Michael Lambright: Allumwandlung
Michael Lambright

If the name Michael Lambright isn't familiar, the name of the gypsy-esque quartet he leads, Madagsacar, probably is (Lambright also contributes to the folk group The Big Huge). The Baltimore-based accordionist steps out with a self-released debut solo collection titled Allumwandlung which not only serves as a half-hour showcase for his enjoyable playing but also a compositional style that leans heavily towards the melancholy Eastern European side of things. The accordion functions as a better solo instrument than many since it offers multi-melody and -chordal voicings plus a broad timbral range, aspects Lambright exploits to good effect in the EP's six pieces. It's an intimate recording too, in the sense that during the pauses (in “Zahorecz,” for example, which Lambright dedicates to Baltimore figure Peter Zahorecz who died in 2006 after suffering head-related trauma from a skateboarding accident) one hears the wheeze and snap of the instrument and other ambient noises. Such pauses aren't heard always, however, as the off-kilter polka “Poirot,” with its deranged, even drunken feel proves. The material ranges from the melancholy waltz “Razumov” to the meditative “Y'vonim” (based on traditional Yiddish melodies) and aggressive drone “El-ahrairah.” Fans of Dino Saluzzi's and Astor Piazzolla's works should find much to like about Allumwandlung, and note also that it can be purchased from Lambright's site but is also available as a free download under a Creative Commons license.

November 2008