The name Aaron Martin shouldn’t be a new one to most. After all, he has appeared on this blog via his releases in the past year on imprints such as Dronarivm, Lost Tribe Sound and Preserved Sound. His works date back to 2006’s “Almond” (Preservation), but its his recent flurry of work, including those in collaboration – with Machinefabriek, alongside Dag Rosenqvist as From The Mouth Of The Sun, as well as his solo albums such as “Comets Coma” (Eilean Rec) and “A Room Now Empty” (Preserved Sound) that has raised his standing in the Ambient/ Drone/Experimental underground. His latest release “Touch Dissolves” is released on Eilean Rec’s sister Music and Photographic art imprint, Iikki Books. The result is a dialog between Martin and photographer Yusuf Sevençli and comes in CD/Book/Vinyl/Digital format.
“A Child’s Arms Are Moonlight” buzzing bass drone and spindly rusty metallic sounding cello create an atmosphere with a slightly ominous edge. A drone fills in the sound as more cello parts weave their way with a lyrical quality, with the sounds progressing slowly to a build up. The sound becomes fuller with darker tones of different shades completing the sound pallet, but not shrouding in complete darkness. A breakdown section allows for the spindly cello to retreat into the background with bells and chimes creating a melodic symphony over them. The music then fades away to layers of ghostly looped vocals that have a hypnotic feel and long form cello drones.
“The Space Above Overflowing” what sounds like a small string instrument such as ukulele is joined by arching, soaring, thunderous cello takes center stage with its playful sing-songy rhythms evoking a folk feel to the music. Hummed and lightly sung wordless vocals and minimal hand percussion are joined by tortured emotive strings that utilize the low bass notes of the cello exquisitely and set as a counter point for the ukelele. There is for some reason a nautical feel that comes to mind, which may be derived from the rhythms of the piece, rather the instrumentation. After going through a section of the ukelele and a distant picked sound, the cello roars to life changing the feel of the piece from the melodic and playful, to a grander and Orchestral feel.
“Water Reads What Fingers Have Written” sounding like melodica, alongside a screeching sound, possibly accordion with field recordings and cello drones. The tracks opening feels like an abandoned piece of land in the middle of nowhere. Lines of cello reverberate around, initially creating walls of sound in layers, before they retreat into the background emphasising distance away.
“Falling From The Feet Of Sunlit Bodies” slow bowed cello with a deep dark edge is joined by more layering of strings with a pulsing feel to it, while another layer of cello with a higher tube joins the fray. All feature a similar pace to each other, but in a way feel like they are battling against each other. They fade away with a much lighter section of crystalline guitar which coaxes ever so lightly the cello sections back, but this time they feel more entwined together. It feels almost like there is a synth pulsing in the middle of them which less the harshness of the cellos. There is a bit of a Godspeed You! Black Emporer feel to the track.
“To Stems Unclasped The Petals Cling” acoustic guitar with wind drones that wrap around are joined by a ukulele that is playing the same rhythm of the guitar, but possibly a beat behind. Cello’s of tortuous tone brings an element of dread to a piece that feels introspective before its addition. Once they subside, the pace of the guitar picks up with a slight flamenco style with other guitar and ukelele parts being added to create a countrified feel.
“Guarded Eyes Make Curtains Blossom” echoing strummed guitar or possibly banjo creates a suspenseful feel with its reverberating sound as cello’s of a droning and complimentary sound lead the track into a deep mournful cello section with the initial guitar part being a distant sound and memory. The cello wails with both a rich tone and a more harsher higher tone, before they start to retreat and becomes fragments of a distant sound. There is a definite feel to this track of age as if it is a document of a time long gone that is a fading memory.
“A Hand That Teaches, A Branch That Sings” straight away a grand, orchestral feel is noted by the sound of the strings and the way that the notes hang, drawing out the last bits of each of them. The pace is slow, the drones long before the music is joined by an organ that brings a religious feel to the music as it grows and grows with an almost noisy drone intensity. Fragments of strings can start to be heard in the background exhibiting a similar sound to the organ. They rise once more to the large-scale feel which compliments the organ and makes the track feel like a funeral progression and that something or someone is coming to rest.
With Aaron Martin you know you are going to get a fine cello based album, its with those extra touches and instrumentation that he expands his sound. You can see why he has been involved in Soundtrack releases with the “Menashe” album/film with From The Mouth Of The Sun and his solo soundtrack “Adam”. As he grew up initially playing guitar and drums, its nice to hear the additional instrumentation to his pieces as it reveals more of the artist who is traditionally associated with the cello. The black and white photography of Yusuf Sevençli from the preview I have seen suits the music that Martin releases.