William Clay Martin – ‘Sadler’ [Review]

a2366518435_2When a person or group self-releases their work, I make up a story for how that came about. I’ve made up some stories about William Clay Martin. He’s from Delaware – I didn’t make that up – which is a feat in itself. What’s the scene in Delaware? What kind of music is getting made there? I literally know nothing of the place. I drive through Delaware about a dozen times each year, yet it always catches me by surprise when I get there. In all sincerity, I never considered that people lived there, thinking instead that all those other people were just hoofing it south from New Jersey for the weekend. So there’s that: I picture Martin tucked away in a marsh (I see lots of marshes from the bridge, and from the time I went to Bethany Beach), the sole inhabitant of Delaware, periodically stepping out on his porch with his chicory to watch the traffic washing in and out of the Turnpike. Then there’s the sound: following at a healthy clip on the heels of his ‘Future Street’ C20 last spring, ‘Sadler’ is well-over double the length with six tracks in total, expanding on the utopian pleasantries of post-rock (so heavily-inspired by the first decade of Temporary Residence, as I’ve insisted) with guitar and even-keeled programming. Looping jangles and shimmering drone jags give you all you could ever want. Who is this keeper of the Tortoise archives, this outcast of Tristeza? Without shaking the heavy haze of Tarentel that sits on this music like the twilight space of jazz, the compositions of ‘Sadler’ develop in directions beyond the soft punk of TRL, into the ambling urban reveres of the Aluminum Group, 33 1/3, or Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Positive, futurist, melancholic but not tragic. I picture Martin, relocated to Delaware, dragged away from the precipice of some project 10 years ago, holding out hope and staying true to the vision of Gattaca, where small gains and cooler heads prevail. 55 copies with slick j-cards.

self-released cassette

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