[sic] Magazine

Hammock – Silencia

“Silencia is a prelude to silence.”

Hammock is the combination of Nashville pair Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson. The duo encompass ambient, shoegaze, post-rock and modern classical. Latest album Silencia is a shining example of the latter. It closes a trilogy of works that began with Mysterium and continued with 2018s Universalis. The three albums form a meditative study in the process of grieving. As a broad overview, Mysterium soundtracks the shock and emptiness which immediately follows loss, Universalis signals optimism and Silencia is therefore the reconciliation.

The sad story behind the triptych is in the public domain. I prefer not to go into it myself as it feels like it isn’t my place to do so. Instead I would refer readers to Ryan Burlesons’ excellent article, endorsed by the band. (link provided) However, each of the three albums are self-sufficient. There’s no obligation on the listener to understand the backstory or follow a set sequence of listening. If you do choose to play the set chronologically you will be rewarded both in terms of compositional repeat motifs and the intentional emotional arc. Hammocks genius for self-reference within their works really comes to a fore here, creating a ‘through line’ that is as fascinating as it is comforting.

Like previous works, Silencia puts me strongly in mind of Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds and the late great Jóhann Jóhannsson, thus proving what we have been saying for a long while now. Namely that the world of film soundtracks is crying out for Hammock. I’m so happy to see them begin down that avenue. The duo scored 2017s Columbus for Nashville filmmaker Kogonada. Ricky Gervais also featured the band prominently in his recent Netflix series, After Life. The latter is particularly telling. Gervais has also been a champion of the band for a while but After Life is his treatise on bereavement. It’s a match made in heaven. There’s an undeniably therapeutic element to Hammocks music. As the duo create music to heal themselves they touch many other lives along the way. Just glance at their Youtube comments. Ordinarily a toxic cesspool, in Hammocks case it is a litany of cherished gratitude and awe.

I can’t quite believe just how far Hammock have come from fairly obscure ‘pet love’ of ours to world leading exponents of ambient orchestral and compositional post rock. For Silencia I had to curb my reviewing tendencies toward highlighting certain tracks and themes for discussion. That would be churlish and redundant here. The album is the piece. Silencia is the theme. Hushed and reflective, it is the sound of sinking inside yourself. It is the polarity of presence and absence. It is the self-acceptance that arises from honest self-awareness.

It is peace.

Pre order Silencia now via the link. Digital album releases November 15, 2019. Physical items ship out around November 14, 2019.




The Summer Kills

Albums of 2018

Albums of 2017

Albums of 2016

Silencia article by Ryan Burleson.