According to Julian Lynch, his recently released Buffalo Songs cassette compiles previously unreleased and self-released recordings he “made from 2006 onwards, back when [he] recorded using the moniker Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” Now that he plays exclusively under the name Julian Lynch, and has three proper album releases under his belt, Buffalo Songs serves as an archival showcase of his output thus far.
Hearing “Birthday Song,” which first appeared on his 2008, self-released Birthday CD-R, it’s hard to believe that Lynch’s 8-track recorder wasn’t submerged hundreds of feet under water. It may be bleak to associate social seclusion with a song about a birthday, but this one helps us realize that being alone doesn’t have to feel lonely. Melodic layers of guitar, flute, human voice, and percussion thicken as the track progresses, relaxing us into our own minds, until — everything stops. After a silence, a voice — sampled from a spoken word cassette he acquired from a tape lot on Ebay — arrives, bringing with it a faster tempo and a choppier sound. It’s as though the voice has brought a helicopter to pull us back down into this realm of reality, and its words make for the only discernable lyric in the entire song. Though we’ve only been away for four minutes and 26 seconds, “Where am I?” seems like the appropriate thing to ask.
Julian Lynch, “Birthday Song”
Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood