This was one of those click-first-think-later purchases, as I described at the time. A few minutes later I found that English Commonflowers is also available on eMusic. I should have got it there really: Martin probably wouldn't have seen as much turnover from the purchase, but it would have taken less energy and resources out of the world.
Ferdi said that this album is Martin's best by some margin. I've only had time to listen a couple of times: it may be his best, but I don't think it's head and shoulders above the others. It starts very well, but, as so often with albums of 70 minutes or longer, interest and attention start to flag before the end. Things started to dip for me around the eleven minutes of Water Grid. Mall Bunnies, which follows, is better, I think, but it's over 17 minutes: a challenge that I haven't risen to you yet.
Martin often weaves together disparate influences in his work. I listened before reading the reviews here and here. The Soft Machine genes in I'm Yr Huckleberry are so evident that even I spotted them, and, yes, now that I read Ken Waxman's review, Messiaen's name did flit through my mind during Mall Bunnies. However, I'd never have guessed that Know was a Nick Drake song. To me it sounded like the Get Carter theme, if it had been written by Ennio Morricone and arranged by John Zorn. That is to say: very good!
Continuing my Last.fm bean counting obsession of recent days (1, 2), Martin has 2,874 plays by 529 listeners (2.4% of those plays are mine). By rights these figures — the global ones, not my personal percentage — should be two or three orders of magnitude higher.
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MusicBrainz entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
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