Martyn Bates Mystery Seas
By Marcus Pan
Martyn Bates creates his music from a
highly artistic angle. It's more poetry set to bright animated backgrounds of
ambient washes, flutes and other bright instrumentation. Lyrical content is
quite good, even if it does have a flavor of cliché goth at times. His
voice is very comfortable, and he laces subtle harmonies and he'll sometimes
use the minimal rhythms available in his ambient muisc to create a movement
that is only barely present, creating a very floating feeling while listening
to his work.
Mystery Seas is subtitled as Letters Written
#2. You Looking To Me For a Sign is nicely arranged, very full
bodied and builds from a sky swept ambient wash to flute movements that drive
an otherwordly feel into the music. Latter attached smooth and complicated
rhythms add a feeling of speed without actually speeding up the rest of the
music, the percussion itself held in check by the already built surrounding
Shorepoem uses a more analog sound, but the vocals
add a taste of modern rhythm into the old world feel. Lazily playing accordion
and latter flute movements create a foresty feel. Occasionally, lack of solid
percussive movements in tracks on Mystery Seas will lead to a droning of
the song - a feeling that it's longer than it could or should be. This occurrs
on Calm Of Dark for example, a track that's about five and a half
minutes long but seems much longer do to its slow and languid progression. I've
also found this to happen during Imagination Feels Like Poison as well -
I'm tired of the song by halfway through because it doesn't change enough or
The playful If I Could See Everyone is a highlight
track to Mystery Seas, and will break the smooth reverie of the rest of
the album with its climactic orchestral hits and dirty ambient washes. Its
abrupt ending is almost disturbing as it dumps you directly into the surreal
and floaty Of Night.
Droning and lack of enough change and movement of some of
the tracks aside, Mystery Seas is a nice ride. Pleasant, controlled and
comfortable and there's always a brightness to the music that's uplifting.
Martyn Bates' vocals are nice to hear - he has a good control of his voice even
up to tenor levels, and it has a young sound to it. He'd make a brilliant
poetry reader even without the nice musical backdrops. Mystery Seas
makes for a nice close to a harsh day or work week - a relaxing world to come
home to and phase out in for a while.
Post: PO Box 440383, Somerville, MA, 02144, USA
Phone: (617) 718-9990
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