Label: Wisdom Teeth
Availability: In stock
Seoul duo Salamanda arrive on Wisdom Teeth with their latest and most focused LP yet: In Parallel — a vividly textural and immersive record that brings a new level of clarity to their typically psychedelic, expansive approach. Since arriving in 2019, the pair — comprised of friends Uman Therma (aka Sala) and Yetsuby (aka Manda) — have been fast at work mapping out their elaborate, dream-state sonic world — prolifically honing their sound across four albums and over a dozen singles to date. Across their already-extensive discography the pair have established a few key calling cards. Mallet instruments and tuned drums play out playful music-box melodies. Thick washes of gaseous ambience invoke otherworldly or ancient soundscapes. And buried fragments of found sound and manipulated vocal give their otherwise synthetic compositions a warm sense of first-person narrative. In Parallel’s lead single “Homemade Jam” is the closest the duo have come to writing an all-out pop track: its buoyant beat and autotuned vocals sounding like something SOPHIE and Charli XCX could have written after a particularly potent batch of mushroom tea. It’s a razor-sharp slice of alt-pop that offers a mouthwatering first look at what happens when Salamanda’s sprawling, unbridled creative energy is distilled right down into something concentrated and polished. At other points their sonic explorations lead them to embrace a more upfront approach to rhythm, skirting closer than ever before to the dancefloor in the process. The meandering drums and vocal chops on “Paper Labyrinth” are underpinned by a firm 4×4 pulse, while the dembow groove of “Tonal, Fluid” would feel right at home in a Nick Le√≥n or DJ Plead set. In Parallel is a record about connection, and the warmth and nostalgic simplicity of friendship is felt vividly throughout. Its title refers to the harmony the duo have found between them as friends and collaborators — and sonic parallels are traced throughout the record as testament to this. Motifs come and go before reappearing at later points: take, for example, the melody underpinning “Sun Tickles,” which returns in a different key and tempo on album closer “Mysterious Wedding.” Parallel lines are traced between each artist and through their music, linking back to their past and pointing ahead to the future. Only Salamanda know where these will take us next.