Hammock's debut, Kenotic, is in every way a contender for classic status in the shoegazing genre. Expertly merging ambient guitar drone (think Bowery Electric), electronic beats (think Boards of Canada), and live instrumentation (the violin on "Blankets of Night"). Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson craft a 70-minute sound sculpture, a paean to the beauty inherent in the drone. By turns smooth and expansive, then chiming and circular, Kenotic has excellent sequencing, with moods of tension and relaxation blending together into a perfect evocation of an afternoon drifting in a vast ocean, looking skyward. The music flows in a manner evoking a slow-moving river on a winter day. A notable exception to this is the uptempo (for Hammock) "Wish," falling at the mid-point of the album, which focuses your attention and re-energizes it. The album art and song titles, ("Overcast/Sorrow" "Stars in the Rearview Mirror." "The Silence"), along with the mood of the music suggest isolation in nature, but their message is not one of sadness, but of timeless, serene joy. The few people that will find this record will cherish it as something special, similar to One Mile North's Glass Wars.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Mason