by A Journey of Giraffes > another incredible ambient soundtrack experience; amorphously imbued as it is by the late WG Sebald (Monolith Cocktail) […]

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