Boomkat Product Review:
Landing light and fragrant on the mind, Seoul’s Salamanda grace NYC’s Human Pitch with an airspun follow-up to their ambient snacks for GMT and Métreon
After charming with ‘Allez!’ for Good Morning Tapes, the duo coax their rhythmelodic eastern percussions and vox into a lather of gently hiccupping structures on ‘ashbalkum’, their 3rd album to date. Echoing aspects of Korean classical music as much as Japanese environmental ambient concerns, their lissom sound is redolent of of Woo’s lilting confections and the fragility of Susuma Yokota, but packs a subtle, underlying swagger of their own where it matters, lending a fine balance of ying/yang energies that may well equalise heads in need, and suggest a purpose intended for both armchairs and ambient dancefloors.
Nimbly swaying between ambient downbeat froth and prevailing currents of dembow, Salamanda veil their slinky impulses with a gorgeous harmonic lightshow of tuned percussions and nuanced synth and vocal hues. The fantasy begins with breathy coos and aqueous, laminal textures in ‘Overdose’ that slosh into puckered, Reichian melodic phrasing on ‘Melting Hazard’, and given weight with the ruder swang of ‘Rumble Bumble’ that gives a calm but insistent momentum to the album; from its almost early Wild Bunch or DJ Krush vibes on ‘Coconut warrior’ thru the pan-slosh dembow of ‘Hard Luck Story’, to the dream motion evinced by ‘Kiddo Caterpillar’, and Susumu Yokota-like twinkle of ‘Catching Tails’.