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Red Ampersand , 6.5/10
Red Mantra , 7/10
Bent Hemlock (2005), 6/10

Salamander were formed in 1992 in Minneapolis by guitarists Erik Wivinus and Sean Connaughty to perform psychedelic jams in a style that merges Cul De Sac and Flying Saucer Attack, progressive-rock and ambient-rock. Doug Morman (bass) and Bryce Kastning (drums) complete the line-up on Red Ampersand (Camera Obscura, 1998), a collection of mostly free-form abstract pieces (recorded years earlier). Carved Into Water is the ghostly ambient track that best summarizes their praxis.

Red Mantra (Camera Obscura, 1999) collects more material from the vaults and a couple of new pieces. The highlight is the 25-minute Red Mantra, a Valentyne Suite for the Bardo Pond generation.

Bent Hemlock (Camera Obscura, 2005) displays the same virtues of the debut album, but the material is bit unfocused and possibly too varied. The songs feel more like raw fragments (no matter how cute) than finished goods.

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