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MARK LOCKETT Hollowed Ground   Wriggly Pig 001 [64.21] Available £10.00 inclusive of P&P within UK from 101 Summerfield Crescent, Birmingham B16 0EN, United Kingdom.


This CD arrived out of the blue late last Autumn. I rather regret that my personal backlog has delayed a descriptive review until now.

This disc, which Mark Lockett is selling direct, is a 'cold as ice' example of new age meets minimalism. The foldout leaflet gives little information as if to say 'just listen to the music'. This is fair enough although a new name might well have advanced his interests further by providing some biographical background amongst all the design work and photos. Wriggly Pig do not stint on some artist information and from this we learn that the composer plays piano, keyboards, accordion and percussion. He is joined by various other instrumentalists including the bass, tabla, voice and a seven-strong gamelan ensemble. The whole was recorded in 1998 in Birmingham and Stockton-on-Tees.

Let's take the tracks one by one.

Kiva - 1: Gamelan sounds meet a Latin beat with ear-tickling wide stereo separation and a dash of Coltrane. The trochaic pattern reminded me of Nightride and Sunrise by Sibelius.

Alcatraz. 2: The sounds of the sea mix with the bubbles and squeaks which characterise the Barrons' score for the famous Walter Pidgeon 1950s sci-fi film Forbidden Planet. The music seems, probably unconsciously, to be illustrating the phantasmagorical world of C.S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet. Icy cathedrals slip in and out of focus in an atmosphere that contrives to be simultaneously warm and cold.

Mono Lake 1. 3. Wide-spanned piano chords suggest height and depth and the music has an Irish curve and lilt with splashes of Debussy and Satie.

Floating World. 4. The title evokes Hovhaness. The track is the longest at 8.10. This is the deftest gamelan playing; pleasing and mesmeric.

Suburbia Nocturne. 5. The rich broth includes a siren, Latin American beat, accordion and a decidedly Gallic (Claude Lelouch) atmosphere.

Sekar Gadung. 6. More gamelan.

Earthbow. 7. This track is dominated by jazzy material with maracas, piano, percussion and struck piano strings in a dynamic interlude which reminded me of Conlon Nancarrow's possessed 'prepared piano' studies.

Rejang Eyong. 8. The gamelan returns in all its tumultuous patterned life and contrasts with what sounds like a wobble-board.

Mono Lake II 9. This is a nice track drawing somewhat on Gershwin and the real or imagined Manhattan cocktail bar milieu.

The Ladder. 10. This is like an off-station radio signal with a voice cutting quietly and enigmatically through the miasma.

11. Back to Cocktail-hour Manhattan but with a side salad of Satie and Lelouch.

The Janitor's Tango. 12. Tango? Yes and with on-style accordion and ending in the cocooned neon-lit warmth of the big city. Perhaps a touch here of Herrmann's music for Taxidriver.

To summarise. This is pleasant, ear and mind-healing music. It does not challenge. No track is so long that its material outstays its welcome. As an essay in undemanding serenity it achieves its apparent aim without a shake or falter.


Rob Barnett

See also previous review by David Wright ()


Rob Barnett

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