Artist: Bates, Martyn
Title: Unsung
Label: A-scale
Format: CD
Catalog #: Ascale45
Condition: new
Price: $15.00

Tracklist Samples
0 Caustic
0 Wait And See
0 All The Days 'Round
0 Unsung:The Sun Knows
0 Muted Music
0 No One
0 To Read Your Way
0 Love Came To My Door
0 And This The Day


These acoustic guitar based songs largely came from sessions relating to the Twelve Thousand Days project in which Martyn Bates collaborated with Alan Trench of Orchis in the 2000’s. Though it’s also produced by Trench , Unsung has a very different feel, and it finds Bates at his most concentrated and immediate. Bates is essentially a singer songwriter but his work in Eyeless in Gaza and other collaborations reveal he’s also adept at improvisation and manipulation of sonics. Here the latter is limited to some ambient drift and phantasmal backing vocals, which sound particularly strange on ‘’And This The Day’’. But essentially Unsung relies just on his voice and acoustic guitar, which is beautifully recorded with a big , full sound. At times his expansive picking recalls Bert Jansch or Roy Harper. As a singer-songwriter Bates has a wide stylistic lexicon, ranging from soft susurrations to notes that feel wrenched out from somewhere deep. On ‘Muted Music’, he evokes the heightened poignancy of its inevitable transience. One of the album’s loveliest melodies, ‘Caustic’ is, however, a bleak look at how memories of events can differ between two people, with the song’s narrator the one left with nothing of comfort to recall. His love of traditional music was first overtly stated on the Murder Ballads series he made with Mick Harris in the 1990’s, and the influence of Martin Carthy suggests itself here. But his own work is more in tune with the unfettered feelings that run through folk song. On Unsung, he seals his engagement with tradition on ‘’Love Came To My Door’’, an a cappella tale shaped as a disquieting visitation rather than a cause for celebration.