The Shadow Ring: 1992-2002
Preorder now directly from Blank Forms at the special presale price of $175 (normally $225), and receive a limited-edition photographic print signed by the group, while supplies last. Note that if you pre-order a title with additional items in your cart, your full order will ship upon release date.
At last: the long-awaited box set surveying The Shadow Ring's prolific, decade-long existence. Eleven CDs, one DVD, and a more than 450-page book featuring a detailed biographical essay, hundreds of photographs, ten interviews, a complete discography with lyrics, and rarely-seen ephemera.
The Shadow Ring (1992–2002) presents a comprehensive overview of the work produced by British musicians Graham Lambkin, Darren Harris, and later Tim Goss over the course of a decade. Throughout their legendary ten-year run, this shambolic rock outfit, formed by a group of teenagers in the port town Folkestone, were an enigmatic force on the international musical sub-underground. The group have left behind a mighty run of eight LPs, a handful of 7-inches, and a spate of raucous live shows and cryptic zine appearances on both sides of the Atlantic. Collected here for the first time are The Shadow Ring’s live cuts, rarities, and complete commercial releases, spread out across eleven CDs and a DVD, accompanied by an nearly five-hundred-page book that includes a monographic biographical survey, more than one hundred color photos, a comprehensive discography with transcribed lyrics, and a selection of zine appearances, fliers, postcards, and other miscellanea. In aggregate, this significant collection not only plums the depths of the band and its attendant lore, but reveals a vivid minor history of mail-order networks, bedroom recording sessions, cross-USA couch-surfing, and encounters with fellow travelers such The Dead C, Harry Pussy, Charalambides, Richard Youngs and the No-Neck Blues Band. Where is the connecting thread between Ralf Wehowsky and Squirrel Nut Zippers? Inquire within.
The roughly 200 songs in this set trace the band from its earliest days recording in Lambkin’s parents’ house (SHP Studios), through its brooding mid-period, garnering word-of-mouth notoriety that peaked with the trio turning down an invitation to tour with Pavement, to a string of increasingly uncompromising experiments with electronics, voice, and tape. Although the band’s sound morphs considerably during this time period, from spartan beginnings using pots and pans as a drum set to their ultra-deconstructed latter-day approach, certain core sensibilities are apparent throughout: brash youthful rawness, wry and morbid lyricism, stripped-down angularity, and a penchant for atmospherics. This boxset, featuring every record and single, and buttressed by twenty-nine rarely-heard recordings, including proto-Shadow Ring projects such as the Cat & Bells Club and Footprint cassettes, and their unearthed final CD-R Darren Harris Reads Graham Lambkin, presents the first opportunity to hear this arc in full. The ebbs and flows of the band—their schoolboy beginnings, initial successes, first shows and tours, life milestones, and Lambkin’s gradual development as a solo artist—are painstakingly detailed in a sizable band history-cum-Künstlerroman by Blank Forms artistic director Lawrence Kumpf, illustrated with candid photos, sketches, letters, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera. The music and videos can speak for themselves, but taken as a mass, this collection makes sense of the group’s utter uncanniness without comprising one iota of their mystique, bringing something new to the table for completionists and the uninitiated alike.