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Review: 'Barrett Martin Group'

-  Label: 'Sunyata Records'
-  Genre: 'Ambient' -  Release Date: '8.10.21.'

Our Rating:
Stillpoint is the first Barrett Martin album I've heard, which as he likes to point out he is a Grammy Award Winning Producer and has a long career is a bit of a surprise. Stillpoint features a stripped-down trio as it was recorded in a remote house on a cliff in Cascadia Washington State, above the strait of Juan De Fuca, then mixed by Jack Endino in Seattle.

All the songs are published by Sub Pop Publishing, but this is as far from grunge as you can get, being a rather laid-back jazz album about being in lockdown at the top of a cliff and watching nature at work. The CD is also accompanied by a book of short stories Stillpoint: Reflections From A Year On The Cliff that as I haven't got a copy of won't be commenting on, but if you order the album you will get a copy.

The album opens with the soft shuffle of The Roaring Sea that sounds more like the mellow sea to me, with gently rippling cymbals and gongs and a trumpet weaving across the waves rather dreamily.

Juan's Strait Swing is cocktail hour smooth jazz with a Lionel Hampton style feel and very gentle backing vocals that are buried deep in the mix as a texture as this swings along and we all sip martini's while looking out across the strait.

Please Come Back, She Said To the Sun is perfect for the first cocktail after sundown as the trumpets squiggle and jump over the mesmeric rhythmic drumming helps you focus on looking deep into the night sky as this builds and surges like the surf crashing against the rocks at high tide.

The Elegance Of Wind for me has echoes of Steve Turre's eponymous album, I like the shuffling drum pattern that could of come off a dance record as it effortlessly grooves along.

Eagle Vs Raven has soring and dive-bombing musical runs to evoke the two birds battling for control of the skies and with a bit of a noir jazz late night drive feel as the elegance of the trumpet come to the fore.

Waves Of Color has all sorts of percussive rhythms leading us through a spectrum of cascading sounds and it feels rather calming.

A Siren Calls has lots of chiming gongs and bells as a slow but steady call for that Siren Vonnegut imagined was on Titan but Barrett has conjured up on a cliff in Washington State.

Yellow Striped Sprit Snake is slithering across your speakers making the wood chimes vibrate as it seeks out its prey.

A Year On The Cliff is breezy and alive with the tempos of the turning tides and the sounds of cocktail hour coming round once more.

Fierce Hawk is a drum circle of love and percussive patterns as that Hawk circles overhead in the piano and the trumpet seems to signal a dive-bombing attack on the Fierce hawks next victim, the anguish and screams of the victim set amid the ever-present circular drums.

Pineapple Express doesn't take us to the dance studio unless they are doing slow core calisthenics that this would be perfect for.

Dance Of The Seven Sisters almost lasts long enough to drive up about half of the Seven Sisters Road and I'd suggest the Finsbury park section heading east at about 11 at night, with the ladies strolling along looking to entice stray gents, as the trumpets pick the money from the pockets, this has a seductive air about it.

The Beauty In Darkness feels like they are playing it at 2 in the morning on a starless night with no lights on pitch darkness and only the drums and a trumpet for company to keep the evil spirits at bay.

Rainshadow is the musical accompaniment to a windswept storm with the rain clattering off of all sorts of surfaces making different tones pitter pattering across the landscape of your mind and speakers.

To The Sea We Shall Return is a gentle send off for those we have lost during this most difficult of years a gentle elegy to conclude this journey to Stillpoint.

Find out more at https://sunyatarecords.com/music/barrett-martin-group/ https://barrettmartin.com/store/

  author: simonovitch

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