Hammock
Oblivion Hymns


4.0
excellent

Review

by Richard Craig USER (120 Reviews)
January 4th, 2014 | 7 replies | 567 views


Release Date: 11/26/2013 | Tracklist


1 of 1 thought this review was well written

I often wonder what the end of the world will be like. Will it be brought upon us as a result of our own destructive, myopic ways? I think it says a lot about humanity’s short-sightedness that ostensibly we are more concerned about a zombie invasion than a nuclear holocaust, for example. Will it be wrought by nature, or a combination of man and nature – global warming, say? Could it be the actions of some unseen supreme being? Will it happen in the next million years? In the next millennium? The next century? Might I even be around to see it? It could come in the form of a terrifying, fiery maelstrom that scorches us from this planet, or some tremendous, fearsome aquatic surge that simply washes us away. Or, it could be like the softly-worded climax to Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘The Nine Billion Names of God’, an understated, peaceful, unfathomably beautiful ending: “overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out”.

I hear Hammock’s exquisite ‘Oblivion Hymns’ as the soundtrack to this blissful vision of the end of all. ‘Oblivion Hymns’ sees subtly sweeping string arrangements come to the fore, pushing wistful guitar drones to a background role along with aching, yearning horns and the occasional choral arrangement. Accordingly, the tone and timbre makes it difficult to avoid awestruck reverence of the majestic beauty on display here.

In the past few years the two members of Hammock have endured friends’ suicides and sudden deaths, chronic sickness and cataclysmic flood damage. It is perhaps unsurprising then that a sense of mortality pervades ‘Oblivion Hymns’. The children’s choir that emerges out of the ether of strings and pianos on ‘Then the Quiet Explosion’ evokes images of some cosmic funeral. The intermittent broken-glass guitar refrains on top of a burgeoning string section during ‘Holding Your Absence’ sound like the renderings of dying stars on a silver screen. At the album’s conclusion, dark, a dark, swelling drone unfurls like a slow-motion rush of DMT in ‘Hope Becomes a Loss’, before the most overt “hymn” here, ‘Tres Dominé’ – a euphoric, final comfort.

The tracks that constitute ‘Oblivion Hymns’ are just that – spiritual pleas, meditations from the brink of utter destruction. Amidst all this death, darkness and finality, there is a calm stoicism and, more importantly, an awestruck sense of beauty. The vast scope of what Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson accomplish here serves to soothe the listener, but also to humble them: you are an infinitesimal, yet integral part of something much larger than you and beyond comprehension. Their slow-motion strings and guitar drones paint a night-sky canvas; flourishes from other strings and guitars, or else horns or choirs shine through the darkness. Listen closely and you may just hear the stars going out.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Eli EMERITUS (4)
Hammock have returned to living with the ghosts, and the result is one of the best records in the ba...

Raul Stanciu STAFF (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SnakeDelilah
January 4th 2014



5403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

4.0: The Album

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Calc
January 4th 2014



11985 Comments


what is it about these kinds of albums that make people have to use the fruitiest language they can conjure up to talk about them?


by the way:

"humanity’s short-sightedness that ostensibly we are ostensibly more concerned about a zombie invasion"

two many obstensiblys

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

Artuma
January 4th 2014



10583 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

didn't understand a word of the first paragraph

Digging: 68 - In Humor and Sadness

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2014



3341 Comments


not a review in the typical sense (obviously) and veers dangerously close to the cliff of ostentatious to the point of being impossible to enter but this was surprisingly fucking fun to read. have a pos

CK
January 4th 2014



4878 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"4.0: The Album"

lol exactly

jacobybelgium
January 4th 2014



67 Comments


Excellent inclusion of Arthur C Clarke

JS19
January 5th 2014



4161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will someone just write a review that isn't filled with buzzwords for 'spiritual' stuff

Digging: Sadistik - Ultraviolet



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