Those who have missed the evocative guitar playing of Vini Reilly over the last few years, should maybe check out Northerner (AKA Martin Cummings) to get their fix. This, his third full length album on Home Assembly, is full of perfect evocative soundscapes with a dusky balearic feel and laden with those gorgeous plangent guitar stylings over gently rolling electronica. *UK EXCLUSIVE ON SILVER VINYL* (whilst stocks last).
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Black vinyl LP on Home Assembly. Edition of 200 copies.
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Martin Cummings (AKA Northerner) debuted in 2008 with ‘There’ll Be Other Holidays’ and returns with his third album for Home Assembly ‘End Of The Holiday’. Influenced by travels in Spain, the album delivers a Balearic soundscape full of beauty - reflective and even melancholy. Gentle guitar layered over soft beats and barely-there synths provide for more depth than the less-is-more approach would appear to allow for.
The opening track ‘Principi’ will appeal to those tuned to the sounds of Coyote and Nev Cottee. A drum machine sets a steady pace, with guitars full of reverb and delay, and slight synths all adding up to create swells of emotional pull. The album title certainly leads to a sense of looking back, regret, possibly sadness or maybe just that feeling of loss you get when something wonderful has finished. There is the light of an autumn sun, but the darkness of winter is clearly coming. The instrumental nature of the album really allows you to apply your own stories to the soundtrack provided.
The album is full of gliding atmospherics, subtle arpeggios and understated beats, though whilst there is largely a slowed down pace to the album, there is variation. The melancholic ‘Final D’Estiu’ ups the tempo and rhythms with faster, though far from distracting or at the forefront of the track, beats. There is also ‘Dijous' with it’s shuffling bossa-lite vibe, really sealing the albums Balearic credentials. The opening track on the flip side ‘Una Nocio’ is the audio representation of memories of evenings as the sunsets - a suggestion of the excitement of the small hours to come knowing that the morning may also bring regret, or the knowledge that the party can't last forever. The penultimate track is possibly the best representation of how ambience can deliver spades of atmosphere. ‘Arribant Al Final’ puts me in mind of 'Midnight on Rainbow Road' by Leon Vynehall it captures the feel of driving through the night, darkness enveloping you, the headlights picking out shapes from the darkness.
‘End Of The Holiday’ is a beautiful album and Cummings successfully weaves the themes of regret and loss throughout, allowing space for you to feel a part of the narrative and keeping things pared back so there is room for interpretation without sacrificing anything in the way of emotional resonance. It is when you get to the final track ‘A L’Estiu El Nostre Pare Ens Va Deixar’ (In Summer, Our Father Left Us), that it transpires that summers for Cummings conjure difficult memories of loss and it is this that he has shared so beautifully with us.
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