Barry Douglas Lamb

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Barry Lamb (born 9 May 1963 in South Shields, England) is an English experimental musician.


Barry Lamb 2011

Barry Lamb is an English composer, author and musician. He was born in South Shields, but lived in Holland On Sea during his secondary school years. He attended Clacton County High School where he first met his long time musical collaborator Peter Ashby. It was during his high school years that he formed Frenzid Melon with Ashby and they began experimenting with music inspired by the immediacy and DIY ethic of punk. Lamb also began making his own experimental music using simple tape manipulation techniques and they began to release their music on cassette. This marked the beginning of what has become known as cassette culture. During this period Ashby & Lamb founded Falling A Records.[1][2] as one of the early cassette labels and later an independent record label. Falling A also opened a shop in Clacton on sea and acted as a distribution service for other cassette culture artists, labels and fanzines. They became one of the most connected limbs of the diy cassette movement. Lamb's solo career coexisted with his collaborations with Ashby. Most of his solo albums are avant-garde / electronic / industrial in nature. The album Dusk is perhaps his best-known solo work. During his most prolific period, Lamb had regular correspondence with fellow contemporaries Bryn Jones of Muslimgauze, members of Attrition, and the Third Mind record label. Much of this appeared to shape his thinking about music.

Sometime during the course of 1981/82 Frenzid Melon disbanded but Ashby and Lamb quickly re emerged having added Owen Turley to the line up and morphing into a new band the insane picnic.[3] Whilst Frenzid Melon had been heavily influenced by punk, the insane picnic had more of a post punk feel to them. Their debut release in the autumn of 1982 was the critically acclaimed "Four Days in April" EP. This received a glowing review by Ian Pye in Melody Maker "A twisted cross between Echo and the Bunnymen & the Fall. The Insane Picnic succeed where most others fail by creating an atmosphere that may not be unique but is at least threateningly distanced from the obvious possibilities.."[4] the insane picnic enjoyed further favourable reviews in the mainstream music press but were unable to capitalise on the momentum due to internal struggles and the inability to engage a permanent drummer for regular live performances. A planned album in 1984 did not advance beyond the demo stage. The demo tapes were eventually released on CD in 2004 under the name "this is the winter darkness".[5] the insane picnic continued in a stop start fashion until 1989 with occasional releases and live performances. Their biggest success during this period was the "Magistrates & Saints" 12" EP.[6] The closure of the Falling A shop in 1985 sparked the relocation of the headquarters to Reading.[7]

In 1989 following the demise of the insane picnic, Lamb moved to Braintree, Essex and recorded a progressive rock album with Ashby under the name of Ermin Grud. The resulting album "the narrow path" was released as a private pressing in a deliberately obscure manner with no clues as to the source of the recording or musicians involved. There are fewer than 100 copies in existence. The album is saturated with the sound of the mellotron and Hammond organ in an attempt to pass it off as an authentic early 1970s private pressing.

In the late 1990s his output was minimal, and apart from an appearance on the WMTID album Pale Saint he seemed along with many of his cassette culture contemporaries to have disappeared without a trace. Midway through 2005 though, he re-emerged with an appearance on the Jasun Martz (former member of Frank Zappa's band) album The Pillory / The Battle playing mellotron and wind synth as well as releasing a brand new album entitled It's All About Purpose on the Six Armed Man label. 2006 saw another flurry of activity with several contributions to various Six Armed Man releases and another album of new material entitled Observations of Istanbul.[8]

In 2007 he released an album of new material called ...this is[9] which has received critical acclaim in the underground music network. Lamb's continued partnership with former insane picnic and Frenzid Melon member Peter Ashby continues to bear fruit as they work together. Other collaborations include Lamb playing saxophone on Peter Ashby's Disturbances in the ether album, working with up and coming urban hip hop artist Tor Cesay, collaborating with Keith Levene,[10] being covered by Swiss chanteuse Hilda Garman and recording with Wavis O'Shave.

Following another hiatus in 2016, the Ashby & Lamb partnership reconvened under the name of The Two Headed Emperor.[11] This resulted in another flurry of new releases and activity[12]


Solo recordings
1977 Dusk
1978 Keys
1979 Ludi Funebres
1979 Telephone call at the edge of the universe
1980 Experimental Bus Service
1981 Poetry for motorways
1981 Picnic
1990 Seven Secrets
2004 It's all about purpose
2006 Observations of Istanbul
2007 ...this is
2014 ساحة جامع الفناء (e.p.)

Remastered and reissued solo recordings with bonus material
2017 Dusk
2018 Keys
2019 Ludi Funebres

with Frenzid Melon 1977 Dec - Frenzid Melon C.60
1978 May - Graffiti Spastic Plastic C.60
1978 Oct - Frenzid Melon II C.45
1979 May - Stop Acting Like Babies C.60
1979 Oct - Cosmic Peanut and Other Secret Identities C.45
1980 Jan - I Don't Wanna Work in the Wimpy Bar (Cassette single)
1980 Feb - The Great Roll and Butter Swindle C.90
1980 Oct - Crazy Fog Warning C.45 (Unreleased)
1981 Apr - Frenzid Melon C.45
1982 Feb - Provisional Music ( A compilation of previously unreleased recordings) C.45
2014 Jul - Clacton (CD)
2015 Jan - The Dub Mixes (Download)

with the insane picnic
1982 Four days in April e.p.
1983 Romance / Politicians Promise single
1984 This is the winter darkness LP (unreleased until 2004)
1986 Magistrates & Saints 12" single
1987 Dog bones & Cradle ghosts single
1989 Stray woman single (promo only)

with Ermin Grud
1992 Ruby Jones single
1992 The Narrow Path LP
2000 The world strikes one
(Included as a bonus download track as part of the "Renewell" tribute album, tribute to Martin Newell)

with Two Headed Emperor
2018 The Happy Medium And A Depressed Conjurer album
2018 The Breath Of Disunity single
2018 Shaman Of The snow EP
2019 The Last Time We Did This It Ended In Disaster

As collaborator
1978 The Pox - Deliberate defiance of authority
1983 The Acid Slothe - You're lost little girl
1983 The Budva Taverna All Stars - Up the Yama Yama
1984 Annie Anxiety - Dawn in the carnival cafe
1984 Omming for Woks - Show me a sane man
1984 Somebody Famous - Prisoners of the real world
1984 The Cleaners from Venus - Johnny the Moondog / Only a Shadow
1985 The Rhododendron Stealers - The Purple Orgasm
1991 Braintree - The concubine harvester
1992 WMTID - Pale Saint
1995 Wayland - Sticked and Stoned
2004 Josda Dan - Mess_age e.p.
2004 Ashby & Lamb - A future life in an urban sprawl
2005 Peter Ashby - High density oscillation
2005 Jasun Martz - The Pillory / The Battle
2006 Ashby & Lamb - Small Packages
2007 Peter Ashby - Disturbances in the ether
2008 Keith Levene - Murder Global sessions / Titanium Box / Commercial Zone 2011
2008 Keltica - Keltica e.p.
2009 Peter Ashby - Hagiography
2010 Hilda Garman - Mistaken (Version)
2011 Hilda Garman - In the summer rain
2011 Barry Lamb Vs Skeng - Tin Snake revisited
2012 Peter Ashby & Hilda Garman - The songbird & the minstrel
2012 Barry Lamb Vs Ak0pian - Could you love a cloud?
2012 Barry Lamb Vs Wet Sans Brolly - Puzzled by drama queens
2012 Barry Lamb Vs Wet Sans Brolly - What should I say?
2013 Fictional Rage - Absent Culture / Absent Culture (Cloud mix)
2013 Fictional Rage ft Wavis O'Shave - Pokeawillies
2014 The Cloud Quartet - Love Note
2014 Barry Lamb Vs Keith Levene - The LoVe We Knew
2014 Census of Hallucinations - Imagine John Lennon e.p.
2017 Jasun Martz - Solo Exhibition (8-CD box set)
2017 Jasun Martz - Non Finito
2017 Ohead - Resurgent Resonance
2017 Jasun Martz - Corrosion


  1. ^ Record Collector Magazine Oct 2011 no 393 page 54
  2. ^ "Home Taping Is Thrilling Music - Record Collector Magazine". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  3. ^ "The Insane Picnic". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  4. ^ Melody Maker, 25 September 1982, p. 14
  5. ^ "This Is the Winter Darkness - The Insane Picnic | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  6. ^ "The Insane Picnic - Magistrates And Saints". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  7. ^ Music Week directory of UK record labels, 1985
  8. ^ English Experimental Musicians. ISBN 9781155807850.
  9. ^ "Barry Lamb - "…This is"". Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Keith Levene biography at Fodderstompf". Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  11. ^ "THE TWO HEADED EMPEROR". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Two Headed Emperor - Google Search". Retrieved 15 May 2020.

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