TWELVE THOUSAND DAYS
(2020 - Final Muzik - Italy)
With mellotron as the first instrument you hear, followed by mystical world and Martyn Bates on vocals, one gets goose bumps in the first seconds of 'Field's End', the latest, and fifth album by Twelve Thousand Days. And here is the shocker, the first piece is a cover of Black Sabbath’s 'Planet Caravan'. Of course like previous recordings by this eclectic and brilliant Neo Folk mesh duo of Alan Trench and Martyn Bates, this is only the beginning of a marvelous musical journey. Lush with acoustic instruments strumming over ambience, layers of subtle effects, from what appears to the ears as field recordings, or more at alien universe, all put softly into a quilted collage of very song oriented tunes. Alan uses mellotron on a couple more songs as well.
This album differs from their previous works in that they chose several cover tunes to do their own way. And what a fantastic job they do, taking some of the works to a far away mysterious place, and often so much superior than the original, you won't recognize it. Best example is that Sabbath cover, that I would have never known unless I was told by the record label. A detail of the songs are as follows : Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath cover) / Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed (music originated with Alan, to which Martyn put vocal melody, and lyrics from the juvenilia of Dylan Thomas & Dan Moore) / Adam and the Beasts (Alasdair Clayre cover) / Drakestones (Alan wrote music and words, which Martyn sings. Alan plays all instruments and does extra voice parts) / King Dog (Bob Pegg cover) / Wolves Upon the Plain (Alan wrote and played most all instruments. Martyn plays atmospheric autoharp bits) / If In Winter (Vashti Bunyan cover) / More (Alan wrote main music track. Martyn wrote the vocal tune and the lyrics entirely for this one ) / I Know You (Alan and Martyn wrote this one together) / Field’s End (Martyn wrote words and music, all based around the guitar/voice performance) / Black Mountain Side / (Alan wrote words & music, and that is his lead vocal. Martyn does distant background voice. / Wistman’s Wood (collaboration between Alan and Martyn with Alan playing all the instruments and Martyn doing vocals) . See complete lineup of instruments on each song at bottom of review page.
Between the two main members of Twelve Thousand Days (the name came from a session of calculus while Alan was deriving how long he had to live, if you wonder what it is all about), the instrumentation sounds more like a dozen musicians all collating the same wave lengths, bringing utmost levitation to the listener. I repeat myself from earlier reviews I have done by both EIG and Mr Bates, but how on earth do these guys keep making such beautiful and stunning melodic, haunting, and trance inducing music? All I can add is I am happy they do. And the amount of flavors, genres, smart touches, and memorable compositions simply keeps surprising. There is an overflowing fountain of creative energy in both of these artists. So I gush as I listen for the third time, to what I must claim as their best yet, however that statement cannot and should not take even an ounce of credit and glow away from their four preceding albums.
Elizabeth S. (wife and collaborator of Martyn Bates) made a wonderful video I gave a link to at top, on You Tube, of 'Adam and the Beasts'. Without doubt Eyeless In Gaza fans will love this, and even ethereal goth seekers will be drawn in. A special call out to the orphic candidates is in order. The CD version is a beautiful limited edition of 500, 6 panel digipak with cover art of 'Apollo and Daphne' by French painter René Antoine Houasse of the 17th Century. Better described as the right upper portion of the painting, showing only Daphne's right hand with the beginning changes of her into a laurel tree. It represents well what is inside. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.