Mark Templeton: Standing on a Hummingbird

Edmonton, Alberta-based Mark Templeton garnered justifiable attention with his previous solo venture, the Frail as Breath EP, and the CD-DVD Fields Awake project, but his debut full-length Standing on a Hummingbird (also the inaugural release on Ezekiel Honig's Anticipate imprint) signifies a more public coming-out. The album features heavily-processed electroacoustic meditations wherein the resonant pluck of acoustic guitars, an occasional banjo, and melancholic accordion tones rise to the surface and then, obscured by the dense haze of field elements (street sounds, water, birds) and granularized stutter, disappear from view. One might be tempted to liken his approach to that of Fennesz (and Oval, to a lesser extent) but Templeton's comparatively more intent on constructing contemplative blocks of sound and, furthermore, his axe of choice is acoustic, not electric. Many of his pieces exploit the tension between the contemplative languor of the acoustic guitar playing and the churning swirl of haze (especially prominent in “Pattern For a Pillow”) that, in its smeary, prickly, rippling, and crackling diversity, becomes an instrument unto itself. In “Amidst Things Uncontrolled,” Templeton juxtaposes acoustic tones and the bright hum of the accordion with ripples and fire-like crackle, while the dreamy “Across From Golden (Remix)” floats guitar lines over fragments that rapidly flutter like a hummingbird's wings. Standing on a Hummingbird offers a stellar collection of explorative and meditative sound sculpting.

January 2007