Hammock set to release ‘Mysterium’ (stream two songs)
I've got about a 30-second Twitter attention span before the onslaught of glib political rhetoric from both sides of the aisle utterly deflate any emotional happiness I might be feeling. Therefore it is extremely rare that during my infrequent and abbreviated visits to Twitter that a tweet will shine through the sludge and literally change my life forever. Such was the case one evening back on April 28, 2015 when I saw this tweet from everyone's favorite atheist Ricky Gervais.
Normally, a musical recommendation from a celebrity, even one whom I admire and respect, would evaporate in my brain like a hot fart in a cold breeze. But something about that tweet, and the fact that I was maybe in the mood for mesmerizing and inspirational music, sent me to YouTube and down a Hammock wormhole that I'm still lost in the depths of and which has changed my musical atmospheres forever. Founded in 2003 by Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson, Hammock are a bit hard to define; some call them post-rock, some call them ambient, some call them shoegaze. But to genre-fy them does a real disservice to the scope of the sonic output these two guys from Nashville, Tennessee achieve.
They are all of these genres, yet they are none of these genres. Often times they'll weave a tapestry of orchestral strings, electronics, and reverb so dense and beautiful that your brain takes over and translates their sound into a personal vision. Sometimes they'll bust out jangly, guitar-driven, electronically and ambiently informed post-rock like they did with the help of the of Steve Kibley and timEbandit Powles of The Church or when they covered "Black Metallic" by Catherine Wheel. Whatever their approach, their sound and orchestrations scratch so many sonic itches for me and it's hard to believe that one tweet led me on this journey that has me absolutely hooked on Hammock.
I have made it a point to purchase every single piece of recorded output they have released, and I'm happy to announce that my Hammock discography is about to get a bit bigger. On August 25 Hammock will release Mysterium, their 8th album since forming in 2003.
Composed 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, Mysterium merges modern classical, ambient, and choral music, and it’s of a piece with recent records by Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson. The gorgeous, hour-long collection features contributions from the Berlin mix engineer Francesco Donadello (Winged Victory for the Sullen, Ólafur Arnalds), Peter Katis (The National, Jónsi, Interpol), and the Hamburg orchestrator Roman Vinuesa (“Iris,” “Umrika”), who transcribed scores for the Budapest Art Choir.
Mysterium will be released as a digital download, a CD + digital package, as well as a 2xLP set with a variety of vinyl color options. You can hear two gorgeous, signature-sounding tracks from Mysterium below. If you like what you hear, you can even get Hammock's whopping 16-release catalogue as a digital download for 76 bucks, 40% cheaper if you pieced the catalogue together piecemeal like I did.