Salamanda: Ashbalkum LP
Human Pitch is proud to welcome Salamanda to the label for the release of their 3rd LP, ashbalkum––a portal into unseen worlds, enchanting stasis and laughter in the face of our evolving realities. Across an effervescent 39-minute runtime, ashbalkum provides a spellbinding view into how we interact with the world around us––one where one’s own being, language, & nature itself are all rendered infinitely mutable. Written during the surrealist landscape of summer 2021 somewhere between a sweet dream & a beautiful nightmare, ashbalkum accesses a playful tranquility that mirrors our tumultuous present––distantly intimate, static & constantly changing, moving while standing still, all the while narrowly evading the pressures of our pre-apocalyptic world looming just overhead. Through their collaborative energy steeped in joy, friendship, & experimentation, Salamanda transports us towards even further surreality, taking their sound to wholly new frontiers, all the while aiming to just have fun creating together & living presently. Tonalities and intonations between ourselves and the natural world are weaved into an immersive cocoon of harmonious tones, brimming with vibrant geometries as they gleefully transform into kaleidoscopic shades of motion. Here, the duo’s shared love for the world building of film scores, the club's radiant multiplicities, & the bold statements of minimalist composition are all playfully reconstructed into their unique & alluring musical vision. The voice is abstracted into the original instrument, alternating between soothing breathwork, layered choruses, & shards of hypnagogic pop before dissipating back into a swell of gaseous vapor. Each piece contains a percussive arrangement unique to its message––glimpses of vivacious reggaeton snares, the tectonic resonance of dembow rhythm and dub’s expansive perception of timelessness and spatial awareness. A streak of playfulness strikes through the duo’s diagonal rhythmic dexterity, maintaining a confident balance between irreverent composition & serpentine drum-work without sacrificing an ounce of danceability. It’s easy to picture any of these tracks maneuvering their way onto a tender dancefloor, or affectionately soundtracking the interlocking cadences of a conversation between loved ones. ashbalkum’s namesake stems from symbolic & phonetic reinterpretation––specifically, a Korean phrase for the realization that what you’ve been experiencing as “reality” is actually a dream. The transmutation of this humorous existentialism into new meaning forms the core of ashbalkum: blissfully maneuvering through life, basking in irreverent states of lucidity and attuning all frequencies to fellow dreamers within the dream. Do dreams always reflect what we think? Is what we feel within dreams real? Ultimately, Salamanda don’t seek to answer these questions, so much as revel in the delightful liminality of it all.