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Label & Cat.Number: A-Scale Records A-SCALE 045
Release Year: 2012
Note: 10 new songs, the purest form of enchantment - just "vox" and guitar by the EYELESS IN GAZA singer + some tiny droney "instrumental colourings", great poetic songs of love & nostalgia..
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00
More Info"Unsung – the new solo album by Martyn Bates (voice/guitar) completed September 2012 and produced by Alan Trench & Martyn Bates. Released on November 13th.
'With Unsung Martyn Bates takes on the more traditional role as a singer-songwriter, armed solely with his guitar for accompaniment, save for the occasional sparse colouring. At this time — when this particular role has been explored and done to death & beyond by long lines of both old and young musicians — one would think that there possibly could not be much to add (not that singer-songwriters generally are out on a mission to add something to the format). But as we know from the past history of Martyn Bates and Eyeless In Gaza, they do invent, they do new things, they sound fresh over and over again. So this is exciting, indeed!
From initial listenings to the album, one happily fails to find anything reminiscent of the new breed of singer-songwriters that tend to sound so same-ish, even when they try to sound “alternative”, “sensuous” and “independent” suggesting the listener would be convinced that it (albeit artificially) “sounds so right”. Here, in contrast, you find someone who plays and sings as if no one has ever done any singing accompanied only by his own guitar playing before. The lyrics are thoughtful, the music is lush and different, the voice is superb and the music is respectful of the intelligence of the listener. Still the music is certainly not dull or gloomy, but spirited and infectious. I think you will agree.– Jerry Nilson" [label info]
"These acoustic guitar based songs largely came from sessions relating to the Twelve Thousand Days project in which Martyn Bates collaborated with Alan Trench of Orchis in the 2000’s. Though it’s also produced by Trench , Unsung has a very different feel, and it finds Bates at his most concentrated and immediate. Bates is essentially a singer songwriter but his work in Eyeless in Gaza and other collaborations reveal he’s also adept at improvisation and manipulation of sonics. Here the latter is limited to some ambient drift and phantasmal backing vocals, which sound particularly strange on ‘’And This The Day’’. But essentially Unsung relies just on his voice and acoustic guitar, which is beautifully recorded with a big , full sound. At times his expansive picking recalls Bert Jansch or Roy Harper.
As a singer-songwriter Bates has a wide stylistic lexicon, ranging from soft susurrations to notes that feel wrenched out from somewhere deep. On ‘Muted Music’, he evokes the heightened poignancy of its inevitable transience. One of the album’s loveliest melodies, ‘Caustic’ is, however, a bleak look at how memories of events can differ between two people, with the song’s narrator the one left with nothing of comfort to recall.
His love of traditional music was first overtly stated on the Murder Ballads series he made with Mick Harris in the 1990’s, and the influence of Martin Carthy suggests itself here. But his own work is more in tune with the unfettered feelings that run through folk song. On Unsung, he seals his engagement with tradition on ‘’Love Came To My Door’’, an a cappella tale shaped as a disquieting visitation rather than a cause for celebration."
[Mike Barnes, THE WIRE]
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