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In the Red Records will proudly present the U.S. edition of Rantings from the Book of Swamp, the freewheeling eighth studio release by Australia’s magnificent and unpredictable Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, as a two-LP.
The Surrealists were formed by the Scientists’ singer-songwriter-guitarist Kim Salmon in 1987, betwixt the last two tours by the original incarnation of that pathfinding Perth-bred band. The Surrealists had been dormant in recent years, as the bandleader focused his energy on recording and touring with a reunited lineup of the Scientists featuring guitarist Tony Thewlis, bassist Boris Sujdovic, and drummer Leanne Cowie, who had recorded the career-summarizing 1986 LP Weird Love. (In 2021, In the Red issued Negativity, a new album by that unit, to wide acclaim.)
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown settled around the globeSalmon reconvened with bassist/baritone guitarist Stu Thomas and drummer Phil Collings, who had appeared on the Surrealists’ 2010 release Grand Unifying Theory, the group’s most recent record. As with that work, the new material was created live on the studio floor, and emphasized improvisation in both its structure and content.
“The premise for this recording,” Salmon explains, “was that at its commencement the band members would come prepared with no other material than whatever ideas they might be able to individually bring. The lyrical content was all derived from my notebooks (Book of Swamp) from sketches I’d been jotting down over the last couple of years. There was to be no consultation about musical forms until the event began. Once the event began, the band had carte blanche to do whatever necessary to salvage compelling performances over the two live events @ 7PM AEST 6/13/20 + 6/14/20 respectively…….i.e., we had to make it up from scratch!”
Captured at Rolling Stock Recording Rooms in Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, by Myles Mumford, the music heard on Rantings from the Book of Swamp was originally presented as a pair of live streams directed by Andrew Watson at Semiconductor Media. The resultant album comprises 13 brain-bending tracks characterized by Salmon’s percolating lyrical imagination and the raw, unfettered interplay of the three seasoned musical collaborators.
After the world began to emerge from the pandemic lockdown in 2022, the Surrealists hit Australian stages on the double-barreled “You Gotta Let Me Swamp My Rantings” tour, which featured two different lineups performing two albums in toto: the Rantings from the Book of Swamp trio, and the threesome of Salmon, Thomas, and drummer Greg Bainbridge, who played the material from You Gotta Let Me Do My Thing, the 1997 Surrealists album they cut together.
Offbeat, off the street, off the map, and off the wall, Rantings from the Books of Swamp serves as a potent reminder that Kim Salmon and the Surrealists remain a puissant force in boundary-pushing rock music.
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