Review: Mark Tranmer – How Scarlet The Leaves

Whether its recording as the instrumental half of The Montgolfier Brothers or solo under the moniker of Gnac, Mark Tranmer is a skilful purveyor of nostalgia-flavoured music. Yet it’s not cheesy or retro cool and is highly unlikely to feature on any “I Love The 80’s’ tours because it’s a far more refined take on times past. The skill here is in the way in which one can associate his compositions with a time in your life.  Here, Tranmer enlists the assistance of Alessandra Celletti who plays piano on all eight tracks.

Central to the album is the title track which appears at the beginning and in two more variations on the record. The pieces are the essence of Tranmer’s musical progress so far: sad, stately melodies which speak of melancholic autumnal afternoons. ‘Cusp & Brow’ is brighter and more fragrant and its crisp rhythms are reminiscent of early Yellow6 whilst the charming ‘{Seagull Bracket}’ and its simple melodic refrain recalls the innocence of Cherry Red Records’ output from thirty years ago.

Switching to the second side of the LP, the tradition of warmth and elegiac moods continues. However, it works on an even more understated level. ‘Loch’ begins as an elegant piano piece but the impression given is of the piano being lowered further and further underwater as other instruments and effects come into the foreground. The album reaches a stunning conclusion too with the stark, haunting echoes of ‘Bell’ and one can picture a ghost ship drifting in an unchartered sea as it plays.

Like the great wordless storyteller that he is, it seems that Tranmer’s ability to evoke a time, a place or a mood will never desert him. Furthermore, ‘How Scarlet The Leaves’ is the ideal soundtrack for Sunday afternoons at this time of year. The limited edition release also includes a full album’s worth of unreleased Tranmer work which contains further thoughtful-provoking gems from this gifted artist.

Web Sites:
Mark Tranmer’s ‘How Scarlet The Leaves’ Page
Mark Tranmer/Gnac Soundcloud

Further Listening:
Alessandra Celletti, Gnac, The Montgolfier Brothers, Talvihorros


1 Response to “Review: Mark Tranmer – How Scarlet The Leaves”

  1. 1 Duffy Odum November 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    A beautiful set by beautiful people.. I’m enjoying mine so much. Highly recommended

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