Last year, Paul Dickow released what was by far the best album to date under his moniker of Strategy. Future Rock was a stunning collection of music that blurred lines between kraut rock, funk, dub, space rock, and ambient music in a way that truly fit the somewhat lofty (intentional or not) title. Music For Lamping is the newest release from Strategy, and it's not really a typical follow-up in many ways.
First off, it's more of a compilation of sorts, as it collects six long tracks that were created over the course of the past six years. Eschewing rhythm almost completely, it's a spaced-out release that drifts through breathy passages of filtered sound, blurring the landscape without a single beat and only very slight hints of a pulse at all. Created with highly-processed snippets of everything from field recordings of walking around to snippets of other records, Music For Lamping retains a cohesive feel because of forces being applied to the sound itself.
"I Can't Stand the Rain" opens the release and as suggested by the title, watery filtering and warm resonance distorts and colors everything from the jangling of keys to rain falling and even spoken words as soft sweeps shimmer through and refract off the surface once in awhile. "Cathedral Spark" is even prettier, with quiet, stuttering samples of what sounds like vocal samples blended in over crackling artifacts and lower drones.
Although all the pieces on Music For Lamping are completely chilled-out, it's not as if they're completely uniform in sound. "All Day..." takes on sort of reflective, soothing Eno-on-ambient retro feel that's quite lovely, while "World Service" sounds like vocodered spoken words flushed even further down the ambient landscape as hardly anything other than rounded corners of plosives and sibilants form a submerged, liquid ambient track that sounds like a conversation overheard in a fever dream that you can't quite make out. In the end, Music For Lamping obviously isn't as musically compelling as the last work from the group, but it does show off some unique sound sculptures while at the same time providing a glimpse at the building-blocks for his more developed work.