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Into the endless unknown

May 9, 2008

Quite simply, I love Hammock. I loved their first album, their stop-gap EP, their second album, their ambient almost-album. I can listen to them when I am happy, when I’m sad. When I want to pay attention to every note and when I want to tune out or fall asleep. Their music is the perfect fusion of classic ambient, chiming dream pop and shoegazery guitar noise.

The sound isn’t completely unique – their are shades of half a dozen better-known acts in there: Sigur Ros, The Album Leaf, Stars of the Lid, the Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Brian Eno. But it’s beautiful and otherworldly and awe-inspiring.

I was a little bit surprised on my first listen to their new album Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow, though. The first two proper albums were a 50/50 mix of barely-there ambient wash and anthemic reverb-drenched pop. This one is a lot more like The Sleepover Sessions, Marc Byrd’s album of minimalist guitar drone. There are no lyrics, no choruses or verses, no beats. On first listen, it’s so ephemeral and wispy, it feels like it’s slipped away before it’s out of the speakers.

But it pays to know the story and it pays to listen closely. This album is an attempt to capture Hammock’s first live gig, an intimate show for Jonsi of Sigur Ros (whose design project did the cover art) where they stripped back their sound to the bare essentials that two people with guitars could create. The album is basically that – two guys with guitars and pedals, playing live in the studio, with some overdubbed cello from Matt Slocum.

And if you pay attention, you can feel the painstaking attention to detail, the loving care with which the exact pitch and timbre of each note was chosen. My love affair has only grown deeper.

Hammock – “Mono No Aware”

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One comment

  1. […] but 2008 feels like the year that a lot of quiet acts are going even quieter.  Hammock’s Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow was their most zen-like album yet – you can barely make out instruments.  Ellen Allien’s […]



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