CD Review: G.P Hall - Embarkation



G. P. Hall - Embarkation
(Clay Pipe Music pipe005. CD Review by Chris Parker)


‘I realise I may have committed the ultimate sin as far as the classical boys are concerned, writing a symphony and guitar concerto, plus coming from a working-class background in London. I have always been a maverick outsider all my life, so it’s a little bit late to start worrying about what people think.’

This is G. P. Hall, ruminating about his latest project, an album featuring his various guitars, electric and acoustic, set against a lush, multi-textured backdrop of orchestral sounds, triggered by a Godin guitar and keyboard. Previous recordings (on EBL – Esoteric Binaural Label – and FMR) have seen Hall move easily and unaffectedly between fearsome industrial sound sculptures, thundering rock beats and the most delicate solo acoustic meditations, and a friend to whom I recently played Embarkation immediately picked up on this multi-faceted appeal by discerning elements of both Robert Fripp and Ralph Vaughan Williams in the music it contains.

Hall himself acknowledged the strength of this beguiling mix in one of his previous CD titles: Steel Storms and Tender Spirits, and the music on Embarkation, which contains a half-hour guitar concerto, two shorter pieces (The Worm Forgives the Plough and Kaleidoscope of Stars) and The Trinity/Arish Mell Symphony, embodies Hall’s fascination with ‘journeys, be they physical or metaphysical’, and draws its inspiration from a wide range of sources: ‘the ocean, the mountains, love, [and] a sunset behind an abandoned industrial site’.

The resulting music is romantic, evocative and touching and meditates on both cosmic matters – the cycle of life, the awe-inspiring size and splendour of the universe – and deeply personal concerns (the beauty of the cliffs at Arish Mell, close to his home in Dorset), but always conforms to Hall’s artistic mantra: ‘We were born original – let us therefore not be copies.’

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