Ashby had a brief excursion into the 4ad recorded Spasmodic Caress whilst Lamb focused on his own brand of experimental music using rudimentary tape loops and sound manipulation.
They came together again in the early 1980's morphing into the insane picnic with the addition of Owen Turley. the insane picnic were given favourable reviews in all three of the main music papers of the time (NME, Sounds & Melody Maker), they touched the outer echelons of the indie chart and grabbed the attention of John Peel.
Their debut e.p. "Four Days In April" is considered a cassette culture classic and was listed among 21 essential cassette culture releases in Record Collector magazine in 2014. They were also given a credible mention in the follow up article "Home Taping Is Thrilling Music". Their 1986 12" single "Magistrates & Saints" was critically acclaimed at the time and is often considered the bands finest moment.
Following the demise of the insane picnic, Ashby & Lamb reconvened in the 90's with an obscure progressive rock album entitled "The Narrow Path" under the name Ermin Grud which they attempted to pass off as an authentic obscure private pressing album from the early to mid 1970's. It was recorded in analogue and was saturated with the Hammond B4 & Mellotron.
Reviews drew comparisons to Egg, Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd (post Syd Barrett - pre Dark side of the moon), Caravan and other British progressive legends. It is something of a holy grail and though not very sophisticated has the DNA of what was later to become Two Headed Emperor.
Further collaborations and projects have taken place through the subsequent decades in working together on each others solo recordings, working on ad hoc projects including collaborations with Keith Levene (ex-PiL), Jasun Martz (Frank Zappa, Michael Jackson), Wavis O'Shave, Tor Cesay aka Isatta Sheriff (Mongrel, Flying Lotus, Lizzie Ball) and countless others.
In the autumn of 2015, they began to map out a brand new project. They discussed the format and the impact of the rock album that they grew up with and how many of those records held together as a cohesive body of work from the artwork to the sequencing of the tracks. Music by intelligent design.
They wanted to make a series of albums in that vein. The Two Headed Emperor was born and though slow to start, was mapped in 2016, began recording in 2017 and the first album was unleashed in 2018... this video announced the forthcoming arrival of The Two Headed Emperor ...
Though, The Two Headed Emperor first appeared rather quietly in the Summer of 2018 with a post modern 侘寂 influenced combustion of 70's new wave and authentic progressive art rock. Their debut album was far from retro. It was a poetic, gritty, haptic and visceral cocktail of heady music that was drawn from a diverse pool of influences.
You could certainly hear traces of King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator and British progressive fingerprints blended with experimental art rock and the post punk vibe of the early 80's. Elements of Captain Beefheart, The Fall, Gang Of Four and the experimental end of the post punk era.
As of February 2020, two albums, a single and an EP have been released along with two radio sessions. The third album “Goldhanger Creek” is released on March 20th, 2020. There will be another radio session to follow shortly afterwards.
As the Ashby & Lamb collaborative partnership approaches its 50th year, it would appear that they are more prolific than ever and not short of some great music that can stir your heart and soul. They might just blow your mind...
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