Mark Templeton returns with the third instalment in his Heart trilogy. Following on the heels of Scotch Heart (2011) and Jealous Heart (2013), Gentle Heart is a fitting closure to this story, an album filled with bending, yearning phrases – sounds that feel like they are actually speaking to you from another time, as if they’re being piped into the room where you’re listening today.
There is a continued use of elements that hearken to tape machines and older technology combined with acoustic instruments and modern studio techniques and sensibilities, squarely centered in the contemporary moment. Loops stumble and fall off their track, then regain their footing, breaking the concentration enough to remind you that someone is here and paying attention. In both structure and emotion, Templeton captures time in a novel way – connecting points that don’t immediately lend themselves to such a connection, deftly balancing qualities that are both haunting and inviting. This music is one of imagined memory, capturing moments that never happened, but could have.
An example of this can be seen in how the track titles suggest a sense of Western tropes, but the music is anything but, not intentionally misleading the would-be listener but rather nodding to a set of ideas and images that drive the artist’s intentions in this album, and through his interpretations the tracks become far removed from any assumption of what these words or images may mean. It speaks to what is happening in the background and lets the listener think about how one point moves to another. It is not a strict form. It is a flexible guide that allows the music to touch things that it doesn’t hold on to tightly – playing with mood and tone while veering into its own direction.
Much in this vein Gentle Heart closes with two pieces that make one think of a vast prairie, one that has been rearranged in a computer and put back together – not to make it more digital but to make it new through the perspective of today. Twangy guitar strums filled with hisses and fuzz roll into clipped phrases that are nostalgic in their specific way, a modern imagining of a past time that may hold a sense of simple peacefulness, of space, of a long view that goes forever. -Ezekiel Honig
‘Alive’ is the first vinyl outing from Keith Wood’s Hush Arbors since his split 7″ with Jerusalem and the Starbaskets on The Great Pop Supplement back in 2008…
Hush Arbors is the project of Mr Keith Wood, a good friend of Blackest Rainbow, who has also played in Wooden Wand, Six Organs of Admittance, Zodiacs, Sunburned Hand of the Man, and with Thurston Moore. Hush Arbors ever evolving sound pretty much encapsulates everything he does with these other fine projects, but Keith has definitely got his own thing going on with his fine song writing skills, whether its delivered with his beautiful acoustic playing or wild electric shredding.
Folk music derives its origins from venerable working class traditions and its name reflects this. Notoriously difficult to define, the genre’s porous borders have helped to keep it fresh and ever relevant, with such a wide range of artists as Bob Dylan, Joanna Newsom, Nick Drake and Bonnie Prince Billy all falling somewhere within Folk’s purview.
This latest release, brought to us by the prestigious Bedroom Community can also be defined as folk music but, following in the tradition of the finest material in the genre, Puzzle Muteson’s latest full-length album throws a lot more into the pot too. Little seems to be known about the enigmatic artist based in the Isle of Wight, other than he is a singer-songwriter originally from London who has a penchant for melancholic guitar and a talent which is self-evident. Choosing to remain anonymous could be seen as an affectation to some, but so sincere are the songs within En Garde, that the lack of information on the artist forces us to focus solely on the music, which is probably for the best, since it would be foolish indeed to miss a moment of this carefully crafted masterpiece.
Neverest Songs is the alias of Margate based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Luke Twyman, who is set to release his debut, double A-side single Paper Trumpets/Softly, Quite Softly, Quite Softly through independent label Tea At Yours.
Initially working in a humble home studio set-up, early 2005, Twyman began to harness his talent, before starting work on his debut album Small Voyages, in late 2008. Undertaking a small voyage of his own, Twyman travelled to New York to record the piano parts, with friend Rick Warren and by late 2009 twenty-four songs were complete, and the final thirteen tracks selected. Small Voyages was released as part of the Unlabel catalogue, in early 2010.