Hammock's Ambient Rock Masterpiece at 10
Written by John Diliberto on September 21, 2016
It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since Hammock released their early masterwork, Raising Your Voice . . .Trying to Stop an Echo. Released in late 2006, it was the Echoes CD of the Month in January of 2007, starting a tradition of Hammock albums being CDs of the Month at the beginning of the year (see below). Now it has been reissued with a bonus CD of tracks recorded at the albums sessions. Honestly, if they’d been released on their own, they would’ve made another great Hammock album.
Here’s my original review of Hammock’s Raising Your Voice. . . Trying to Stop an Echo:
From the opening cascade of glissando-guitars and falsetto vocal wail, Hammock sets themselves up in the ambient guitar band landscape populated by Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky and Robin Guthrie. But this duo from Nashville, Tennessee is etching out their own sound that owes as much to shoe-gazer bands like Slowdive as the sacred minimalism of Arvo Part. Although the first two tracks are vocals and despite the title, Raising Your Voice is predominantly instrumental. Echoes listeners may want to jump to track three, “Losing You,” where Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson layer guitars, keyboards and an undertow of percussion into waves of sound that crescendo like the Red Sea parting. Raising Your Voice… is a densely layered album on which Hammock swings between paisley dappled beauty and serrated drones. Overtones merge into ground shuddering chords and heavenly melodies as ethereal vocal choirs morph out of the clashing sustain. Tracks like “Clouds Cover the Stars” are immersions in fogs of distortion while “Floating Away in Every Direction” emerges from that distortion on shimmering vapor winds. Raising Your Voice… Trying to Stop an Echo is a massive artistic statement. A Gravity’s Rainbow of ambient chamber rock, it defies the iTunization of the world. You want to hear the whole thing, slipping it on, cranking up the volume and riding it into an infinite sunset.