Lamb Alley is a solo album released in November 2017 by Tombed Visions Records.
An experienced sound designer and composer working in film, Jeff T Byrd’s first full length album ‘Lamb Alley’ shows an abundance of skill, clarity and nuance befitting his cinematic credentials and a new kind of deeply emotive ambient music. The record acts as a kind of audio autobiography of his space and new environs in Lammgasse, Vienna, where everything from the neighbours’ infant crying, the creak of a piano stool and the thrum of an ending washing machine cycle are repurposed into Byrd’s audio language. There is a forensic level of detail in these recordings, with each track acting like a diary entry chronicling Byrd’s experience of Lammgasse and his inquisitive investigation into the diegetic sounds that hum in his apartment. Whether splicing these audio events into skeletal rhythmic structures or slowly revealing their clarity through modulation, Jeff has been keenly sensitive in intermingling these sonics with sumptuous and liminal melodic themes that ruminate in the ear, flowering throughout the album with the subtle graciousness of an art film score.
For all its surface beauty and intrigue though, there’s a deeper story behind Lamb Alley, as the story of a musician from New Orleans uprooting his life and shifting to the Austrian capital, coming to terms with a new alien surrounding of voices heard through ancient walls during long grey winters. (I live in the same city, so very much appreciate how well its mood is captured here.) It’s a magnificent portrait of the experience of relocating oneself, and the dizziness and surprise round every corner. Nervousness and wonder creep in, and you can find yourself in a state where even the creak of a floorboard or echo of a distant door can seem imbued with mystery. Jeff T Byrd’s portrait of his life in Vienna is a surreal one, synthesizing together myriad tropes from ambient music, horror movie film scores, musique concrète, noise, theatre, and even the dreaded ‘neo-classical’ genre in the process. It’s a stunningly well-crafted journey around not only the innards of the flat on Lammgasse, but into the artist’s subconscious.