Of all the great artist that have emerged since the 1960's, few strike such a chord with me as John Martyn. Somewhere between a Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, a spiritual guru, a bluesman and a damn fine guitarist, there's something comforting yet compelling in his disintively gravely, yet melodic vocal cords and occasionally occultic subject matter.
Tonight's upload is one of Martyn's rarer and more obscure releases, 1996's And. What's interesting about it is that it's both something of a transitional album in terms of evolving Martyn's sound towards trip-hop and more alternative elements whilst at the same time drawing back to his late 70's jazziness to flesh out some of the instrumentation. Gone for the most part are the 80's drum machines and pseudo-New Wave elements that stamped his last couple of albums, which might come as a relief to some.
The songs are all deliciously fantastic and downtempo, even ambient in a sense. Opening number 'Sunshine's Better' twinkles and sounds like an acid house blues number with a touch of Primal Scream. Which to some degree describes the sonic identity of the entire record: Martyn amalgamates everything from the soulful jazz of Terry Callier to acid jazz to groups like Portishead and Massive Attack without batting so much as an eyelash. Beyond this, layering the man's voice is the equivalent of taking a shot of ecstacy, and he's done that quite a bit here.
Quality stuff here overall, and desirable to those looking for an attractive entry point into the lush, esoteric universe of one of the best singer-songwriters of all time.
Listen Here - "Sunshine's Better"