Album: Oblivion Hymns
Released: 26 November 2013
The guitar duo Hammock needs to be held responsible for their unconscious thoughts - as the music found on their album Oblivion Hymns (56'51") has obviously had its origins in this most symbolic, wordless realm. Mark Byrd and Andrew Thompson realize ten tracks that are something more than just a pleasant earwash of sound. Present still are their wondrously ethereal guitar stylings, here in conversation with string quartet, accordion, French horn and children's choir. The compositions on Oblivion Hymns may feel repetitious as this ensemble seems to present the same chords over and over - yet the meaning of these works is new at each playing, as this music succeeds on several planes. At the altitude Hammock is navigating the air is thin, but the pieces on Oblivion Hymns sound quite dense. A lovely ambiguity is achieved as the surging, solemn chords please the ear and touch the heart. From the dead hush of midnight rises a thin swelling guitar, soon enlarged by a deeper form. As other instruments are added and the soundfield becomes saturated the composition strives for a unanimity beyond climax. There is a cinematic quality to Oblivion Hymns as it enhances the listening space with a certain drama, and a particular tenderness. Hammock's music has always possessed a special emotive power that is here evoked like never before. Their songs are each a story where we know the ending from the beginning - and convey well the essential experience of being human.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 21 November 2013
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