Hammock's Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson call their rapturously cinematic music "stargaze", a lush and ambient style that falls somewhere amidst the pioneering electronics of Tangerine Dream, floating guitar washes of The Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, post-rock atmospherics of Austin's Explosions in the Sky and the layered modern explorations of Sigur Ros. On their upcoming May 18 album Chasing After Shadows Living With the Ghosts, the Nashville (!) based duo again create lengthy compositions of celestial beauty and scope, where chiming guitars, strings, occasional vocal choirs and stately percussion meet, mingle and drift apart in slow-motion grace. The post/rock dreamscape visions that permeate Hammock's music offer a calming respite while gently leading you by the hand (and ear) down through the misty shadows into sunlit, widescreen vistas.
Cerebral art-rock can sometimes get a bad rap for pretentious and precious meanderings but when Byrd and Thompson's deeply melodic foundations and artisan craftsmanship are front and center it's hard not to give in and simply be utterly and completely captivated. With their ethereal 2005 debut Kenotic, Hammock's mostly instrumental music became something of an underground sensation and the duo were invited by Jonsi Birgisson of Sigur Ros and Alex Somers of Parachute to perform at the opening of their art exhibition in 2007 (the Hammock live debut, actually). Chasing Shadows track "Breathturn" is the score to a fascinating video from director David Altobelli (watch it after the jump) while the nine-minute "You Lost the Starlight In Your Eyes" is available as a free download at the Hammock site. Dive in. Highly recommended.
Hammock - "You Lost the Starlight In Your Eyes" (from the album Chasing After Shadows...)