You may know Mark Tranmer from his bands gnac and the Montgolfier Brothers, but do you know him on his own? Here’s his solo album [ Further Woodland ]. On it you’ll recognize the piano transpositions you know from as far back as Seventeen Stars - except now in a minimalist context, with field recordings thrown in for good measure.

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[ Further Woodland ] by Mark Tranmer
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8/10 Clinton 24 April 2015

Pianos here, pianos there pianos everywhere. People love to tinkle on them and release records of the sound of them so much so that one of the chief protagonists Nils Frahm recently declared it international piano day. Hey Stetson  - you know what to do with "sax day" thing.

So this album from former Gnac main person Mark Tranmer enters a crowded world of ivories but the opening tune ‘Woodland’ has got me pretty much spellbound. The rolling piano chords are beautiful and if I suspect the piano used isn’t a real one then the elegance of the tune has me looking at the thesaurus for alternative words for beauty. Oh! that was lovely. ‘False Promises’ has the stabbing lush piano style that Brian Wilson used in his late ‘60’s early ‘70’s home compositions, watery and gorgeous. This insanely relaxing style continues on ‘Crossing Points’ which reminds me of some of the compositions on the still brilliant Gastr Del Sol ‘Camofleur’ album. Comparison could also be made to ‘Rock Bottom’-era Robert Wyatt.

Some of these pieces have knocked me for six and have relaxed me to a point that I just want to go home and sit by a tree for awhile. There’s lovely field recordings here too which help achieve this overall sense of calm. This is melodious haunting music and finds Tranmer easily finding his own niche amongst the crowds.


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