Marcus Hamblett - Concrete
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Marcus Hamblett - Concrete

Marcus Hamblett – Concrete

Marcus Hamblett, the man behind Brighton’s Willkommen Collective, is an immensely talented multi-instrumentalist who has performed with the likes of Peggy Sue, Willy Mason, Sons Of Noel And Adrian, Moulettes, Fear of Men, Eyes & No Eyes and Laura Marling to name a lot. For his debut, Concrete, Marcus leaves his usual folk styling for more experimental ideas. The album has taken influences from Giallo soundtracks, Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai, Gastr del Sol, Chicago bands such as Brokeback and Isotope 217, Faust, Six Organs Of Admittance, Robert Wyatt and Nels Cline – creating music that conjures up mental images that form into an imaginative films which modulates with the emotion of Marcus’s soundtrack.
 
The record starts with rolling disjointed drums, as if you have just opened the door on an interpretive jazz lesson. ‘Nocturne’s’ welcoming guitar strums are followed by a comforting but disconcerting melody put to a background of dark sounding synths that intensifies with building tension. This is cut short by a solo guitar, which erupts in foreboding moments of feedback. Then immediately into ‘Skeleton Key’ where you are met by a modern factory line of repeating industry sounds made by analogue synthesizer, and the distant howling guitar reverb. An electric guitar is introduced with a xylophone following its melody, before a more intense guitar plays over the top of the existing tune turning the optimistic sound to a more daunting question. Droning sustained organ synths emerge and layered guitars that follow the same melody, gathering intensity until a calm but erratic saxophone is introduced – and then the song lulls you into a free jazz inspired jam with the introduction of the drums, which is smooth and prepares you for the next track ‘Be New’. You have seamlessly now entered a dream state where the mood seems to be positive, as arpeggiated guitar and light soundscaping synth relax the ears into a meditative state.
 
A slight pause in the so far constant sound is met by the laid back and lazy sounds of Heather’s light drumming, the galactic modulating sounds of sustained organ synths and a super mellow guitar of ‘Three Four’ – my favourite of the album. The song’s dynamic changes when the soft wordless vocals (of label mate Emma Gatrill) begin, the song finishing far away from where it started with wining synths and loud drumming. ‘Augmented’ has a calm start of beautiful guitar tunes and droning synths with evermore questioning subtleties. Midway a howling industrial post-rock like soundscape takes over the song with sporadic clicks and glitching sounds, before light erratic drumming and arpeggiated keys bring in a calming feel. The song finishes in screeching reverb – making the start of the next song even more quaint. ‘Stony Ground’ with strummed washy guitar, delicious harp and wistful vocals makes for an affirming final song. This ten-and-a-half minute epic seems to get lost in time, as the delicious sound makes you leave your conscious behind.
 
There was no doubt that this was going to be a special debut from the talented Marcus. Concrete as a whole is spectacular, holding an organic and natural feel to it that is unbelievably enticing. I would love to see the album put to a short film, although it could change the original perception your own imagination has already put together. Next time you are lounging in the sun, put this on your headphones, shut your eyes and let your imagination wonder to the glorious out of body ethereal sounds.
Iain Lauder
 
 
 

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