WHAT YOUR EARS SAY & WHAT THE COVER LOOKS LIKE
WHAT WE SAY
This is the first single from the forthcoming debut LP from Blue Mantra Rhymes the microdosed, Anglo-Thai folk project of Ed Cook, an Englishman living in Bangkok for many years.
WHAT THE RELEASE NOTES SAY
"A song themed with parenthood composed at night as my children were going to sleep. The strings and erhu were made by playing an app on the phone. The strings are meant to drift like waves with the way they swing on the track. The lyrics center around the hope of taking the next generation to a better place and catching the last boat or chance we have for their future."
There's been no shortage of whimsy & randomness with the releases on The Slow Music Movement & the Blue Mantra Rhymes LP is no exception, stemming from checking out the music of Ed Cooke after he'd liked the TSMM Instagram page. I was immediately struck by the unusual fusion sounds coming from this English man's Bangkok studio and wanted to know more.
Having moved to Thailand in 2005 as a legal immigrant he's been "Broadcasting mediative guitars and harmonies from a sunburnt landscape" via boutique labels and his Bandcamp page, since settling there to raise his family."
The LP you have before you is a real evolution from his previous guitar centred sounds, so Blue Mantra Rhymes has been born. The name is meant to convey his new Thai rooted, psychedelic, orchestral folk sounds, not to mention his first foray into singing after some encouragement and confidence building from Shana Patterson - a music teacher at the school where he works, who also makes a welcome appearance on the LP.
Hour Of Solitude is not only a musician's evolutionary leap, it's a meeting of worlds and emotions. The straight and the psychedelic, Asia and Europe, loneliness and hope, traditional and alt-folk forms, pandemic isolation with it's associated fears, introspection & reflection tempered by the love, support and tightening of bonds with family and friends.
It's an LP that is between many places, but one which has embraced and shaped those places into that rare beast - an LP that doesn't really sound like anything else. Consequently, and like all good LPs, it takes a couple of listens to tune in to and I hope you can find the time to do just that.
What Blue Mantra Rhymes says:
The idea was originally to create an EP with a lush Asian string sound based on regional instruments from Thailand and Asia. A chance to break away from the acoustic guitar, normally the main focus, and move towards a more classical and orchestral folk sound rooted in Thailand. The album grew from the first 2 songs which were like eureka moments sonically. The sound of the Erhu lifted the mood and created new melodic possibilities. The orchestral string backing gave these tracks an emotional base. From their two EPs were combined, one with strings and vocals and the other with woodwind (pan pipes, kaen pipes, and harmonicas).
“Hour Of Solitude” refers to the timing and process of making my music, the pockets of time between school holidays when I am not busily tending to my family. I have always been introverted when composing and found solace in retreating to my home studio (the end of a shared studio with my children’s home schooling area), creating these songs and caring for them just like children. The album built my confidence to sing after working with a teaching colleague (the music teacher at my school; Shana Patterson) to create some duet vocals as an important part of my sound. Most of the lyrics were written in a spontaneous way to convey an honest emotion within the songs.
Within the context of the pandemic the idea was to make a project which would provide me with the mental freedom to explore new ideas and find a tribal folk sound that would feel like a wake up call from nature, a fantasy world that I could escape into during daily life. There are sad moments on the album with lyrics and harmonies that conjure a sense of yearning and loneliness. But passing through these low moments helps the album lift with a sense of hope, especially with the song “See Hundreds More”. It is a work of art that is intended to help my family, friends, and colleagues find a moment of reflection.
IF YOU LIKE THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS
to the playlist on Apple Music, Deezer, Youtube & Soundcloud
OUR MISSION STATEMENT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS
Lazy Days, Hazy Moments & Dancing to a Slower Groove