Mysterium (58'07") conjures a twilight, slow-motion realm. Hammock, the duo of Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, here produce 11 tracks worth of shadowy blue nocturnes. While this work is an act of pure expression and atmosphere, it is concisely formed and executed to the standards of the Ambient Chamber Music style. Their lush instrumentation of strings, piano, horns, choir, and so many variations of electric guitar tones, sends us a soul-deep sonic portrait from a symbolic plane. With a poet's flair for valorizing, their songs of withdrawn melancholy send the listener on a gorgeous journey into the elegiac. Organized with understated compositional principles, chords and melodic fragments float along, their sonorities given plenty of time to reverberate inside the mind of the listener. From its nearly stationary landscapes to structured, goal-oriented harmonic narratives, Mysterium is textured, precise and alive. Its arrangements of gentle gravity gains shape in recurring motives and portentous contrasts. Mysterium has been derived from expressive shades of sound. Long unhurried melodies emerge out of a soft aura of harmony, to cling to the ears and whisper in the heart - speaking to a place where words are unnecessary, as sound tells the story best. Quietists at heart, Byrd and Thompson make music for souls in transit. Mysterium reaches for serious moments. It is the product of years of purposeful effort - and an invitation to step inside the musician's mind. Their personal realities are a special place to occupy. Meant for self-reflection, Hammock has released a transformational, lovestruck album - a beautifully colored collage of memories and daydreams, in which the players (and listeners) may become fortified in the aftermath of loss.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 3 August 2017