In 2017, genre-defying Nashville duo Hammock released their eighth album, Mysterium; a towering, wordless masterpiece that centered itself around the notion of loss. The album served as a memorial to Clark Kern, a son-like figure to Hammock co-founder Marc Byrd, who died in 2016 from the tumor strain NF2. A triumphant, dense, contemplative and angelic collection of music, Mysterium took listeners down a narrow path that explored death and grief. Mysterium eventually found itself as the first part of a sonic trilogy that continued with their 2018 release Universalis. While Mysterium took listeners through the darkness, Universalis brought listeners up and out towards the light. The strings and the guitar parts feel brighter and more upbeat, while the occasional drum parts impart a sense of upward journey. It is amazing how Mysterium and Universalis contextualize each other through their sonic qualities.

It was recently announced that Hammock is bringing their trilogy to a close with the upcoming release of their tenth album, Silencia, due out November 15, 2019. Says Marc Byrd,

Silencia is a prelude to silence. It was made in reverence to that space so it’s great if you don’t feel a need to listen to music after it ends. Silence has become a friend. Mysterium was about a shattering, Universalis, the trilogy’s second record, was an attempt to put things back together, and Silencia reflects a quiet resolution of knowing this is what life is. You have to live in the midst of both.

Though there are sonic consistencies throughout all three albums, and their catalogue as a whole, Hammock deftly communicates closure so well with Silencia. With the opening track, “Circular As Our Way,” Hammock slow-burns into the album with a gradual, swelling, crystalline assembly of strings, synths and a chorus of angelic voices. The title track immediately follows and though it is a web of orchestral voices and strings, the song tends to hang onto heavier sonic motifs that make it feel so resolute to the ear. For a little over an hour, Hammock soars and swells across a staggering sonic landscape of strings, guitars, keys, and vocals before the trilogy comes to a close with “Without Form and Void,” a song that slowly builds to a mild crescendo before resolving with an extended fade out of thin, bright, celestial voices. You can see a videos for “Circular As Our Way Blow” and “Afraid to Forget” as well as other tunes from the trilogy below.

You can preorder Silencia now with three options to choose from. For the audiophile, there’s the double vinyl in your choice of color; 180-gram Black, and limited editions in white, clear and black swirl ("Smoke"), and clear (150-gram). There’s also limited edition CD option. And of course, there’s the digital option as well (both the vinyl and CD versions come with a digital download code). And while you’re there, grab the other two parts of the trilogy (and the rest of their catalogue).

In the meantime, I strongly urge anyone with a few bucks to spare to donate to either the Clark Kern Memorial Scholarship Fund.

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