Martin Pyne – vibraphone (plus live electronics on #3, #6 & #9)

Niamh of the golden hair
Behind the mist
Will of the wisp
Hollow Hill
Song for Grace Melbury

Tall Guy Records TGCD007, 2017


Have to confess, I didn’t used to be much of a vibraphone fan. Outside of Bobby Hutcherson’s contributions to “Out To Lunch” it seemed like an outdated sound, even a little cheesy in the wrong hands. Turns out that may have been a somewhat narrow-minded stance – as I’m sure many of you reading this could have told me. 😉

As “Behind The Mist” proves , in the right hands (and Martin Pyne most definitely has the ‘right hands’) the vibraphone is overflowing with textures, possibilities and a simple, pure clarity…

…the slowly dying drawn-out notes of Niamh of the golden hair; the angular portrayal of the Yarthkin; the sprightly (sprite-ly?) and mischievous runs on Asrai; Changeling’s glasslike filigree; the otherworldly stepping stones of Hildaland; the bell-like ambience of Hollow Hill

The sleeve notes recommend that you don’t over amplify the music and I have to agree. While dialling up the volume is rather fun it doesn’t fit the theme. At low volumes, the music flits in and out of view, hovering on the edge of perception, a portal into a world that isn’t always there.

This is very open, heart-on-the-sleeve music. Inspired by the British Isles’ faery legends, Pyne has created a suite of instant compositions. Limpid, often sparse, esoterically playful, and appropriately capricious, he conjures a pre-modern faeryland, beautiful and alien, in which faeries are tricksters, more likely to steal your child or the colour of your eyes rather than grant your Disney wishes. It’s a very rewarding world to visit but keep your wits about you.

Tall Guy Records

p.s. For anybody interested in improvised visual art, Maria Hayes (who designed the CD sleeve) has created “improvised digital visual responses” to three of the tracks: Yarthkin, Behind the mist, and Will of the wisp

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