In 2000 at one of our crazy parties at the Reverb Records flat behind the Olympia Theatre in Temple Bar, Irish artist Mark Garry slipped us a demo of a few electronic based tracks from this fellow named John Lambert.  The track was called Domino.  Or was it that artists' name?  Whatever it was, "Domino" sounded absolutely amazing.  Dark, atmospheric, heavy, textured, surreal, melodic and very electro; just the way we liked it.  The artwork was almost as amazing - a hand made cut n' paste cartoonish sleeve holding a silvery CD-R.  

After a year or so of encouraging, prodding, meticulous fine-tuning of additional tunes and some obligatory (yet complex) negotiations, Reverb released "Gothica" from a brand new artist known as "Chequerboard."  Not out of a love of money mind you, but out of the love of the music that Mr. Lambert was constructing and creating.  Sometimes some music just needs to be put out there in the world because it's good. We felt both the duty and the calling…

Since that debut release, Mr. Chequerboard has released several highly acclaimed albums and EPs on Irish independent label Lazy Bird Records.


2002 Reverb Records

Various Artists
2001 Reverb Records

Various Artists
2005 Elusive Recordings


Reviewed by Jim Carroll
More capital city electronica shenanigans for you to ooh and aah over. John Lambert is this week's model who's directing the beeps and bleeps. In the case of his debut album as Chequerboard, what cuts into the sometimes austere chill of the electronic tones is a warmly wrapped acoustic poise. At times, especially on tracks such as Bats and Nomads, there's a confidence that Lambert is bang on the money and his crisp sense of adventure pays dividends in spades.

Indeed, it's an ability to harvest almost orchestral sweeps of sound, Warp-style background noises and an accomplished regard for astute melodies which mark this album as one to explore further. Check out the compact disc booklet, with its sweet graphic tale of a mute boy, a friendly giant, a robot and a fink.

Reviewed by Eamonn Sweeney
Chequerboard (aka John Lambert) has a whole lot more going on than just the standard anonymous box of tricks. Gothica has its own set of characters, stories, themes and three-dimensional moods, which is a relief because I'm not sure just how much more 'abstract' electronica a body can take.

A mute boy, a cute giant, a foreboding robot and a sly fink populate the sleeve booklet's curious and distinctive art landscape, which in turn is a take on the moods and nuances of the musical soundscape found within. Fourteen tracks marry a musical box of icy chimes and wintry melodies with an inviting acoustic warmth, allowing the brain to run riot and imagine the various goings on the Gothica world.These characters were brought to life on the streets of Dublin with an installation in the former Arthouse facility window during December, lending the city an oasis of sound and vision in the midst of Christmas chaos. The overall tone may sound a little too uniform on first listening, but subtle surprises and hidden layers reveal themselves with each trip to the sonic fields. It's well worth dropping by for a day (and night) trip.